“I was stressed out about a few particular points in the dance, where I was second guessing myself,” she told PEOPLE after Monday night’s show. “We only went through it clean a few times.”
But having her mom, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, in the audience helped calm her nerves.
“I looked over and saw both our moms sitting together,” Bristol says. “It was comforting.”
And the pair pulled off a solid routine, earning 22 points from the judges.
“I was super glad that we got this dance out of the way and that we did well,” says Bristol, who adds that having her mom in the ballroom was like having “my security blanket.”