Season 11 of “Dancing With The Stars” kicked off on Monday night, with emotions running high as frontrunner Jennifer Grey remembered her late friend, co-star, and dance partner Patrick Swayze.
(Watch video of Jennifer Grey’s emotional “Dancing With The Stars” practice and premiere dance below.)
Grey, who starred as Frances “Baby” Houseman in the classic 1987 film “Dirty Dancing,” is partnered with dance pro Derek Hough for this season. During their practice session when Grey learned they would be doing the Viennese waltz toÂ Â “These Arms of Mine” from the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack, she broke down in tears. She said that being with Hough in rehearsal made her feel likeÂ she was in “a time capsule and I was with Patrick,” rememberingÂ Swayze teaching her to dance in the movie.
Swayze, who played dance instructor Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing,” died of pancreatic cancerÂ in September 2009.Â In real life, he was a professional dancer and was also a friend of “Dancing With The Stars,” according to the show. Following his death last year, the professional dancers onÂ “Dancing With The Stars” performed a special tribute to Swayze with songs from “Dirty Dancing” (watch video clip here).
With emotions running high, Grey performed her Viennese waltz during the live television premiere of “Dancing With The Stars.”Â She earned the highest score from the judges of any other star with all eights (total of 24), andÂ also brought judgeÂ Carrie Ann Inaba, audience members, fans at home, and likely Swayze’s family, to tears.Â It wasn’t just the sympathy, though, that earned Grey her votes. Her performance was beautiful and she earned her praise.
Judge Bruno Tonioli probably said it best:
“Someone up there is going to be very, very proud of you,” he said, referring to Swayze.Â
(Watch video of JenniferÂ Grey’s emotional practice and performance below.)
Grey was not a dancer in real lifeÂ and has mentioned in the past that her struggles with learning to dance on the set of “Dirty Dancing” was real.Â And some critics mayÂ assume she has dance experience from the film, but that was also 23 years ago and Grey is now 50 years old. I think she proved to herself, fans, critics, and her angel watching from above, Swayze, that she deserved to be in the top spot after Monday’s performances.Â
And she also proved that “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”Â I had to put in the famous “Dirty Dancing” quote from Swayze, as it is so fitting. Grey deserves to be on that dance floor and I can’t wait to see what else she will bring in the upcoming weeks.
As for the rest of the cast, there was a bit of humorous moments from “Jersey Shore’s” Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, some awkward moments for David Hasselhoff and Margaret Cho on the dance floor, as well as some great performances from Kyle Massey, Rick Fox, Brandy, and even “Brady Bunch” mom Florence Henderson, who proved anyone at any age could get out on the dance floor. It is going to be a great season.Â
“Dancing With The Stars” resumes Tuesday night on ABC with one couple leaving theÂ dance floor.Â Vote for andÂ follow your favorites on “Dancing With The Stars” here.