Carole Baskin performed Eye Of The Tiger on Monday during the season 29 premiere of Dancing With The Stars on ABC that featured a new host and a new judge.
The 59-year-old big cat rights activist became a pop culture sensation following the release in March of the Netflix documentary Tiger King and was among the 15 celebrities competing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
She was partnered with pro dancer Pasha Pashkov and they performed a paso doble routine that opened with Pasha in a cage with stuffed tiger animals.
Season premiere: Carole Baskin performed Eye Of The Tiger on Monday with pro partner Pasha Pashkov during the season 29 premiere of Dancing With The Stars on ABC
Baskin in a long skirt with tiger stripes and wearing a purple wreath freed Pasha from the cage as they performed to the Survivor song Eye Of The Tiger that was the theme for the 1982 sports movie Rocky III.
They received a score of 11 points from the judges and ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard at the end of the premiere.
Tyra Banks, 46, made a stunning debut as new judge after replacing co-hosts Erin Andrews, 42, and Tom Bergeron, 65, who announced their departures in July.
The model looked runway ready as she strode into the ballroom in a long red dress with a small train and high thigh slit, matching long gloves and dangling earrings to open the live, two-hour show.
Banks told the audience that she watched the dancing competition show growing up with her family.
Animal activist: The 59-year-old big cat rights activist upon introduction made paws with her hands and clawed the camera
In cage: Their paso doble routine opened with Pashkov trapped in a cage
Rescue time: Baskin in a long skirt with tiger stripes and wearing a purple wreath freed Pasha from the cage as they performed to the Survivor song Eye Of The Tiger that was the theme for the 1982 sports movie Rocky III
New host: Tyra Banks, 46, made a stunning debut as new judge after replacing co-hosts Erin Andrews, 42, and Tom Bergeron, 65, who announced their departures in July
Runway ready: The model and America’s Next Top Model creator looked runway ready in a long red dress with a train
‘Look, mama, I’m in the ballroom! And I get to say, ”Welcome to Dancing With The Stars”,’ Banks said.
She then introduced the season 29 contestants who include Baskin, cheer team coach Monica Aldama, Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe, NFL star Vernon Davis, actress Skai Jackson, actress Justina Machado, TV host Jeannie Mai, Jesse Metcalfe, rapper Nelly, TV host Nev Schulman, real estate agent Chrishell Stause, Olympian Johnny Weir, film actress Anne Heche, former NBA star Charles Oakley and Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean.
Baskin upon introduction made paws with her hands and clawed the camera.
Show fan: Banks told the audience that she watched the dancing competition show growing up with her family
Banks, who also became an executive producer of DWTS, then explained how the ballroom received a pandemic makeover with social distancing between judges Carrie Ann Inaba, 52, Bruno Tonioli, 64, and newcomer Derek Hough, 35.
Former six-time champion Hough was replacing Len Goodman, 76, who could not travel from London due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.
McLean was teamed with pro dancer Cheryl Burke and they scored 18 for their first dance.
New look: Banks, who also became an executive producer of DWTS, changed outfits then explained how the ballroom received a makeover before welcoming judges Carrie Ann Inaba, 52, Bruno Tonioli, 64, and newcomer Derek Hough, 35
The judges: Inaba, Hough and Tonioli will evaluate the dancing couples during season 29
Past champion: Hough won DWTS a record six times before moving to the judging table
First dance: AJ McLean was teamed with pro dancer Cheryl Burke and they scored 18 for their first dance
Stause, 39, who stars in the Netflix reality show Selling Sunset, was up next with pro partner Gleb Savchenko and scored 13 points.
Davis, 36, and pro partner Peta Murgatroyd performed a foxtrot that earned positive reviews from the judges and 17 points.
Banks reminded Davis of the past success of NFL players on the dancing competition show and asked the Super Bowl champion if he felt any extra added pressure.
Netflix star: Chrishell Stause was among the three Netflix stars competing on the ABC show
Low score: Gleb Savchenko and Chrishell got a score of 13 points out of 30 from the judges
Nice moves: Burke choreographed the routine for the former boy band member
‘I feel the pressure, but I’m going to try and relax and stay calm,’ Davis said.
Heche, 51, danced a cha-cha with pro partner Keo Motsepe to the hit song Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa that ended with a big dramatic dip.
They earned scores of six from all three judges for 18 points.
Mae and pro partner Brandon Armstrong in neon green outfits performed a salsa that earned 18 points from the judges.
Under pressure: Super Bowl champion Vernon Davis admitted feeling pressure following the success of former NFL stars on the show
Neon outfits: Jeannie Mai and pro partner Brandon Armstrong in neon green outfits performed a salsa that earned 18 points from the judges
Metcalfe, 41, and pro partner Sharna Burgess performed a quickstep that Hough called a ‘great first dance’.
They earned a scored of 18 points from the judges.
The show’s youngest competitor Jackson, 18, and pro partner Alan Bersten scored 21 points and became early favorites.
Fast feet: Jesse Metcalfe, 41, and pro partner Sharna Burgess performed a quickstep for their first dance
Youngest competitor: The show’s youngest competitor Skai Jackson, 18, and pro partner Alan Bersten scored 21 points and became early favorites
The Bachelorette star Bristowe, 35, performed a cha-cha with pro partner Artem Chigvintsev, 38, who returned to the show after not appearing on season 28.
Bristowe and Chigvintsev, who recently welcomed a son with fiancee Nikki Bella, received a score of 20 points from the judges.
Catfish host Schulman, 35, danced a foxtrot with Jenna Johnson that the judges raved about before awarding them a score of 20 points.
