updated 03/22/2011 AT 1:10 PM ET
•originally published 03/22/2011 AT 2:10 PM ET
After weeks of buildup and then waiting almost two hours for her turn to take the floor on Monday’s Dancing with the Stars premiere, Kirstie Alley brought the house down with a cha cha that left the ballroom buzzing.
“I was surprised with Kirstie,” pro dancer Anna Trebunskaya said. “[She was the] last person to dance tonight, and instead of exhausting herself she just concentrated all of her energy into the performance and went POW!”
Pro Chelsie Hightower concurred: “Kirstie was my favorite,” she said. “I don’t think anybody expected her to go out on the first night and move the way she did and score a freaking 23!”
Alley says she was pleased that her performance – especially her moves – was so well received by everyone in the ballroom.
“It felt good because I don’t think it’s much good for me to be a personality. I seriously want to do a great job,” Alley said, noting that she was surrounded Monday night by “everybody I love,” including pal Kelly Preston.
During the early days of rehearsals, Alley, who recently turned 60, joked that her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, nicknamed her “G, for Grandma.”
Last week,” Alley says, “he upgraded me to ‘M,’ for Mother. That’s good. I’m looking for MILF. I’m so on the cusp of MILF. I’m so going to be banging all my son’s friends. They’re young. They have a lot of energy.”
And so, apparently, does Alley, who says she can’t wait to return to the ballroom next week to perform the quickstep.
“This set feels really intimate to me – cozy – like you’re in a night club. So it’s really exciting,” Alley says. “Next week the thing I can bring that I didn’t quite do this week is I feel I’ll get to enjoy the crowd.”