updated 04/05/2011 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/05/2011 AT 9:30 AM ET
“There’s something exciting about live TV,” Alley said after the show, keeping her arm around her partner as he limped from interview to interview. “I’m so scared because something can happen and now that it’s happened I’m like, ‘so what?’ ”
After their fall, the pair quickly stood up and continued on with the routine – and received a solid score of 21 out of 30 points from the judges – a feat that impressed fellow stars and pros.
“That’s our major fear as celebrities on this show to mess up on live television,” said Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who earned one of the top scores of the night for his samba with Kym Johnson. “To persevere through speaks a lot to them and the work ethic they have – and still put up some nice scores.”
Chris Jericho, who dedicated his rumba with Cheryl Burke to his late mother, said the way Alley handled the spill could work to her advantage. “When you have a live show things happen and it’s how you react to them and make them into a positive,” the wrestler said. “Kirstie is not a live performer and she didn’t break. She went on through the routine. To me, she’ll be even more popular with her fans.”
As for Chmerkovskiy’s injuries, Burke believes he’ll mend quickly. “He’s a strong guy,” she said. “He may feel pain tomorrow, but he’ll pull through – he’s a hardcore Russian!”
While still visibly in pain, Chmerkovskiy told PEOPLE that he wasn’t planning on sitting out any shows if he could help it.
“I’ll be fine. I know the [Dancing with the Stars] troupe is looking going, ‘Oh, I’ve got to stand in.’ No, no, no. I’ll be okay,” he said, adding that dealing with whatever injury he sustained will “have to wait until the show is over.”
“[After the finale] on May 24 we’ll talk about this,” he said. “Until then, you don’t have to worry.”