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OTRC: Nancy Grace compares 'Dancing With The Stars' to law school

Nancy Grace talks to OnTheRedCarpet.com after the premiere of 'Dancing With The Stars' on September 19, 2011.

For Nancy Grace, competing in 'Dancing with the Stars' may be harder than law school.

The 51-year-old television host and legal expert and partner MacManus, 29, received 16 out of 30 from the judges for their Cha Cha Cha on the season 13 premiere of ABC's hit celebrity ballroom dancing series (read recap). The pair was ranked in 8th place from among the 12 performers.

"All of the years that I was in law school, which were six years, and all the years that I practiced law, did not prepare me for tonight," Grace told OnTheRedCarpet.com after the show. "I did have a tiny blank moment, which hopefully the viewers did not see, but we plowed through it and Tristan managed to drag me back in. I think it turned out really well."

Grace added that she also appreciates the support she's been receiving from her fans, and that it has pushed her to continue to fight for the competition.

"It [the support] was overwhelming - it was just overwhelming," Grace added. "I have to tell you that I received so many phone calls and letters and emails from viewers to cheer me on and inspire me - and it really has. It's made me keep going on a lot of days."

Contestant Chynna Phillips, known for her work with the musical trio 'Wilson Phillips,' and professional partner Tony Dovolani earned the top score of 22 out of 30 for the night. Contestant J.R. Martinez, known for his service overseas and his work in the ABC daytime drama 'All My Children,' and partner Karina Smirnoff also earned a score of 22, tying the two pairs in first place for the premiere episode.

The 12 pairs return on Tuesday, September 20, and the first couple is expected to be eliminated. Grace and MacManus plan to perform the challenging QuickStep routine.

"It doesn't end tomorrow - I am very, very happy with where we are and I think everyone tends to forget that it's only been three weeks that Nancy, and any of the other contestants, have been working," MacManus told OnTheRedCarpet.com following the premiere about his partner Grace. "I think people, whether they like you or dislike you, they appreciate the hard work."

(See photos from the episode, as well as video interviews with the cast backstage, updated after every show).

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