It was the worst-kept TV secret this side of George Clooney's return to ER, but that didn't stop Dancing with the Stars from waiting nearly an hour into Monday's Season 8 premiere before announcing Girls Next Door's Holly Madison and The Bachelor's jilted Melissa Rycroft as the 11th-hour replacements for Jewel and Nancy O'Dell, respectively.
Madison, Hugh Hefner's ex, had only one week to rehearse the cha-cha with Dancing newbie Dmitry Chaplin after Jewel withdrew due to two fractured tibia. The two received encouragement and an 18 from the judges, who saw potential.
With only 48 hours of rehearsals under her belt, Rycroft, who has a ballet background, debuted an elegant waltz with Tony Dovolani, easily scoring a 23 and leaving judge Carrie Ann Inaba practically in tears. "You're just a beautiful dancer," she said.
O'Dell, who tore her meniscus and requires surgery, gave Rycroft a standing O.
Some in the audience booed as the show played the infamous After the Rose clip of Jason Mesnick saying goodbye to Rycroft, who just last week declared her reality TV days over.
"Jason is a loser," judge Bruno Tonioli proclaimed, hand-signing "L" and all.