Dancing With the Stars' Kirstie Alley: "I've Had the Taste of an Eight, I Want a Nine"

This year's dancing celebs speak out on their successes and failures from the first night on the dance floor

By Jennifer Arrow Mar 22, 2011 6:22 AMTags
Ralph Macchio, Kendra Wilkinson, Petra Nemcova, Sugar Ray Leonard, Kirstie AlleyHenry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images; Beck Starr/WireImage; David Livingston/Getty Images; Rick Odell/Getty Images; Theo Wargo/WireImage.com

You heard it here first, folks: Kirstie Alley is a force to be reckoned with this season on ABC's smash hit reality competition, Dancing With the Stars. So what's the secret to her success? Good old-fashioned work ethic! Alley tells E! News, "I did work hard, and I'm going to work harder now. I've had the taste of an eight, I want a nine."

Plus, what's tormenting standout Ralph Macchio? And how did E! babe Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett feel about having Hugh Hefner in her corner? Here's what the celebs told us exclusively, from backstage at Dancing With the Stars:

Original Karate Kid Macchio says that he was particularly gratified to hear the audience cheer their support as he took control of the dance floor. He says, "Having that kind of fan response [was motivating]—it was live theater at its best." Partner Karina Smirnoff piped up that the audience's enthusiasm was as gratifying as their high scores, saying, "It's worth every hour and every pain of rehearsal," to which Macchio shot back, "I have a lot more pain that she does! A lot more!" (He's new to this gig, guys! Give him a break; he'll limber up soon enough.)

The pair are tackling the jive next week, and Macchio says he's ready for that experience to very possibly quite different from their first successful turn on the dance floor: "There are only two weeks to look at this [result]—you were great out of the gate, or you can only go down from here. I think it's a good thing that we had a good time, because this is a show, and I think it's good to enjoy it. Whatever happens, I'll always have this first dance that turned out this way. That's how I have to look at this, here and now—I can't imagine [next week]."

Meanwhile, our good friend Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett (of E!'s Girls Next Door and Kendra fame) says that she's also trying to live in the moment, because looking forward just freaks her out. The football wife says, "I was so nervous I could barely breathe. I didn't breathe. I didn't take one breath throughout the routine, but you know, man, my fans, I had my fans here, and it really kept me going. It just made me feel so good having them here...The second that we ended our dance, the nerves went away—that was the scary part. Going to the judges, that was easy." Speaking of those enthusiastic fans, what did Kendra think about Hef stopping by to cheer her on? (Hef doesn't leave the Mansion for just anybody, you know!) Kendra tells us, "Hef is one of my best friends, and I'm so happy that he came. It makes me feel so good that he still supports me."

Any plans for improving her performance next week? Wilkinson-Baskett says, "I'm working on posture and elegance, and not being 'at the club.' I want to be in the ballroom." 

Posture's also an issue for legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard who told us, "[The biggest issue is] my posture; because [I was a] boxer for 30 years…I can't just correct this in two days or three days or two weeks."

And lovable supermodel Petra Nemcova, who recently told us about her posture problems, says, "I was emotional, and that threw me off-balance…so I wasn't as focused and as fluid as I would be, normally, but it was amazing experience, and every week it's going to get easier—or harder. You never know, but [at least] you know the environment that you are getting into. That part will be more comfortable."

What about the night's more disappointing performers? Talk show host Wendy Williams tells us, "I think that I danced a reasonably decent routine!...I think I danced better than a 14, but if that's what the judges say, then that's what it is. I certainly look a 30! I mean, my costume! And the makeup and the hair…and we'll come back next week and see if we can raise that 14."

For his part, radio personality "Psycho" Mike Catherwood is giving himself credit just for facing his fears. He told us, "If anything...I have higher self-esteem—even though I got judged, and I got judged poorly—but I came out and did the thing that I know I'm worst at, literally: dancing...If God himself were to come down from the heavens a couple weeks ago and [say], 'Tell me, my son, what is it that you are worst at?' without question, I would have said, 'Dancing, god.' And here I am in maybe the most public forum there is, and I'm dancing, so if I can leave tonight with that moral victory, maybe I can feel a little more confident in every aspect of my life."

Good for you, dude!

Now, who do you think is going home Tuesday night? And do you think Wendy Williams "looked a 30"? Hit the comments!

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