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October 17, 2008 12:00 AM

Considered by some to be this season’s Dancing with the Stars ringer, Lance Bass wasn’t always so smooth on the dancefloor, says his former ‘N Sync bandmate Chris Kirkpatrick.

“We used to joke with Lance because he was the worst dancer in the group,” Kirkpatrick told PEOPLE Wednesday at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals For Children Open in Las Vegas, “but he’s amazing on the show.”

“He’s got such poise and he’s really confident in his dancing,” Kirkpatrick added. “He’s really good, surprisingly good.”

So good, in fact, that Kirkpatrick thinks his pal has a real shot at winning. “I think he does. I don’t know if he thinks he does. He’s really hard on himself,” said Kirkpatrick. And Las Vegas odds makers agree. Wynn Las Vegas initially put Bass’s chances of winning season 7’s mirror-ball trophy at 5 to 1.

But, added Kirkpatrick, “I do think Lance is going to get critiqued a little harder than the athletes and other out of their element. If Lance doesn’t win it’s because they were overly strict on him.” –Mark Gray

Revolutionpix/INF; Frank Micelotta/Getty

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