The most awkward moments from Carole Baskin's Dancing With the Stars debut

Apparently, Carole Baskin was easy prey on Dancing With the Stars. The well-known cat activist and reality star — who became a celebrity, subject of an investigation and inspiration for countless TikTok memes after her controversial portrayal on Netflix's docu-series Tiger King — took to the stage for the debut episode of the show's 29th season on Sept. 14, 2020, per People. Her performance was mauled by the judges, which was just the tip of the cringe-worthy iceberg.

With Tyra Banks hosting, Derek Hough added to the judges' roster, a new set, and a compelling cast of dancing contestants, per ET, the reality dancing competition has a lot going for it this season. According to the outlet, fans are in for routines from actor Anne Heche, Catfish host Nev Schulman, Cheer coach Monica Aldama, Olympian Johnny Weir, and more, in the show's first season since the coronavirus outbreak. But most notably out of the gate was a...memorable debut from Baskin, which made headlines for more than one reason.

According to The Daily Beast, "cool cats and kittens" had to wait nearly two hours for Carole Baskin's performance. But boy, was it was worth the wait, with animal print outfits, a fitting song choice, and a response to the judges we won't soon forget. But that's not all, with a 30-second ad during her performance that brought Baskin's surrounding controversy to new heights. Here are the most awkward moments from Carole Baskin's Dancing With the Stars debut.

Carole Baskin's dance got overshadowed by her past

So how was Carole Baskin's Dancing With the Stars premiere? "Weird. Awkward. A terrible dancer," one fan tweeted. According to ET, the Tiger King alum was partnered with dancer Pasha Pashkov and tasked with performing a pasodoble, or Spanish double-step. The pair opted (surprise, surprise) for a tie-dye tiger print ensemble as they stomped the stage, dancing to "Eye of The Tiger" in the enjoyably off-kilter if simple routine. Fun! Unfortunately, the judges weren't quite roaring at the performance, giving it a total of 11 out of 30 rating, per ET. Yikes. And equally awkward; when asked how she felt about the critiques, the star seemed a little less camera-ready than on Tiger King, apparently remaining silent.  

But the awkwardness came to a head when, according to CBS News, a 30-second ad aired in local Florida markets having to do with a controversy Netflix fans may recall. The "Justice For Don Lewis" commercial spot, which got purposefully timed with the performance, sees Lewis' family and attorney looking for answers about his mysterious 1997 disappearance. During the ad, Baskin — Lewis' ex-wife — is mentioned by name, with the family asking for tips and a $100,000 award for any information about the tragic mystery. Wow. Baskin — who got accused by Joe Exotic of feeding Lewis to tigers — was told about the spot 10 minutes before taking the stage, according to TMZ.

Yup, that's a lot of drama for a dancing reality competition show. We can't wait for the rest of the season!