Welcome back to the ballroom!!
'Dancing With The Stars' returned tonight for its 21st season, and I don't know about any of you, but I'm THRILLED that it's back. We've got another crop of stars vying for the Mirror Ball, and you know the drama is going to come fast and fierce.
That's what makes it great right?
The night kicked off with a STELLAR group number, introducing us to our stars, but there was one notable omission:
Head judge Len Goodman was nowhere to be found, as it was reported that last season was his last as a permanent judge. Host Tom Bergeron noted that Len wouldn't be there for the season. As per usual, Erin Andrews was up top with the stars and their partners following the routines.
It was time to get things rolling though!!
1. Victor Espinoza with Karina - Salsa
Right off the bat in the video package, it was revealed that Victor's short term memory isn't the greatest. It was a lot of fun to kick off the show, but something was also very evident from their first number:
Victor's dance moves may be limited.
The routine seemed very safe, and his timing was really off. but the judges praised his energy and excitement. Maybe just starting things off being nice?
Victor and Karina received three 5's which Karina seemed okay with, while the audience let their boos be heard. Le's be real though: They didn't deserve anything higher.
15 out of 30
2. Tamar Braxton with Val - Quickstep
The current reigning champion isn't afraid to throw in the content!!!
Tamar and Val exploded onto the dance floor, and for their first routine, this was crazy good. Tamar may have had slight issue with her form, but damn does she know how to move her feet. The judges all praised the routine and said for week 1, this was exceptional. Bruno and Carrie Ann awarded them 8's while Julianne slipped in a 7.
23 out of 30
3. Chaka Khan with Keo - Cha Cha
She is absolutely the queen of funk, but unfortunately she won't be ruling this ballroom. From the opening beat, Chaka seemed completely out of her element, because the routine was almost non-existent. Chaka seemed lost in the number, with Keo trying his hardest to make up for it. Carrie Ann delivered another 5, but Julianne and Bruno took the scores lower with two 4's.
13 out of 30
4. Hayes Grier with Emma - Cha Cha
The youngest competitor of the season, who is too damn adorable, far exceeded my expectations with his first routine. He seemed very comfortable dancing, and the only critique the judges had was that he needed to be a tad sharper, and open his eyes.
Same scores across the board, with three 7's from the judges!!
21 out of 30
5. Andy Grammer with Allison - Foxtrot
Andy revealed in the video package that he signed up for the show to honor the memory of his mother. They floated across the stage during their foxtrot and Andy seemed very comfortable. The judges were, for the first time, disagreeing with one another. Julianne praised the routine while Carrie Ann missed a connection between the two. However, they all agreed on the scores of three 7's!
21 out of 30
6. Paula Deen with Louis - Quickstep
Truth be told, this wasn't as awful as I was expecting That's not to say I thought it was good, but it wasn't awful.
The judges hit the nail on the head with what yours truly was thinking: Paula's upper body seemed strong, but it felt like Louis was pulling her through the motions. She seemed extremely nervous, but that is something that can improve. Not sure what else to expect from her, if she makes it past next week.
And with three 5's, it could be difficult.
15 out of 30
The show got creative with introducing the next 2 stars, with it being the first married couple of the series:
7. Carlos PenaVega with Witney - Jive
Can we just say we disagree with the critiques?
This was AMAZING!! Carlos came alive once the music kicked in, with him and Witney appearing very natural together. Carlos really came across as a contender. Will Alexa be able to match her husband's moves?
Two 8's from Julianne and Carrie Ann and a shocking 7 from Bruno.
23 out of 30
8. Alexa-PenaVega with Mark - Jive
Oh HELL YES she did!!
Just like her husband, Alexa exploded onto the stage, with Alexa really showing what she is capable off. She carried herself with ease and a sex factor that no one else has shown tonight. Love this couple!!
Two 7's for Alexa....and an 8 from Bruno!
22 out of 30
9. Kim Zolciak-Biermann with Tony - Salsa
Well....the production was great.
Kim appeared incredibly nervous in the video package, and nothing really changed once she hit the dance floor. Carrie Ann was the first to call her out on just giving the bare minimum and that's really what it was. Kim let her nerves completely engulf her and she lost herself. Getting past week 1 is now done, so we'll see if she cane shake the nerves for next week.
They managed scores of three 4's which was the lowest of the night so far.
12 out of 30
10 - Bindi Irwin with Derek - Jive
Damn you Derek Hough...this was really good!!!
The recent Emmy winner and his pint sized Australian partner received the biggest ovation of the night and yours truly is gobsmacked.
I can't believe I just used that word.
It was, like Julianne said, the best performance of the night!!
Three 8's giving them the highest score of the night so far.24 out of 30
11. Gary Busey with Anna - Cha Cha
Those outfits were created JUST for Gary weren't they?
Okay, so this was terrifying to watch, but truthfully?
It wasn't the worst of the night. Gary appeared to be having a lot of fun with Anna and he actually moved his hips in rhythm with her. That is what I call a "surprise". Gary's personal life has been well documented over the years, so one had to wonder if he was up to this, but he was having a blast. Credit given where credit is due. It was by no means great (or good) but it was more than I expected.
Is that a positive critique?
Three 5's from the judges.
15 out of 30
12. Alek Skarlatos with Lindsay - Foxtrot
The American hero may have been the least known among the cast, but he made his presence known. He was a tad heavy footed when moving around the ballroom, but his holds and arms?
Alek has potential to be a pro.
I don't think anybody was prepared for what he was about to do, and he has definitely come into this to win.
Carrie Ann said it best, because nobody was expecting him and Lindsay to deliver one of the best dances of the night. Two 7's from Julianne and Bruno and an 8 from Carrie Ann!!
22 out of 30
13. Nick Carter with Sharna Burgess -Cha Cha
Backstreet Boy in the house!!
Nick showed off (some) of his iconic boy band moves, all the while keeping with the time of the routine and you know what?
It was really good!!
The judges awarded them three 8's and at the top of the leader board are Bindi/Derek and Nick/Sharna.
24 out of 30
Next Monday night, the competition returns with the first couple going home, followed on the Tuesday night, ANOTHER couple will!!
What did you guys think of the premiere of 'Dancing with the Stars'?