Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani Explain Boa Malfunction on DWTS

Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani Explain Boa Malfunction on DWTS
Tony Dovolani and Betsey Johnson
Craig Sjodin/ABC

09/16/2014 AT 09:30 AM EDT

Oh, feathers!

Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani were having a grand old time in the Dancing with the Stars ballroom on Monday's season premiere, until the fashion queen had a tussle with a fashion prop – and lost!

"That was her and the boa having a fight. And the boa won," Dovolani said of his dance partner, who tried to grab a feather boa from a clothes rack during their cha-cha, only to find it was stuck.

"It got hooked," Johnson, 72, told PEOPLE after the performance. "Tony always fixed the boa to just fly away when I grabbed it."



Meanwhile, Dovolani, 41, could only smile at the irony. "She's like this fashion icon," he said, "and the fashion is what screwed her."

But never mind. Johnson finished the routine with a cartwheel and a split. And despite their low score of 20, they're having a blast anyway.

"The truth of the matter is that we're not here to compete," Dovolani said. "We're here to put on a show."

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