ABC
By Melissa Locker
September 30, 2014

There was a Delorean on the set of Dancing with the Stars last night and that could only mean one thing: Lea Thompson was going back in time to go Back to the Future.

Ever since it was announced that Thompson would be joining the cast for season 19 of DWTS, fans had been waiting for a routine set to Huey Lewis and the News’s Back to the Future theme song, “The Power of Love,” and last night, Thompson delivered.

“Lorraine McFly is one of my favorite characters. She’s the best and it was fun to revisit her in a cha-cha skirt,” said Thompson after the routine. It was a thrilling moment for fans, who had been yearning for a throwback moment since Elizabeth Berkley Lauren recreated her Jessie Spano “I’m So Excited” dance on the show.

It’s all part of the fun for Thompson, who is simply enjoying being back on the dance floor after a years-long hiatus. “Being on the show is all about revisiting my first love. I really loved ballet, but I wasn’t good enough to be a ballet dancer, “ said Thompson. “This is about enjoying the joy of the dance and not being so uptight about it. I feel revitalized by this. It’s so much fun.”

Thompson may be having fun, but she’s also doing very well in the competition. She was at the top of the leaderboard last week after her fast-paced jive wowed the judges — so much so that Carrie Ann Inaba fell out of her chair. “We were so surprised. I had no idea that we were the top of the leaderboard,” said Thompson. “It was awesome.” That said, Thompson claims she’s just on the show for the love of the dance. “I don’t care about winning, but I do care about staying on the show, because it’s so much fun!” she said.

She noted that contestant Janel Parrish beat her in one of the show’s so-called “Twitter-offs,” where the contestant who gets the most votes on Twitter earns a valuable repeat performance. “She’s my best girlfriend on the show,” said Thompson, “But she did beat me for the Twitter-off, because she has about a billion more Twitter followers than me!”

“It’s not how much younger they are than me. It’s how many social media followers they have — that’s what’s stacked against me,” said Thompson. “I need more Twitter followers!” (If you want to help swell her numbers from the 78,000 followers she already has, her Twitter handle is @LeaKThompson.)

It’s not just social media that causes Thompson some concern, though. “I worry that people won’t vote for me, because they think I’m safe,” said Thompson. “I’m not safe at all.”

Part of Thompson’s concern stems from the fact that she’s paired with a brand-new pro. While Chigvintsev has earned his stripes and laurels on the UK’s version, Strictly Come Dancing, he’s new to U.S. fans. “We come in with a slight disadvantage, because Artem doesn’t have an American fan base like Val [Chmerkovskiy] or Derek [Hough],” said Thompson. It’s clear that Thompson thinks Chigvintsev deserves his fair share of fans: “Artem is like the perfect guy — funny, smart and caring. And he has abs,” she laughed. “We’re great buds. We’re having a great time working on this.”

While Thompson is proud of her past, she does hope to incorporate something from her present in a future dance — sign language, a skill she earned on the set of her ABC Family drama Switched at Birth. “I am hoping to incorporate sign language into something. It’s just so beautiful,” she said.

Despite the greatness of the Back to the Future dance, fans will still have to wait for the inevitable moment when Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star and current Dancing with the Stars contestant Alfonso Ribeiro pulls out The Carleton.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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