"I have a fear of the stage, a fear of the audience," the reality star says

By Monica Rizzo
March 22, 2011 07:40 PM
Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Nobody at Dancing with the Stars was more relieved than Kendra Wilkinson to get Monday night’s premiere performance out of the way. Before performing the cha cha on live TV with partner Louis van Amstel, Wilkinson was a bundle of nerves.

“In the cha cha you’re not supposed to bend your knees but I had to or I would have passed out,” Wilkinson said. “I was so nervous, I barely took a breath.”

What worried her? In short, everything about performing.

“I have a fear of the stage, a fear of the audience,” Wilkinson said. “[The bright lights of the ballroom] made me dizzy. But I pulled it out and the fact that Carrie Ann [Inaba] said I didn’t miss one step made me feel so good.”

Wilkinson wasn’t the only person to get a case of pre-show nerves.

“When I got here at the beginning of the day I wasn’t nervous at all,” says two-time Dancing champ Cheryl Burke, now in her 11th season on the show. “But two minutes before the show I thought, ‘I’m going to throw up.’ ”

“That’s a sign of a professional – you get nervous before you perform,” said Burke’s partner, WWE star Chris Jericho. “I’m just happy we got that first one under our belts.”

The first dance, Romeo said, “felt great. It’s like taking that first shot in your first basketball game. You knock it out and then you know what you need to do to get your team to the next level.”

Dancing‘s next performance show airs March 28 (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.