Welcome to the Ballroom folks for the first recap and review of the season. By the looks of the premiere, we are in for a bumpy ride. You know, there have been a lot of complaints that this season was light on bankable stars, and at first I was a little inclined to agree. Did the premiere change my mind? Read on to find out.
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas – Foxtrot
Chelsea Kane is this years Disney star, and has appeared on Jonas L.A., where she admits that kissing Joe Jonas was not a bad experience. She also never got to go to prom, which she is treating this first dance as. The dance benefits from a cute song, and she seems to move well. It wasn’t bad, and a great start to the show. Len thought it had a fresh, young appeal, but some parts were Peter, Paul, and Mary (which he liked) while others were the Black Eyed Peas (which he didn’t.) Bruno said the dance had pure afterglow, but wanted her to work on her control. Carrie Ann agreed, and told Chelsea to watch her shoulders.
Score: 21 out of 30
Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani – Cha Cha
The first thing Wendy does when she meets Tony is ask for his name, which is a natural thing to do, but in this case it felt odd. She gets very emotional, and starts to let out some tears. When she stepped out to the dance floor, I expected fire and sizzle; what we got was the exact opposite. Wendy seemed so timid, as if she was afraid to move (who could blame her.) She was, however, better than Kate. Bruno calls her a virgin and asks where was Wendy Williams. Carrie Ann sensed real fear, and Len told her that she needed to bring the performance out (after mentioning her dumplings.)
Total Score: 14 out of 30
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson – Cha Cha
Hines missed out on winning the Super Bowl Trophy, and now wants the mirror ball in its place. Hey, whatever works. He is the first real surprise of the night. His posture is a little off, but he makes me smile when he dances simply because he is smiling so big. It was hard not to like his performance. Carrie Ann called it the sparkliest Cha cha she has ever seen, while Len told him to work on his posture and bum placement. Bruno thought his timing was excellent, and demonstrated how Hines should move his hips, scaring Len in the process.
Total Score: 21 out of 30
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin – Foxtrot
I’ve been a fan of Dmitry’s ever since “So You Think You Can Dance,” so it was nice to see him back. Petra, who survived the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand, dedicated her performance to the victims of the recent Japanese Tsunami. (Tell me your heart did not break when she started crying.) She is gorgeous in her outfit, and the dance is nice, not exactly a wow, but good for a first performance. Len said it had charm and grace, but he needs to work on her posture. Bruno said it had moments of beauty and sophistication, and Carrie Ann called it stunning. She also saw a lift, but decided to let it go. Way to go CA!
Total Score: 18 out of 30
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower – Cha Cha
Romeo was supposed to be on season 2, but an ankle injury prevented that. His dad Master P took over, and went in the history books for getting the lowest scores ever. Romeo has a lot to prove, but once he hits the floor, he shows real promise. Bruno thought it was vibrant, but messy, and Carrie Ann felt the two had sex appeal and chemistry. Len felt the number had energy, but was too casual.
Total Score: 19 out of 30
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trubunskaya – Foxtrot
The boxing legend is incredibly hard on himself, but luckily Anna snaps him out of it. The posture seems off, but he appears to be having fun, and seems to loosen up at the end. Carrie Ann called him a fan favorite (a little early, but I will agree) and at moments looked like Ben Vereen. Len called it “beer and pizza,” while Bruno said he had sugar and spice out of hold, in hold he was a Ninja Turtle.
Total Score: 17 out of 30
Kendra Wilkonson and Louis Van Amstel – Cha Cha
I’ve got to hand it to her; the girl can shake it. Plus she’s not half bad. Definitely better than I expected. Len said it held his interest, but she needs to work on his legs. Bruno said it wasn’t clean, and Carrie Ann complimented Kendra for attacking every move.
Total Score: 18 out of 30
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff – Foxtrot
Now we are getting somewhere. Ralph took me completely off guard. He can move and perform, which was lacking in a majority of the performances tonight. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen; he was just so fun to watch. I can honestly say he is the first real contender of the night. The judges agree, with Bruno calling him fantastic, Carrie Ann stating he was an amazing surprise, and Len calling his Foxtrot the best of the night.
Total Score: 24 out of 30
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke – Cha Cha
I’ll admit I was a Jerichoholic back in the day, and was excited to see Chris Jericho perform. Cheryl says that Chris’ muscles are his biggest problem. I wish I had that kind of problem. Anyways, the dance is a little slow, but he has power and energy. Carrie Anne called it a Chippendale Cha Cha, and said Chris needs more content in his dance. Len said Chris’ hips are allergic to music, but he did well. Finally, Bruno called it messy, but entertaining.
Total Score: 19 out of 30
Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer – Foxtrot
It had to happen to someone; unfortunately the lowest scores of the night went to the least known celebrity (his own words.) His foxtrot seemed very choppy, not the light, airy feel the dance needs. Len said it had very little dance quality, while Bruno said he looked constipated. Carrie Anne congratualted him for keeping up, but said he was very choppy.
Total Score: 13
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerskovsky
Note: The DVR cut off her performance, so I haven’t seen the judges comments. Fortunately I was able to catch her dance on YouTube. Whoa. That is all I can say. I so did not expect that. Kirstie brought tons of fire to the routine, and the so called “Fat Actress” can give lessons on what it takes to perform. Not a bad effort, and one of the best of the nights, right behind Ralph.
Total Score (which I looked up): 23
So there you have it. The former “Karate Kid” and the “Fat Actress” are the early front-runners, while Mike Catherwood and Wendy Williams struggled to make it through their dances. Luckily they will have one more week to try and redeem themselves. Although I was wondering about the entertainment level of this season, after watching Hines, Ralph, and Kirstie, I think everything will be okay.
Who were your favorites?
“Dancing with the Stars” airs Mondays and Tuesdays on ABC.
Article first published on Examiner.com as Dancing with the Stars: Who are the early favorites?