Helio Castroneves and his professional dance partner, Chelsie Hightower, are in the middle of the pack after Monday's "Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars" premiere on ABC. Helio and Chelsie received a total score of 21.5 of 30 from the three-judge panel for their Foxtrot. They're tied for fifth place.
“It could be better. It could be worse,” the thee-time Indianapolis 500 champion said. “I'm being very nit picky. I know I could have done better for her. But at the end of the day the crowd was really good. I did not expect that. That threw me off a little bit. Everybody was so excited and I'm like, ‘Oh, my God.' "
The studio audience – which included his sister and 4-year-old nephew – loved seeing the Season 5 DWTS champion on the ballroom dance floor so much that they gave him a standing ovation.
“I felt the judges gave me a fair score,” Castroneves said. “That was nice but I know I have to continue working so we move up.”
Added Hightower: “He did a good job. It's always nice to get that first night out of the way and take it from there.”
Former NFL star Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke received the highest total score (24.5) from the judges for their Cha-Cha-Cha.
One couple will be eliminated Sept. 25 on the results show (8 p.m. ET on ABC). Fan voting is imperative to keep Team Helio on the way to the Mirror Ball Trophy.
The show airs each Monday and Tuesday and fans can vote by phone (1-800-868-3404) and by texting VOTE to 3404 for AT&T customers from the start of the show to an hour afterward. You can vote as many times are there are contestants (i.e. 12 next week).
You also can vote online HERE (click JOIN at top of homepage, register an account and then verify on your email; there's not limit to the number of accounts you create using different emails) and at www.facebook.com/dancingwiththestars.
Voting is open from 8 p.m. (ET) Mondays to 11 a.m. (ET) Tuesdays for U.S. and Canadian residents. International fans also can vote for Team Helio online at http://abc.go.com/ to click to join and register an account, enter a U.S. zip code. Click this link to find a zip code (http://www.mapsofworld.com/usa/zipcodes/). Remember to adjust your voting time to the deadline of 11 a.m. (ET) Tuesdays.
Contestants this season include former "Dancing With the Stars" winners Smith, Apolo Ohno, Kelly Monaco and Shawn Johnson along with Pamela Anderson, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Melissa Rycroft, Sabrina Bryan, Drew Lachey, Bristol Palin, and Gilles Marini.
Castroneves said that Julianne Hough, who paired with him and Ohno to win the celebrity dance competition, “sent a message (on Ohno's phone) to both of us. It was cute. It was something like, ‘Take care, my boys.' "