Dancing With the Stars kicked off its twelfth season Monday night with a new cast of aspiring dancers, including talk show host Wendy Williams, football star Hines Ward, actor Ralph Macchio (you may know him as Daniel LaRusso from the Karate Kid series), Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and other notable celebs. The 2-hour DWTS premiere was full of surprises, with actress Kirstie Alley earning one of the top scores (23 out of 30) and a standing ovation from the audience.
Meanwhile, Williams failed to impress the judges with her "timid" "Cha Cha Cha" to "I'm Every Woman" (Chaka Khan), ending the night with a low score of 14. We caught up with Williams to get the inside scoop on how she felt about her debut performance, who she considers her biggest competition and more.
SHAPE: How do feel about [last night's] premiere? Were there any major surprises?
Wendy Williams: Last night's premiere was intense, emotions running high, you could feel everyone's nervousness and focus backstage. Overall, the atmosphere was amazing. There was a lot of motivating, congratulating and encouraging each other among the cast members.
SHAPE: Who do you think is your biggest competition?
Williams: Well, my biggest competition is myself honestly, as I have two left feet! But otherwise I would think maybe Sugar Ray. He's an athlete and worked his whole career being light on his feet.
SHAPE: What's different or unique about this season of DWTS?
Williams: What is different is that nobody has a real dancing background compared to the other years.
SHAPE: What was your first thought when you were asked to be on the new season of DWTS?
Williams: I was excited from the get go, I have always loved the show,and love dancing. So I can get free dance lessons,overcome my own obstacles, lose some weight and promote a positive message..it was a win win for me.
SHAPE: How physical demanding was it to prepare for Monday night's premiere?
Williams: It was hard, but I've been now practicing for weeks so your body gets used to this high physical demand. Preparing mentally was much harder. I was so nervous about the premiere, in delivering a good performance, that I forgot about any kind of physical pain, and I would have been able to practice for hours.
SHAPE: Taking yourself out of the competition, who would you like to see win the Mirror Ball trophy?
Williams: I don't have any favorites. Everyone deserves to win at this point. I would go for the one that has the most evolution, transformation throughout the show.
SHAPE: What are you looking forward to the most?
Williams: I'm looking forward to being more and more comfortable with dancing!
SHAPE...and nervous about?
Williams: I'm scared that the adventure might end too early. I really want to learn more and show that anyone who wants to can dance!