Melissa Rycroft: I Can’t Wait for Ava to See My DWTS Costumes

09/25/2012 at 01:00 PM ET
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Melissa Rycroft returned to the ballroom Monday evening with a new fan in the audience — daughter Ava Grace.

“I had such a great time the first time on Dancing with the Stars, and coming back now, I have a husband [Tye Strickland] and a little girl,” the reality star, who’s back for the all-star season, tells PEOPLE.

“Once we cleared out the logistics that everybody was going to come to L.A. and stay together, [being back on the show] seemed like a no-brainer.”

Rycroft, 29, is especially looking forward to sharing the experience with her 19-month-old.

“It’s really cool to have a little girl, specifically, watch what I’m doing,” she says. “One day she’s going to see the costumes, and see all the glitz and the glamour and the old videos, and see, ‘Oh, mommy used to be cool!'”

Although Rycroft has her pint-sized cheerleader on hand, she’s still dealing with nerves going into the season.

“I have so many emotions,” she says. “On one hand, I’m crazy excited. It really is just so much fun — the hair, the makeup, the dancing and the camaraderie that you have. On the other hand, I’m extremely terrified!”

— Gabrielle Olya

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting , Video

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Showing 7 comments

Anonymous on

Melissa you did great yesterday! I was so disappointed with the score, I think you both deserved better. Tony & you are great partners. We really enjoyed seeing you dancing. Keep doing the good job, I’m sure you will be in the finals! Good luck!

Tee Tee on

I really thought that I read somewhere that there was an age restriction on audience members. That was a couple of years ago, though, so maybe the rules have changed? Maybe I’m just remembering wrong altogether.

Melissa’s first night of dance was wonderful! I’m looking forward to continuing to watch her through this season!

Anonymous on

Melissa looked stunning last night in her costume, and her dance with Tony was awesome!

Summer on

Tee Tee,

It’s possible that there is an age restriction in general but they make exceptions for the family of the participants. Last year when Donald Driver won his little girl was in the audience and she must have been under a year old. I remember because the poor thing looked terrified when the crowd cheered for Donald.

I agree that Melissa did great last night. I think she should have been scored a bit higher.

Anita on

Tee Tee, I’m sure you’re right for the general public (true of most tv tapings), but those rules don’t apply to the performers’ friends and family.

Kristy on

I love Melissa. We went to High School with eachother and were on drill team together. It’s really amazing that we got married on the same day and both have daughter’s named Ava Grace. GOOD LUCK MAMA!!!!!

Kristy on

Best of luck to Melissa & Tony!