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    Jennifer Grey Feels Patrick Swayze's Presence "Very Strongly" Ahead of DWTS Debut

    DWTS, Jennifer Grey, Derek Hough ABC/BOB D'AMICO

    After tonight's debut, it may be a different story, but, for the time being, former Dirty Dancer Jennifer Grey is one of Dancing With the Stars' odds-on favorites.

    The fact that she has the support of Lisa Niemi, Patrick Swayze's surviving wife, and feels more connected than ever to her former costar, who passed away a year ago last week, can only bolster her chances.

    "She sent me an email last week saying that she's rooting for me and thinking about me," Grey told Ryan Seacrest as she and partner (and potential future Seacrest brother-in-law) Derek Hough talked up the new season on Seacrest's morning radio show.

    "I was very moved by that and very happy that she sent that to me."

    Grey and Hough's debut dance, the Viennese waltz, will also serve as a tribute to Swayze on tonight's show.

    "I feel his presence right now, very strongly right now. This week, especially, because of the anniversary of his death last week and because of the song we're dancing to this week and because of dancing with Derek and doing this kind of dancing at all."

    The last time she made such moves was 23 years ago in the now classic film.

    "The last time I did it was with him and he's the only person I've actually ever done this with before Derek. It's a pretty intense sense memory, actually."

    As for their competition, Derek said that, at least on paper, Brandy and Rick Fox seem to be shaping up to be their main competition this season. Though that could all change tonight.

    "Until you see them live, you don't really know."

    Check out the rest of the cast for this season's Dancing With the Stars!

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