On last night's premiere of Dancing With the Stars season 12, a totally eccentric mix of celebs -- from athletes to models to actresses and reality stars (but thankfully no annoying politicians' daughters) -- congregated to shake their booties and win the coveted mirrorball trophy. Although I admit I was intrigued to see what level of kooky-crazy Kirstie Alley would bring to the floor, I was more interested to see how Hugh Hefner's former GF, Kendra Wilkinson, fared.
I was a fan of Girls Next Door, and Kendra always seemed like the wild child little sister of the Hef's three main squeezes (at the time). She definitely grated on my nerves by acting whiny and ridiculous. (Remember when she left her bling-tastic grill at the mansion before the girls headed to Vegas and she made the limo turn around so she could go retrieve it?!) But then somehow, she'd win me over by being her happy-go-lucky, straightforward, and sassy tomboy self.
I think that's why Hef loves her. And I'm pretty sure it's why America's going to love her on DWTS.
Now, last night Kendra didn't blow anyone out of the water. She and her partner Louis Van Amstel scored a "meh" 18 overall. And many would argue that the crazy lemur lady (Kirstie) totally upstaged her. But, give her a few weeks and she could very well be the dark horse in this competition. Here's why:
- She used to be a stripper. No, that doesn't mean she'll be a natural with ballroom dancing. Clearly, the choreography doesn't come easy, and even Van Amstel has said that she's got to work at it. But what I do think has and will continue to come naturally to her is the hip-shakin', booty-swinging sexy quotient that really amps up a performance.
- She's got a lot of enthusiasm. I can't remember seeing Kendra looking or acting miserable. She seems like a very optimistic person, and attitude in a competition like this could either make ya or break ya.
- She's nervous. Van Amstel dished to host Brooke Burke that before they hit the floor, Kendra was a mess. He said she seems like such a strong, sexy woman on the outside, but inside, she's like a little girl waiting to come out ... or something like that. I think that'll work to her advantage because obviously she cares deeply about the quality of her performance.
- She has amazing support from her family and friends. Hubby Hank Baskett, her grandmother, Hef, and his fiancee Crystal were all there last night cheering Kendra on. I'd bet we see fellow former Girls Next Door Holly and Bridget appear in the audience at some point, too. That's an all-star team of people rooting for her -- and that can't hurt! Oh, plus, she's a mommy now who likely wants to win and make her little boy proud.
Granted, she's more athlete than dancer and will have to work on being a bit more graceful. As the judges pointed out, right now, her moves aren't really "flowing." But considering the above and her natural competitive streak, I really do think she'll get it right sooner rather than later.
Do you think Kendra has what it takes to win this season of Dancing With the Stars?
Image via ABC