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Bill Nye The Science Guy on 'Dancing With the Stars'

Bill Nye joins first time professional partner Tyne

Bill Nye joins first time professional partner Tyne Stecklein. "Dancing with the Stars" returned for Season 17 on Sept. 16, 2013 on ABC. Credit: ABC / Craig Sjodin

Poor Bill Nye The Science Guy.

His debut performance on “Dancing With the Stars”? The audience gave him an A for effort – but the judges flunked him.

Bill and his dance pro partner, Tyne Stecklein, for sure had a routine chock full of special effects and gimmicks. They did the cha-cha to, appropriately, “Weird Science.” Nye began the dance routine wearing the signature blue lab coat and bow tie he’s known for in his iconic, Emmy-award winning children’s science TV show. Stecklein was lying on a slab until Nye brought her to life a la a hot tamale Frankenstein.

Surrounded by towering columns shot through with mad-scientist electricity, the duo cha-cha-ed. She whipped off his blue lab coat; he danced in white shirt, bow tie and suspenders. Stecklein’s white fringes flapped and magenta pink feathers flew off her boa. At the end of the choreography, they both lifted colorful beakers of potions to their lips.

The audience yelled “Bill! Bill! Bill!” showering the 57-year-old contestant with devotion. But the judges? Not so much.

Judge Len Goodman: “It was painful while it happened and lovely when it was over. Not enough cha-cha for me.” Judge Bruno Tonioli: “You had all the elements in there but it was all backward and forward.” Judge Carrie Ann Inaba tried to be kind, saying that Nye is the kind of contestant who makes “Dancing With the Stars” fun to watch. “You are the heart of the show,” she told him.

Their scores? 4, 5 and 5, giving them the lowest total of the night with 14 points of a possible 30 on the first night of Season 17. By comparison? Amber Riley of “Glee” and her pro dance partner Derek Hough scored a whopping 27.

None of the 12 couples was eliminated on Monday’s opening night. But without the popular vote from America, Nye could be off the show on next Monday’s episode.

“They’ll need your votes to save them,” host Tom Bergeron told viewers. According to the “Dancing With the Stars” mid-episode report on who was the most talked about on Facebook during the broadcast, Nye was in the lead there. So maybe he’ll be saved by loyal fans who grew up with Nye teaching them about how volcanoes erupt and why onions make them cry.

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