By People Staff
Updated April 11, 2007 12:00 PM

The Comeback Kid: Yee-haw! The ballroom went ballistic when Drew Lachey made his surprise entrance as Big & Rich performed their hit “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” on Wednesday’s show. As the season-two Dancing champ reunited with partner Cheryl Burke to perform their winning routine, Burke’s mom jumped to her feet along with every woman in the crowd. Even the judges got caught up in the frenzy: After Lachey tossed off his cowboy hat for the first time during the routine, Len Goodman got hold of it and wore it until Lachey needed it for the finale. And Carrie Ann Inaba let loose in her chair, shimmying her shoulders and even swinging her hand in the air like a lasso. After his show-stopping number, Lachey fell to his knees in mock exhaustion (though he was visibly worn out from the routine!) but found the strength to make it over to the judges’ table to shake hands with Bruno Tonioli and Goodman while Inaba got up and hugged Lachey.

Meet the Dawg: Outside the L.A. soundstage where Dancing and American Idol both tape on Tuesdays, Idol judge Randy Jackson chatted up dancers Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Ian Ziering, who were all lounging on a staircase by their trailers before showtime. Smirnoff eventually ran to her trailer to get her camera so she could snap a shot with Jackson. Smile, dawg!

Going Toe-to-Toe: After Monday’s performance show, a posse of Dancing stars, including Cheryl Burke (with boyfriend Matthew Lawrence), Apolo Ono and Ian Ziering headed over to new Hollywood hot spot Parc to unwind from a night of rough words from the judges. “These guys are so fun,” said Ziering, who loved seeing the professional dancers “in the nightclub environment where they can actually move freely.” But pros Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani couldn’t help but get competitive as they busted out their moves in a dance-off against Joey Fatone and Ziering. “It was a toss-up,” Ziering said of the impromptu showdown. “We were pretending there was a fake ball and you do your move and then toss it to the next guy.” So, who won? “I will say I didn’t,” says Ziering.” Fatone had a more definitive answer: “Of course I did!”

Tiny Dancer: Before Tuesday’s live show, host Samantha Harris was spotted thanking crew members as they showered the expectant mom with congratulations on her baby news. One person who wasn’t in the loop? Judge Bruno Tonioli, who first heard that Harris is expecting a tiny dancer of her own when she announced her pregnancy on the air. And when warm-up comedian Cory Almeida pointed out Harris’ husband Michael in the crowd and asked him to stand up, the audience gave the couple a boisterous round of applause.

Devoted Student: Talk about taking the competition seriously. Ian Ziering is carrying his camera everywhere so he can study the week’s routine in his spare time. During practice sessions each week, “I take jpeg images and I watch those for a couple of hours,” he told us. “I’ll always watch the routine – in the bathroom I’m watching the routine. When I’m in my car, I’m listening to the music. Not only that but Cheryl writes out the steps.” And the studious star is geared up for his next dance – the samba. “I enjoyed the waltz, but it’s really kind of a snoozer,” says Ziering. “The (samba) is real gyrating but the hip thrusts are not side to side, they’re more forward and back – a whole other dimension.”

What, Him Worry?

Clyde Drexler

is hardly reeling from judge Len Goodman’s verbal personal foul after the judge accused the NBA star of “not putting in the effort.” “Len is just doing his job as a judge,” Drexler told us. “I wish he’d be more specific in his comments to help us. Don’t talk about, ‘Well, you’re giving 25 percent.’ Be more specific.” Next week the basketball legend hopes to prove Goodman wrong, but he has a tall order ahead of him with the rumba. “The only challenge for us is our height difference,” says Drexler’s partner Elena Grinenko. “It’s a romantic dance. It’s a very, very close dance, face-to-face. Since we can’t really achieve that it’s going to be a challenge with the choreography just to make it very affectionate.” Just don’t expect Grinenko to get higher heels. “They’re already three-and-a-half inches,” she says. “I can’t go higher than that!”

Additional reporting by Jennifer Garcia