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Tiger King star Carole Baskin uses one of her nine lives and dodges DWTS exit

Tiger King star Carole Baskin used one of her nine lives as she narrowly avoided becoming the first celebrity contestant booted off Dancing With The Stars (ABC/Frank Ockenfels/PA)
Tiger King star Carole Baskin used one of her nine lives as she narrowly avoided becoming the first celebrity contestant booted off Dancing With The Stars (ABC/Frank Ockenfels/PA)

Tiger King star Carole Baskin used one of her nine lives as she narrowly avoided becoming the first celebrity contestant booted off Dancing With The Stars.

The Big Cat Rescue founder and her professional partner Pasha Pashkov were in the bottom two alongside former basketball player Charles Oakley and his partner Emma Slater.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba voted to save Baskin while Bruno Tonioli opted for Oakley. Casting the crucial vote, Derek Hough decided Baskin should live to fight another day on Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly Come Dancing.

Baskin, who shot to fame after starring in Netflix’s wildly successful documentary series Tiger King in March, put in a much-improved performance on Tuesday’s show after finishing bottom of the leaderboard during last week’s opener.

She once again performed to a cat-themed song. After introducing herself last week to Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger, Baskin returned to the floor and danced a Viennese waltz to What’s New Pussycat.

The 59-year-old wore a black-and-gold leopard print dress for the performance, which was relatively well-received by the judges.

“That a big improvement,” Hough said. “I was impressed.”

Tonioli, who is missing this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, added: “Your performance was shining! There was hope – it’s not perfect, but there was hope!”

Baskin and Pashkov received a total score of 16/30 from the judges, an improvement from last week’s 11. Baskin broke down in tears during a segment on the show which saw her describe the impact being portrayed as the villain of Tiger King has had on her life.

Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause was another contestant to become emotional while reflecting on her difficult childhood, recalling how her family was once homeless.

Stause impressed the judges with a rumba to This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, earning a total score of 18 out 30.

There had been doubts over reality TV star Kaitlyn Bristowe’s appearance on the show after host Tyra Banks revealed she had suffered an ankle injury.

However, she was cleared to perform with professional partner Artem Chigvintsev. They danced a foxtrot to Lee Ann Womack’s 2000 hit I Hope You Dance and received glowing praise from the judges.

Carrie Ann Inaba said: “If that’s how you dance with an injury, I would love to see it without one.”

The pair were given a score of 22.

Elsewhere during the show, 18-year-old actress Skai Jackson was comforted by judges following a slip-up in her routine with professional partner Alan Bersten.

Dancing With The Stars continues next week.

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