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IMAGE: Lacey Schwimmer, Chaz Bono
Matt Sayles  /  AP
Chaz Bono (with dance partner Lacey Schwimmer) says his friends find it amusing that he'll be in a dance contest, but he's still hoping he's not the first to leave.
Access Hollywood
updated 9/15/2011 10:41:47 AM ET 2011-09-15T14:41:47

All eyes will be on Chaz Bono when he hits the ballroom for the first time on “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday, and he’s feeling the pressure.

“That’s my pressure. I’m feeling pressure to not suck,” Chaz told Access Hollywood Live’s Kit Hoover as she visited his rehearsal with professional partner Lacey Schwimmer on Wednesday. “I don’t want to be the first to go. That would be horrible.”

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Chaz Bono Over The Years

Chaz has the support of his mom, Cher, who surprised him as he visited “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Tuesday’s episode, phoning in to voice her support of her son, but not all of the activist’s friends started out as confident.

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Join us for 'Dancing' chats on Tuesdays at 3:30 ET

“When I told people who know me, they just bust out laughing,” Chaz said of his friends’ initial reaction to the news he’d be competing for the mirrorball. “In my family especially, I mean look who my mom is, I let her do the dancing and I’m in the background.”

VIEW THE PHOTOS: "Dancing With The Stars" Season 13: Cast Photos

When asked what is going to surprise people most about Chaz’s performance on the dance floor, he said it won’t be his moves.

Story: Bring on the controversy: Casting Bono a win for 'DWTS'

“There’s nothing there that’s going to frighten children or some such stuff. (What will surprise people is that) I’m actually gonna be dancing,” he said.

Slideshow: 'Dancing With the Stars' season 13 cast (on this page)

Chaz said he’s stayed away from the message boards on ABC’s website, which had many comments from disgruntled fans outraged by his casting on the show, but in the other places he has seen some of the vitriol, he’s been able to let the criticism go.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: "Dancing With The Stars" Season 13: Meet The Cast

“I have very thick skin,” he said.

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“It’s more motivating for us to do better in this competition and to almost prove people wrong that don’t need to be saying this stuff,” Lacey added. “I think they have courage behind the computer, but if it came (to) coming face to face, it’d be a whole lot different.”

VIEW THE PHOTOS: "Dancing With The Stars" Season 13 Cast: Then & Now

“If anything, it just adds fuel to my fire,” Chaz added

Join us for 'Dancing' chats on Tuesdays at 3:30 ET

“Dancing with the Stars” season 13 premieres at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 19 on ABC.

Story: Cher slams critics 'terrified' of Chaz on 'Dancing'

Excited for the new season? Talk about the show on the Facebook page for our TV blog, The Clicker!

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Video: Kristin is ready to go 'Dancing'

Photos: 'Dancing With the Stars' season 13 cast

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  1. The stars of season 13

    The new cast of "Dancing With the Stars" was revealed on Monday, Aug. 29. In the back row, from left: Ron Artest, David Arquette, J.R. Martinez, Rob Kardashian and Chaz Bono. In the front row, from left: Ricki Lake, Kristin Cavallari, Chynna Phillips, Nancy Grace, Hope Solo and Elisabetta Canalis. Carson Kressley is not pictured.

    All 12 couples will dance for the first time on ABC on Monday, Sept. 19. (Adam Taylor / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Get the party started

    "Dancing" hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke greet the new hopefuls on Monday, Aug. 29. (Adam Taylor / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. David Arquette

    Actor David Arquette -- brother to actors Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, Alexis Arquette and Richmond Arquette -- is best known for his work in the film series "Scream." He is also married to actress Courteney Cox, but the two are currently separated.

    He's paired with pro Kym Johnson, who has won the mirror ball trophy twice in the U.S. version of the show. She was also the pro champ in season 2 of Australia's version. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Ron Artest

    Ron Artest is a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, and is known for being eccentric off the court. (He has filed papers to legally change his name to Metta World Peace.) On the basketball court, he is perhaps best known for the November 2004 Pacers-Pistons fight. Artest, a Pacer at the time, rushed into the stands to confront a fan who threw a drink at him, which led to the biggest player-fan fight to date.

    He is paired with new pro Peta Murgatroyd. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Chaz Bono

    GLBT activist Chaz Bono is the only child of Sonny Bono and Cher. His documentary, "Becoming Chaz," followed his gender transition, and was nominated for three Emmys.

    He's paired with pro Lacey Schwimmer. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Elisabetta Canalis

    Elisabetta Canalis is an Italian actress who has appeared in the film "Deuce Bigalow" and the TV show "Leverage," but she is best known for dating George Clooney for two years.

    She's paired with new pro Val Chmerkovskiy, who is brother to fellow pro Maksim. Val has also previously performed on "DWTS." (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Kristin Cavallari

    Kristin Cavallari found fame with MTV reality programs "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills." She has also appeared on "The Middle" and "CSI: New York." Cavallari was engaged to Chicago Bears player Jay Cutler, but he ended their engagement in July.

    She's paired with pro Mark Ballas, who has won the mirror ball trophy twice. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Nancy Grace

    Former prosecutor Nancy Grace currently hosts "Nancy Grace" on HLN. She is also the author of mystery thrillers "The Eleventh Victim" and its sequel, "Death on the D-List." Grace is married and has twins.

    She is paired with new pro Tristan MacManus. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Rob Kardashian

    Rob Kardashian is best known as the brother of Kim, Kourteny and Khloe Kardashian. He appears on several of the family's series of E! shows, including "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and "Khloe and Lamar." He is the second Kardashian to participate in the show. Kim competed in season seven.

    He's paired with pro Cheryl Burke, who has won the mirror ball trophy twice. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Carson Kressley

    Carson Kressley is best known as the fashion guru on the Bravo series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." He is also a New York Times best-selling author, and currently hosts "Carson-Nation" on OWN.

    He's paired with pro Anna Trebunskaya. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Ricki Lake

    Ricki Lake played Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 film "Hairspray." She has since had a long-running daytime talk show ("Ricki Lake," 1992-2004) and hosted a season of VH1's "Charm School." Lake has also made numerous TV appearances.

    She's paired with pro Derek Hough, who is a three-time mirror ball champ. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. J.R. Martinez

    J.R. Martinez plays combat vet Brot Monroe on "All My Children." Prior to acting on the soap opera, Martinez was in the Army. He was deployed to Iraq in March 2003, but less than a month after that, his vehicle hit a landmine. Martinez was trapped, and suffered severe burns. In addition to acting, Martinez is a motivational speaker.

    He's paired with pro Karina Smirnoff. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Chynna Phillips

    Chynna Phillips, the daughter of The Mamas and The Papas' Michelle and John Phillips, is perhaps best known as a member of the '90s pop trio Wilson Phillips, whose debut album sold eight million copies. She has also appeared in several films, including "Caddyshack II" and "Say Anything." She is married to actor Billy Baldwin.

    She's paired with pro Tony Dovolani. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Hope Solo

    Hope Solo is the goalkeeper for the United States women's national soccer team. She was part of the team that went to the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup finals, but the U.S. ultimately lost to Japan on a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 tie.

    She's paired with pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. (Craig Sjodin / ABC) Back to slideshow navigation
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