Kirstie Alley may have had the best quips – and “Psycho” Mike Catherwood, those awesome facial expressions – but Ralph Macchio was the highlight of the Dancing with the Stars premiere on Monday with his Foxtrot to “Kick in the Head.” He earned the highest score of the night – 24 out of a possible 30 – with partner Karina Smirnoff.
“I have these orangutan arms, I call them, and the first thing Karina said was, `when they are done right, they are done fantastic, and when they are not, they will stick out,” Macchio told reporters after the show. “One of the judges said early on said that you need to extend the moves through your fingers. So I said to myself, every time I hit, I have to just go and reach … and I did it.”
“I told him to go downtown, all the way downtown,” Smirnoff added. “Extend it!”
Though the 49-year-old actor from The Karate Kid was definitely showing the fatigue from his debut under the mirror ball, he was still pumped about Smirnoff’s decision to have him play ”this Dean Martin, this Frank Sinatra” character. “It took a while to learn. It was frustrating at times but when I started seeing the steps, I knew I could somehow get there,” Macchio said. “It was a lot of diligent work and ridiculous hours, which I still complain about. We went for that era, that Brat Pack era, and it was a nice marriage. It was a good way to come out of the gate.”
In contrast, Wendy Williams said she was thrown off by the video package that preceded her cha-cha so she wasn’t exactly in a celebratory mood. She and partner Tony Dovolani earned the second lowest score of the night (14/30) behind Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer. “I didn’t know we were going to see it and the first thing that makes me cry is when I see myself cry,” she said. ”But you know, they say a champ doesn’t make excuses so I listened to what the judges said, and hopefully 14 will be the lowest score we ever get. I did the best that I could under the circumstances.”
And the night’s other big surprise? Young Chelsea Kane, who opened the night with an impressive 21 out of 30 points with partner Mark Ballas. But it wasn’t her Foxtrot that was the jaw dropper; it was her reaction to Hugh Hefner sitting in the audience. “I met him, it was awesome!” she said afterwards. ”I was so excited. I told him, `I know it’s a huge jump from Disney but Hef … can I just give you a hug?’ It was really cool. Kendra was like, `wait. Am I taking you under my wing?’ It was pretty funny.”