Zap2it September 24th 2010

"I can't believe the Hoff got booted!"

So says Shannen Doherty about week one of "Dancing With the Stars," which has just started its 11th ABC season Mondays and Tuesdays. Since she was the first star eliminated from the contest's previous season, the "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Charmed" alum has the background to be shocked that fellow television veteran David Hasselhoff was the first celebrity voted out of the new round.

"I was stunned," Doherty tells Zap2it. "He's a huge star with a gigantic fan base. People might have been like, 'He's getting a ton of votes, so I don't need to vote for him.' I thought he was great and super-entertaining, and Jennifer Grey was lovely. And the kid from the Disney Channel (Kyle Massey)? Personality like you would not believe! Since I was on the show last season, I had to watch."

The main piece of advice Doherty has for the current "Dancing" field? "Just be true to yourself -- and be very aware of the cameras. I think what the audience wants to see is the true person, so it's best not to exploit the camera by putting on an act as somebody you aren't. Be yourself and enjoy the moment, because it's a fun show to do."

Big personal stakes marked Doherty's "Dancing" stint, since she agreed to do the program for her father. "It was the only reason," she confirms. "They had made me offers since season one, and I had never considered it. Being in front of a live audience and many other things went into it where I thought, 'Oh, I don't need to do this.'

"My dad had had his 10th stroke last Christmas, and I was trying to cheer him up. I told him about the latest 'Dancing With the Stars' offer, laughing it off ... and he was like, 'Do it! Do it!' It was very emotional. I remember with the first live performance, I was walking down, and the first person I saw was my dad. The rest of that night was a struggle not to cry."

Appearing next opposite a colossal pumpkin -- seriously -- in the Hallmark Channel movie "Growing the Big One" Saturday, Oct. 23, Doherty was protective of her father during her brief "Dancing" round.

"The producers wanted to do a piece with us, and I thought, `No.' This man had just had a stroke and couldn't speak, and there was no way I was going to put him on national TV. To their credit, they were great about it. But I say to the contestants, 'Just knuckle down,' because it's a lot of hard work."