Debi's Farewell to "Dancing With the Stars"

I had a blast-now back to my day job.

As told to Kathy Heintzelman
The crowd loved how Debi shook it, but her samba with Maks didn't carry them to the next round.
Photograph: Photo by: (c) Adam Larkey/American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC)

My seven-year-old said, "You looked a little nervous at certain points, but you looked great." She was critiquing things technically. Whereas my three-year-old grabbed my chin and pulled my face close to hers and said, "Mommy, you were just so, so good. Listen to me now, Mama, now you can be calm." It brought tears to my eyes because she is incredibly supportive—she’s an old soul, with wisdom beyond her years to tune into people’s sensitivity.
 
I slept like a rock and when I woke up my neck was really swollen, to the point where I couldn’t see any of my collarbone. My husband was like, "I think you should see a doctor, Deb. It’s really puffy and kind of creepy." I went to Cedars Sinai and had an x-ray; the bones looked OK and they scheduled me for an MRI the next day. They said, "We think you’re going to be fine, just ice it, put this neck brace on and try to wear it when you can." I think some of my castmates thought I was trying to get a sympathy call.
 
The results show is quick and you never know who’s got the fans, or whatever. I survived, but sadly my friend Macy Gray went home. I wish she could have stayed because I felt like she owned it and made it look beautiful and gave it some fun. She was sort of one of the hits of the evening, like Kelly Osbourne.

After the results show, I had to go to a tango rehearsal for two hours. Maks was very tough again, and I felt like he was choreographing as we were going and expecting me to learn steps I had no clue about. He said, "You’ll probably forget all of it by tomorrow but I want you to know what we’re up against." Our next dance is to the song "Roxanne," as sung by Ewan McGregor in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. And Baz Luhrmann is going to be a guest judge next week! Maks is pulling his choreography and the texture of our piece from the actual scene in the film, which right now I’m a little afraid of. I think we have to be a bit more original in how we go about it. I realized that I have to control some of this, bring my own inspirations and choreography thoughts to the discussion. But he’s the one who creates the tone, and I don’t want to create any friction with him. The tango could be a fantastic dance for us—we have that energy where it could be feisty and interesting.
 
September 17 – Countdown to Premiere
This has probably been my most frustrating week, because the pressure’s on. Now we have to rehearse the dance from beginning to end, we’re not allowed to stop, and I’ve had only a few times where I’ve gotten it seamlessly together. Even if I screw up, my partner Maksim throws me back into the routine. I call him the Raging Bull, because when I make a mistake he kind of snorts out of his nose, and I can see that he’s not pleased, and in order to get me back into the groove so I don’t miss a beat he grabs my arm and whips me into some thing. He’s like, “Give me full performance!”

I have bruises on my arms, my hands, my wrists. My feet have gotten adjusted to being in pain; they don’t bother me any more than a really long-ass day in a pair of killer heels that you can’t wait to take off. Now it’s my neck and my back: I’m living on anti-inflammatories while I’m getting adjusted to this very unnatural body posing.

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