Paula Deen has a bright smile and an inspiring backstory. She took control of her life after hitting some bumps that other people don’t recover from — and she turned a friendly face, a tireless work ethic and a knowing touch in the kitchen into a southern cooking empire. But Deen’s on new ground dancing on Dancing With The Stars, and her feet aren’t nearly as steady in the ballroom as they’ve been for her in the kitchen.
Or maybe it’s just that in real life when you stumble, as Deen certainly has, judges don’t deduct points and tell you they wish you’d been better. Deen has been getting too many 5 scores to survive unless she pulls out a miracle this week. Her regular partner Louis Van Amstel has been doing his best, but Deen has drawn creative genius Mark Ballas as a partner in the Switch Up week. The 29-year-old Ballas will need all his innovation — and his innate understanding of his partner’s strengths and weaknesses — to pull Paula through. It could be a disaster, or it could be a signature moment on the show. Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8pm on ABC.