March 23, 2010 -- She can spin a slither of a story into tabloid gold and change her hair faster than you can say "$7,000 extensions," but there's one thing Kate Gosselin can't quite do:
Dance. On her "Dancing With the Stars" debut Monday night, the much-maligned mother of eight showed that she has a lot to learn when it comes to working the floorboards. Dressed in what looked like a leftover costume from the set of "I Dream of Jeanie," Gosselin attempted a classic Viennese Waltz to Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman to Me," along with her good-natured professional parter, Tony Dovolani.
She lifted her limbs awkardly, she smiled stiffly. Gosselin appeared as if she genuinely wanted to glide over the dance floor with ease. Alas, she failed to impress the "DWTS" judges.
Judge Bruno Tolini cut Gosselin to the core.
"The technique was terrible," he said as she stood stoic, like a school child bracing for a scolding. "It looked like Tony was pushing a shopping cart across the floor. You have to exude something!"
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba offered more kind criticism.
"You're very different than a lot of the other people on the show," she said, noting that Gosselin, the reality TV mom and former nurse, is "not a performer" and "not an athlete" like most of the show's contestants.
"There's a sweet vulnerability to what you do," Inaba said. "You have an honesty that resonates with people."
Gosselin got 16 out of a possible 30 points in her "Dancing" debut. She came in third to last, narrowly beating out "All My Children" star Aiden Turner and 80-year-old astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
After hearing her score, she took a breath backstage and told host Brooke Burke that she was "glad that it's over and glad that my kids can rest easy tonight."
Oh, but there's a whole season of dancing to come, from sexy sambas and raunchy rumbas to quirky quicksteps and clumsy cha-chas. Earlier in Monday's show, Gosselin said that she's game for all of it.
"The excitement is somewhere underneath all the insecurities," she said. "Hang in there with me."