She was stunned by the early ouster of David Hasselhoff, taken with the pigeon-toed charm of Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino and blown away by the sensuality of Jennifer Grey. But more than anything, Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba is loving the tingly suspense in the air thanks to the fact there is no clear front-runner. Here, she weighs in on the wildest season yet.
TV Guide Magazine: What did you think when David Hasselhoff got the boot in Week 1?
Inaba: Honestly, I was shocked. I thought he would be around at least as long as Jerry Springer.
TV Guide Magazine: And what about when fellow judge Bruno Tonioli sliced and diced Michael Bolton's jive, calling it the worst in 11 seasons?
Inaba: Bruno is a little tougher than in seasons past. I just think everyone is so used to Bruno being so colorful and animated, even though he's throwing some pretty strong criticisms out there. But this one lacked a lot of the normal color. It was very direct. And I think that's what freaked everybody out.
TV Guide Magazine: Is Jennifer Grey a surprise contender?
Inaba: She's got much more spark than I ever thought she would have. I remember her as Baby in Dirty Dancing, the girl who is learning how to dance and is sort of awkward in her own body. But she owns it on the dance floor.
TV Guide Magazine: Was the Situation nicer than you expected?
Inaba: Just because he's a party animal doesn't mean he doesn't have respect for other things in life. Is he pigeon-toed? Yes. But did he do his heel leads with so much gusto that it was almost like he was stepping on cockroaches? Yes. He was able to show America another side of himself. And I found that side to be quite lovable.
TV Guide Magazine: How would you sum up the season so far?
Inaba: On paper, I thought this cast was very strange, bizarre and all over the map. But in my opinion, that just makes for more exciting shows.