Karina Smirnoff and Ralph Macchio Karina Smirnoff and Ralph Macchio

Maksim Chmerkovskiy calls it the "Dancing With the Stars' triangle." As in Bermuda Triangle.  He's talking about the four square feet of ballroom floor — just one specific spot — that has seen more than its share of mishaps. "That's where Misty [May-Treanor] happened," he said after the show, referring to the Olympic volleyball player who ruptured her Achilles tendon during Season 7. "And where Derek [Hough] fell," suffering a concussion. "And where we [he and partner Kirstie Alley] fell."

On Monday night, it was pro Karina Smirnoff's turn, who got her foot tangled in partner Ralph Macchio's long officer's coat during the paso doble and tumbled to the ground. "I think the floor is jinxed," Smirnoff said after the show.

There was no mistaking the look on her face after the fall: Panic. "I didn't know where I was," said Smirnoff. "I was freaking out. I was panicking. I was asking for divine intervention." Added Macchio, "All I cared about was that she was okay."

It's one thing for a celebrity to fall, like Jennie Garth, who had to overcome an embarrassing tumble in Season 5 when Hough accidentally stepped on her dress. It's quite another to see the pros dropping like flies. But when Smirnoff tumbled Macchio took over, pulling her upright and back into the dance. "That was the highlight," said Smirnoff. "The fact that he pulled me up, and he was okay, and he said, 'Come on, let's go.' And he pulled me back into it."

Pro Mark Ballas — who promises that he will perform Tuesday night with American Idol's Pia Toscano even though he twisted his ankle during Monday's dress rehearsal — thinks Macchio deserves a lot of credit. "I thought Ralph recovered great," Ballas said. "He got her on the right leg and carried on. That shows how good of a coach Karina is because Ralph knew exactly where he was, and the timing of how he needed to be moving. It was a great routine."

But Smirnoff and Macchio still felt the sting of not being able to perform the dance the way they know they can. It was a special dance for Macchio, he said, because it was the first time they were able to incorporate moves from The Karate Kid. Added Smirnoff, "I really hope we get to do the encore tomorrow."

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!