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)

Debi Mazar‘s extensive film and TV credits include Goodfellas, Jungle Fever, The Insider, Ugly Betty and Entourage. She and her husband, Gabriele Corcos, celebrate Italy, entertaining and great food on their website, underthetuscangun.

October 7 — My Final Performance

I sort of knew all day long that we’d be eliminated, because I didn’t feel that happy about my performance Monday night. My dress rehearsal onstage with the band had been seamless. And once the crowd started screaming for my butt shakes I was like, "yeah!"— I felt fabulous. Then I made the mistake of doing the one thing I’m not supposed to do, which was to look down. Or actually, I looked back at Maks instead of looking forward, and I lost my bearings. I tried to catch up but it looked really sloppy.

Also, I wish we had had some show-stopping moves in our choreography, like when Chuck Liddell rips his sleeves off or Mya bends backwards or wraps her legs around her partner. I can’t do splits but my legs are limber enough to do everything else and make nice lines, and I never felt that we had the choreography where I could show that stuff off. I think America wants to see chemistry and sexiness, and I don’t think we looked like we were having any chemistry except on the tango, which was brilliant the way Maks choreographed it. I spoke to somebody and their take on it was that Maks is very purist in ballroom. He doesn’t want to do all the cutesy things that people throw into a routine because the crowd likes it.

Bringing Mel B. into this week’s video package—I never understood why they bothered. My kids and my dog had come in to rehearsal, and that was hysterical. I had a 17-year-old poodle trying to samba and follow me on the dance floor. Maks danced with my 3-year-old daughter, Giulia, and she was able to follow his directions perfectly. My 7-year-old, Evelina, is a lot like me; I held her hand and said, "One, two, three," and she would go left while I would go right. It was the exact replication of what Maks had to deal with with me. It was the most beautiful, happy footage, but they didn’t use it. It was lovely to meet Mel B., she’s really fun, but I didn’t see how that was going to represent me or help my case.

After we were eliminated, Maks was very supportive. He came over to me and said, "Deb, listen, I wouldn’t trade spending time with you through this period of my life over getting any disco-ball trophy." What people don’t realize is that we were together for 10 weeks, 6 hours a day. A lot of that time, he was going through a very hard personal time. It made things complicated, but I was happy to be an objective person in the picture and try to be supportive of him. I think we both came out of it with something, and you can’t ask for more than that.

At the end of the day, I got to wear fun costumes—it was a big beauty pageant, more or less. I learned new dance moves and met great people and I got to put my voice out there and get people to come to my cooking website. I never thought I was going to be the best dancer because I know I’m a little uncoordinated. I’m not going to lie—I never felt comfortable when I went to the dance floor, like I could own it, and I wanted to so badly. I couldn’t hide my nerves or the fact that I screwed up, like Louie Vito does with that great smile. Maybe my problem was that I always felt like a fly on the wall, observing a world that I didn’t really belong to.

I’ve lost six pounds, which on me is a lot, even though I’ve been eating like crazy. But my legs look great and I was like, how do I keep these legs up now that I’m not going to see Maks? And he said, "Deb, if you want I’ll give you private lessons." He and I, we’re all good. I just hope I didn’t let him down because I think he expected to get a partner who could dance. It was very difficult training, and hey, what can I say?

I did have a blast. I’ve had emails and texts from people all over the U.S.; the amount of support and love has been overwhelming. My friends and fans were like, "You did great; now go back to your day job!"

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