'Dancing With the Stars' dives into Scandoval with Ariana Madix: 'Scandal does not define me'

"Dancing With the Stars" dove right into Scandoval with "Vanderpump Rules" star and reality dance contestant Ariana Madix.

Madix, 38, didn't throw shade during her debut routine in the reality ballroom competition premiere Tuesday, she shot spray tan.

In a pre-taped segment before her passionate tango, Madix spoke of the "Vanderpump Rules" scandal involving alleged infidelity between her ex-partner of nine years and "VPR" co-star, Tom Sandoval, and Madix's former close friend, Raquel Leviss.

"My life has been a roller coaster in the last year," Madix said, along to the segment's dramatic music. "My partner of nine years and one of my best girlfriends were having an affair behind my back. And everybody got to watch it all play out and my life blow up on television.

"But this scandal does not define me," she added.

Asked by pro partner Pasha Pashkov why she was doing "DWTS," Madix said she wanted to stand on her own two feet because "feeling like you were a joke to your partner of nine years is devastating. But I want to show other women none of that stuff has to hold you back."

She vowed to display "a more confident and vibrant version of myself. Because I don't need anybody else. I love me."

Madix then exploded onto the dance floor in a tango to “Love Myself (Riddler Remix)” by Hailee Steinfeld, which had the crowd cheering and the judges unleashing supportive superlatives.

For seasons, Bravo's "Vanderpump Rules" documented the seemingly sweet relationship between Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix, right. In March, news broke of his months-long affair with Raquel Leviss, left.
For seasons, Bravo's "Vanderpump Rules" documented the seemingly sweet relationship between Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix, right. In March, news broke of his months-long affair with Raquel Leviss, left.

"Ariana strikes back with a vengeance!" bellowed judge Bruno Tonioli. Fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba was even more boisterous.

"Can I just say as a woman, 'Cheaters suck!’" said Inaba. "They suck. But you just showed every woman and every man who was watching how you handle a cheater. You come out here and turn it up!"

The judges' scores of 21 out of 30 shot Madix to the upper leaderboard which, combined with viewer votes, assured she was safe to dance another week.

"Veep" star Matt Walsh, who re-entered "DWTS" after pausing work on the show during the writers’ strike, and his pro partner Koko Iwasaki were eliminated following low scores for their first dance, a cha cha to “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe.

Jamie Lynn Spears can take 'tough love' on 'DWTS'

"Zoey 101" star Jamie Lynn Spears gave a promising debut tango and engaging performance, all without ever mentioning, or showing pictures of older sister Britney Spears. With mother Lynne Spears in attendance, Spears, 32, did mention she had the strength to take "tough love" coaching from pro partner Alan Bersten.

"In my family, we have a lot of tough love, so I can take it," said Spears.

Despite pointing out that her past dance experience consisted mainly of cheerleading, Spears' somewhat tentative tango to “Don’t Call Me Up (Zac Samuel Remix)” by Mabel did earn judges' praise.

"When you smile you lit up the room," said Inaba. "I would like to see more of that."

"I think you're better than you believe you are," said judge Derek Hough.

Speaking backstage to host Julianna Hough, Spears admitted she needed to work on the mental game.

"I'm always like my worst enemy," said Spears, who declared victory just making it off the floor. "Also I was trying not to vomit the whole time. So it was a big win."

The comment brought out a regrettable response from rookie host Hough.

"Alright!" Hough declared. "Let's not vomit on these scores!"

Spears was voted through to next week and will continue to dance on "DWTS."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'DWTS': Ariana Madix strikes back against 'Vanderpump Rules' scandal