03/03/2009 AT 12:00 AM EST
While Lil' Kim
prepares for her debut on ABC's Dancing with the Stars
(March 9 at 7 p.m. ET), the rapper says she and her fellow inmates watched the show while she was in prison.
"Me and my girls used to watch it and they would say, 'You need to be on that show,'" Kim tells The Insider
In 2005, Lil' Kim -- whose real name is Kimberly Jones -- was sentenced
to one year and a day in a Philadelphia detention center after being convicted of lying to a federal grand jury about a shootout outside a Manhattan radio station.
She was released early after serving nearly 10 months behind bars.
"In prison you have to agree on what to watch," she says, "and Dancing
was the number one show. We watched it faithfully and we were so into it."
As for the elaborate and form-fitting costumes worn in the ballroom, the rapper should be a perfect fit. "Those are natural Lil' Kim outfits," she says.
She's also happy with her Dancing
pro partner, Derek Hough
. "I prayed and was hoping to have Derek as my partner," she says. "When those doors opened and I saw him, I was like 'Yes!'"
Adds Derek, "We gelled immediately. She really caught me off guard. She was really sweet and soft-spoken. A bowl of sunshine!" -- Jessica Herndon