Craig Sjodin/ABC
March 28, 2010 12:00 AM

After a slow start on the season 10 premiere of Dancing with the Stars, Kate Gosselin, who turns 35 on Sunday, will have something to wish for when she blows out her birthday candles: Make it through the show’s first elimination, coming this week.

“I hope I’m not one of the first to go,” Gosselin confessed to PEOPLE. “I really like it here. You become close to everybody so fast.”

During Monday night’s show, it was obvious this season’s cast has camaraderie. When the group sat in the new red room, which is now located inside the ballroom rather than backstage, the celebrities and dancers rallied behind one another. Before each performance they lined up outside the room in front of the glass wall to see the live performances up close.

“We were cheering them all on. I’m going to be sad when go. I loved seeing everybody dance. It was wonderful,” Gosselin says. “I thought everybody did great. Evan Lysacek‘s performance made me cry. Nicole Scherzinger was amazing.”

Judge Bruno Tonioli slammed Gosselin and partner Tony Dovolani’s Viennese waltz. “It looked like Tony was pushing a shopping cart around the floor,” he told the mom of eight.

Those comments did not sit well with Dovolani. “Kate is not an athlete, she’s not a performer, she has zero dancing background and for her to come out and perform that Viennese waltz with no mistakes, I’m ecstatic,” Dovolani said.

Next up for the mother of eight is the jive. “I know where we started and where we are now and I’m so proud of her,” Dovolani says.

Dancing‘s performance show airs Monday (8 p.m. EST) on ABC, followed by the elimination on Tuesday. –Monica RizzoCraig Sjodin/ABC

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