Bachelorette star: Kaitlyn Bristowe, 35, performed a cha-cha with pro partner Artem Chigvintsev, 38, who returned to the show after not appearing on season 28
Smooth moves: Catfish host Nev Schulman, 35, danced a foxtrot with Jenna Johnson that the judges raved about before awarding them a score of 20 points
Goodman made an appearance via video and said he would be keeping an eye on the dancers during the season before giving Banks a ’10’.
Weir, 36, was partnered with Britt Stewart who was making her debut as a pro dancer on the show.
They performed a cha-cha that earned cheers in the rafters from fellow contestants and a score of 18 from the judges.
Skating star: Johnny Weir, 36, was partnered with Britt Stewart and they performed a cha-cha routine
Pro debut: Britt made her debut as a pro dancer on DWTS
New look: Tonioli was having fun with his new blonde look
Video message: Len Goodman made an appearance via video and said he would be keeping an eye on the dancers during the season before giving Banks a ’10’
One Day At A Time star Machado, 48, was paired with pro dancer Sasha Farber. They hyped up the ballroom with their energy while performing and earned 21 points from the judges.
Former NBA star Oakley, 56, was teamed with pro partner Emma Slater and they danced a salsa that earned a score of 12 from the judges.
Aldama, who was featured in the Netflix docuseries Cheer, was partnered with pro dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy and admitted to him that she was ‘terrified’.
Trophy seekers: Charles Oakley, Skai Jackson, Anne Heche and Monica Aldama practiced social distancing during the premiere
Good tips: Inaba offered helpful tips to the dancers during the season 29 premiere
They danced a foxtrot to My Wish by Rascal Flatts and earned a scored of 19 points.
Nelly, 45, and pro dancer Daniella Karagach performed a salsa to his song Ride With Me that ended with the rapper and singer doing a backflip.
Tonioli said their interplay was ‘fun’, while Inaba admitted that she was surprised by Nelly’s backflip before the judges awarded them with 16 points.
Good job: Hough praised the performances while pointing out areas for improvement
Baskin then performed and afterward Inaba admitted that she herself was a ‘crazy cat’ lady and praised Baskin for not holding back.
Hough told Baskin that she ‘smashed’ her paso doble dance, while Tonioli teased her about her claw moves.
Big cat refuge owner Baskin in the Netflix series Tiger King sought to shut down the for-profit operations of big cat breeder Joseph Maldonado-Passage, whose nickname is ‘Joe Exotic’.
Maldonado-Passage is serving a 22-year federal prison term for killing five tigers and plotting to have Baskin killed. In June, a federal judge awarded Baskin ownership of the private Oklahoma zoo run by Maldonado-Passage.
Dancing With The Stars will return Tuesday, September 22, on ABC with the first elimination of the season.
Dance practice: A video package showed Baskin practicing dance with stuffed tiger animals
Virtual reality: Baskin also was shown firming up her muscles with virtual reality exercises before going to Los Angeles
Netflix series: Big cat refuge owner Baskin in the Netflix series Tiger King sought to shut down the for-profit operations of big cat breeder Joseph Maldonado-Passage, whose nickname is ‘Joe Exotic’
Dancing With The Stars Injuries
In 2006, season two contestant Romeo Miller withdrew from Dancing With The Stars due to an injury and was replaced by his father Master P.
Pro dancer Derek Hough during season six in 2008 pulled his neck during rehearsal and missed a week of dancing.
Derek during season seven also blacked out during rehearsal after tripping and landing on the back of his head.
Season seven also saw the departure of Misty May-Treanor after she was injured during practice and ruptured her Achilles tendon.
Rehearsal injury: Misty May-Treanor is shown with host Tom Bergeron in October 2008 as she revealed rupturing her Achilles tendon during practice on Dancing With The Stars
Brooke Burke also severely bruised her foot during season seven during camera blocking when she landed hard doing a front flip with pro partner Derek.
Susan Lucci during season seven fractured two bones in her foot, but remained in the competition.
Nancy O’Dell withdrew from season eight due to a torn meniscus, along with Jewel who fractured both her tibias just before the season premiere.
Steve-O also suffered a pulled back muscle during dress rehearsal in season eight and was unable to perform the salsa live.
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay during season nine withdrew from the competition in week three after injuring his foot during rehearsals before the premiere.
Billy Dee Williams was forced to withdraw from season 18 due to a chronic back problem.
Early exit; Billy Dee Williams withdrew early from season 18 due to a chronic back problem
Pro dancer Mark Ballas during season 22 injured his back during rehearsal and was unable to perform for a week with his partner, UFC fighter Paige VanZant.
Pro dancer Sharna Burgess during season 23 injured her knee during rehearsal with James Hinchcliffe and was out for two weeks.
Pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy during season 24 suffered a calf muscle injury during rehearsal with Heather Morris and was replaced by dance troupe member Alan Bersten during a four-week recovery period.
Christie Brinkley broke her arm during practice five days before the season 28 premiere and was replaced by her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook.
Ray Lewis was forced to withdraw from season 28 after suffering three torn tendons in his foot during practice ahead of week three Movie Night. He re-aggravated an injury from 2010 while playing football for the Baltimore Ravens.
Country singer Lauren Alaina during Halloween Week of season 28 revealed that she’d been dancing with ‘four hurt ribs,’ having broken one during the first week of the show, and noting the others ‘don’t feel great’.
Stepping in: Christie Brinkley broke her arm during practice five days before the season 28 premiere of DWTS and was replaced by her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook