Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley's emotional rumba to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" turned scary on "Dancing With the Stars" when the two took a tumble Monday night.
"It never happened before. ... I guess [it was] like a charlie horse. It gave up and out," Chmerkovskiy said. "I'm good. It's sore. It's fine. It's not a pain that's going to stop me."
In the first seconds of their steps on the live ballroom dance show, Chmerkovskiy fell to the ground, dropping Alley, whose leg had been tightly wrapped around his waist when he fell. He blamed his thigh for giving out.
In visible pain, Chmerkovskiy hopped on his foot and pointed his finger, motioning to Alley. Then he continued the dance with Alley, surprising the judges with how well the two completed the rumba that started with a fall.
"The whole thing about the situation ... what makes me most uncomfortable is … I just want to be in the background. I'm the backbone. I want to be in the shadows. This being the most talked about moment takes away from Hines and Petra doing their Phenomenal [dances] and even from Kirstie."
The top dancers Monday night were model Petra Nemcova and NFL star Hines Ward with scores of 25 each.
Ward danced a samba to "Through the Fire," which he dedicated to his mother, who struggled to raise him.
Nemcova and partner Dmitry Chaplin waltzed to "You Raise Me Up" for the children of Thailand, following the 2004 tsunami.
All contestants were tasked with choosing a dance that revealed something emotional about them. Alley chose "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to symbolize her overcoming adversity.
"We've done it a hundred times," Alley said after the fall. "It's live TV."
After finishing the dance, Chmerkovskiy blamed himself and took to Twitter to apologize.
The two, who have been among the show's top contestants, scored a 21 out of 30 Monday night. That's one point better than they did last week.
"Sometimes tragedy leads to an amazingly beautiful moment," judge Carrie Ann Inaba said.
Bruno Tonioli echoed Inaba.
"You can't keep good talent down. Once you got up it was better than ever," Tonioli said.
Former contestant Kyle Massey said on "Good Morning America" that when he would mess up on the ballroom floor, his mind would start racing.
"When something goes wrong on the dance floor, it's one of those moments you knew could happen, but you could never prepare for it ... how do we get back into this and keep it professional and keep it ballroom and get the crowd to forget about the mistake," Massey said.
Chmerkovskiy and Alley weren't the only ones who got off to a shaky start.
Kendra Wilkinson wobbled down the stairs to the ballroom, blaming her disorientation on smoke.
"I couldn't see anything in front of me. I started to panic, I started to shake," Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson and partner Louis Van Amstel scored a 23.
Talk show host Wendy Williams ended up at the bottom of the scoreboard with a 15. She and partner Tony Dovolani used Williams' early career on radio as inspiration for a fox trot to "The DJ Saved my Life."
"I don't think that we danced a 15, but the judges are judges, and hopefully, people will vote and keep me and Tony here," she said.
Following the show, she tweeted a picture of her swollen feet.
Judges told singer Romeo that he "took a step backward" this week, and gave his rumba a 20.
Despite the slip-ups, the night held plenty of triumphs.