Carole Baskin is kicking her Dancing With the Stars stint with a growl! The controversial Tiger King subject revealed she's leaning into her love of big cats for her first dance as Season 29 kicks off Monday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. While her pro partner remains a secret until the duo is announced during the premiere, Baskin told E! News all about her first song choice Wednesday.
"I was just approved yesterday to release that we are doing 'Eye of the Tiger,' so I'm very excited about that," she told the outlet, explaining that she only had a few constraints when it comes to her dance costumes. "I'm actually sitting in my car outside of costuming right now. And I gave them the instructions that no fur, no feathers, no leather, and anything else," she explained. "I can't wait to see what they come up with." The Big Cat Rescue founder added that she isn't concerned about how "wild" they go; she just wants to "have a blast."
While Baskin was left with a sour taste in her mouth after Netflix's Tiger King, it was her daughter who convinced her to give Dancing With the Stars a chance. "'Mom, you got to do this,'" she recalled her daughter telling her. "And so I contacted them and I thought what they would do to pair me with a star because I have never seen this show and didn't know how it worked. ...So once I found out how it actually worked I was even more mortified, but I wanted to do it for my daughter because she does so much for me."
Baskin hopes that her stint on DWTS can draw attention to animal rights and educate people on the abuse of wild animals in captivity. "That's why I feel so much pressure to stay in this competition for as long as I possibly can," she explained. "Because every single week, I hope to be giving that message in front of people that these cats don't belong in cages, and we have to save them in the wild before they disappear completely."
The docuseries subject has spoken critically of Tiger King, in which the disappearance of her former husband, for which some have implicated her, was investigated. "It's been a nightmare since Tiger King aired," Baskin told Good Morning America after her casting was announced. "The longer my partner and I can stay in the running and in the competition it will keep the cats forefront in the viewer's eye and to me, that was where Tiger King missed the ball - it really should have been focused on the animals."