Monday, March 16, 2009 | 8:52 p.m.
It was the second appearance tonight for The Girls Next Door star Holly Madison on ABC’s hit Dancing With the Stars. Holly began rehearsals three days after her romance with Believe star Criss Angel ended here, and she returned to Los Angeles in time for last Monday’s broadcast where she danced the cha-cha in an orange, fringed flapper dress.
“This time it will be the quick step,” Holly told me in an exclusive interview. “That’s a real dance and very difficult. I’ve had to unlearn everything I ever remembered from my three high school dances! Our rehearsals are seven days a week lasting six hours a day, so I have no time for anything else in my life at the moment.
“I am so sore it’s uncomfortable even getting in and out of my car. My feet hurt, and it’s the most physical and hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s a real challenge but I am really excited about it all, and it is a fun way to get into shape. I’m not only playing catch up with the other contestants who have had two months of rehearsals, but I’m actually learning to dance all over again properly.”
Holly admitted that when she isn’t rehearsing with pro partner and DWTS first-timer Dmitry Chaplin, she’s taking Jacuzzi and hot bath soaks! She added: “I was really nervous last week. It hit me all of a sudden as we started the live performance that I was in front of an audience and millions of viewers -- and that shook me up. Being so excited and so nervous at the same time, I actually lost the count. Hopefully, I’ll be better composed and more able to handle that a lot better this second time.”
Holly will wear a more traditional purple ballroom gown this evening for her foxtrot. “I won’t look like The Girls Next Door -- it’s not really low cut!” she laughed. Former love Hugh Hefner and her BFFs Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt aren’t going to sit in the audience until -- and if -- Holly gets farther along in the competition.
I asked if the dancing experience on the show has encouraged her to return to the Strip and accept the offers to appear in a show here. “I always wanted to be on the Strip, so maybe that will now work out,” she said. “There were three different shows offered to me, and I would like to come back to Vegas and do one of them now.
“I love Vegas. I miss all of you there. In some ways for me, Vegas is better than Los Angeles, so I will definitely be back. I’m in a good state of mind, and I’m in a good place. Things didn’t work out the way we hoped, and I’m going to be single for some time now. But my goal is just to go for the gold on Dancing With the Stars and see where it leads me.”
Vegas DeLuxe will have the judges’ scoring this evening when we post our spoiler alert story, and then tomorrow, we’ll have all the photos of Holly and her other rival newcomer Melissa Rycroft, who replaced Nancy O’Dell, competing against Vegas regulars Julianne Hough with country singer boyfriend Chuck Wicks, Denise Richards, Steve-O and pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who choreographed Steve Wynn’s Le Reve.
Singer-songwriter Jewel, who was injured before the show began and was replaced by Holly, will perform on tonight’s broadcast. She’ll sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from her upcoming album Lullaby. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will perform a big band tribute to Cab Calloway.
On tomorrow’s show, the first dance-off elimination will take place for the two couples with the lowest scores. They’ll choose their dance from the first two routines but to new music -- before the judges’ votes tallied with viewers’ votes ends the run of the first couple to be sent home! Vegas DeLuxe will have that spoiler alert story, too, tomorrow evening with photos again right here Wednesday morning!