The Dancing with the Stars season 14 premiere hit our screens last night with all the glamour, sequins and Bruno Tonioli non-sequitors we know and love. Take a look at our full recap here in case you missed a moment. Or in case you just want to relive it all again, like I do each week.
The walk-in order was: Maria and Derek Jack and Anna Donald and Peta Gavin and Karina Roshon and Chelsie Sherri and Val Melissa and Maks William and Cheryl Martina and Tony Katherine and Mark Gladys and Tristan Jaleel and Kym And everyone was uber-excited, especially Brooke Burke Charvet. They had every right to be excited, because right off the bat we found out that there would be no elimination this week. Yay. Which means everyone will be around for at least a second dance. Double yay. Which also means there will be no results show tonight. Boooo!
Anyway, down to business and we found out that the walk-in order was unusually significant this week: it’s also the order in which our contestants will perform.
So, up first were Maria Menounos and Derek Hough dancing the cha-cha.
Maria made a dramatic entrance but after that seemed a little wooden. Len wanted to see a “little bit more hip action, little bit meaner hip” and so did I, but this is the first dance in the first week, and as Len said, that’s not easy. Bruno thought Maria was “so curvaceously delicious” and encouraged her to “open up the sex pot!” On prime time TV? Really? Anyway, Carrie Ann thought it was “a strong, solid cha-cha” although she wanted to see a more fluid transition between moves.
Scores: 7+7+7 = 21
Overall, not a bad beginning to the season.
Next up were Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya dancing the foxtrot.
They started on the ground which was possible not the best start, especially as their lying-down kicks didn’t match. But things improved when they got on their feet. Jack was actually quite elegant, I thought. Things started going better when they’re standing up. Jack actually pullsed off elegant without looking silly.
As Len was obliged to point out, Jack’s technique was poor, but I agree with the head judge that somehow despite that they managed to pull off quite a pleasant performance.
“The feel of the whole thing was uplifting and I enjoyed your performance,” Len added and I can see why that was, although I’m not quite sure I agreed with Bruno saying “Love is in the air! Beautifully acted, beautifully danced!” Carrie Ann was really impressed, though: “You just took me to a happy place! You can act, you can sing, and boy – you can dance!” she said.
Scores: 8+7+8 = 23
It was better than the first dance so the mark seemed fair.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd were on the dance floor next for their cha-cha-cha.
Donald began with a fake singing solo at the mic’ which I found very annoying, but once they started dancing, it was high energy and fun. It was also pretty darn fast and precise for the first week. Should football players be able to dance like this? Loving it!” Len liked the attitude and attack but warned Donald not to get too excited because that’s when he started to lose it a little bit. Good advice I hope he heeds.
“You really, I think, have the talent,” said Bruno but Carrie Ann brought us down to earth: “You are just nothing but charisma and charm for days!” she said. So far so good. But then she had to add in “I don’t know if there was a lot of cha-cha going on…”
Sooooo – having expected great scores at the start of the judges’ comments, we got: Scores: 7+7+7 = 21 Meh!
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff were next, dancing the foxtrot.
I have to admit that right from the start I enjoyed Gavin’s sarcasm: a great antidote for all the earnestness one usually sees on these reality TV shows these days. But unfortunately, it makes me fear that Gavin will get voted off pretty soon. He also made a dramatic opening but without much elegance, sadly. The foxtrot steps were conspicuous by their absence but he added some nice flair, I thought.
Len said he coped well with a difficult dance but was “a little bit stiff in your arms and in your legs.” Pretty much everywhere, then. Bruno, before being interrupted by a dirty joke from Gavin, told him to link the moves. Funny, I only liked his linking bits. But maybe that was his “great musical interpretation” that Carrie Ann appreciated.
Scores: 7+6+7 = 20
I appreciate that Gavin is clearly not the best dancer but this is an entertainment show too, so I hope he stays around a while, especially as Brooke doesn’t have a clue what to do with him.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower were up next dancing the cha-cha in a very disco style. There was even a moon walk: the first I think I have ever seen in a cha-cha-cha. It was obvios Roshon knows his way around a dance floor and Len hit the nail right on the head: “There’s no question you can dance” but “technically, the performance was very low.” Bruno was impressed, though, calling it “laser-sharp!” and “unbelievable!” “That’s the coolest spin I have seen in a cha-cha in all 14 seasons, said Carrie.
Scores: 8+7+8 = 23
If Roshon can dance this well I can’t wait to see what he does when given more technical steps.
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy danced the foxtrot and I thought it was surprisingly elegant. But I am looking forward to her dancing an energetic, funny routine. I think that is when she will really shine. As Len said, “What you brought was the joy of dance into this ballroom…Fun, fun, fun.” Bruno enjoyed it too, remarking how light on her feet Sherri was and that she had good timing. “Nice job” as Carrie Ann said. “You are the happiest contestant we have had ever!” I loved her.
Scores: 8+7+8 = 23 I’m bored with the 23 already. Can we have some differentiation, please?
Next up were the people I was most excited to see before the Dancing With The Stars 14 premiere began: Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy dancing the cha-cha-cha.
But what a hairstyle! It was right in Melissa’s eye as soon as she started dancing. That said, she seemed to do pretty well with the footwork, even though she was a little way behind Maksim. The judges didn’t really say much about the dancing. Len would have liked to see more shaping; Bruno thought she could certainly grind it and Carrie Ann wondered if nerves got the better of her on a difficult routine. I was disappointed.
Scores: 7+6+7 = 20
Hey, I know I said I was bored with the 23,but I didn’t want Melissa to get so much lower!
How would William Levy and Cheryl Burke cope Dancing the cha-cha? Pretty well, actually. I guess it helps William is easy on the eye and sexy on the dance floor.
Len said, “You performed it right on the edge, but you kept control” and Bruno predictably called William “the hottest package of the season” and told him to wear fewer clothes. Carrie Ann was just grateful for her job! But se managed to regain the power of coherent speech to praise his partnering skills and say she liked the way he moved. I did too.
Scores: 8+8+8 = 24 So it obviously helps with the scores to be hot, doesn’t it?
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani came next, dancing the foxtrot.
I knew Martina would still be athletic but I didn’t expect her to be as elegant as she was. Bruno remarked on that too, although the dance was “a little bit too careful” for Len. Maybe the showy cha-cha-chas have dazzled him.
Carrie Ann wanted Martina to work on her turns, which seemed like good constructive criticism but otherwise she said she was beautiful. So what was with the scores?
Scores: 7+6+7 = 20 Is this a dancing competition or a popularity contest?
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas came next, dancing the foxtrot.
She did well, but the performance was restrained and traditional. So it was kind of boring, I thought.
Len thought Katherine “had wonderful musicality” which you would expect from a classical singer. He liked the detail too and said it was “cracking.” Bruno called it exquisite! The style was impeccable”And then when Carrie Ann thought it was like watching two pros together…. Best first dance ever!” I knew I’d been mean and I too had been blinded by the showy dances.
Scores: 9+8+9 = 26 9s in week 1? Seriously? Wow. Not that it wasn’t an excellent dance. But still, wow. I’m excited, though, because I love Katherine.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus were up next, dancing the cha-cha-cha in a disco style again.
Gladys seemed to have most of the steps down but lacked hip action so it didn’t feel very Latin. But as Len said, “There’s a naturalness about your dance. It oozed rhythm.” It made Carrie want to get up and dance, which she did, and Bruno just called Gloria a star.
Scores: 8+7+8 = 23 (again!)
The final dance of the night was a foxtrot from Jaleel White and Kym Johnson.
It was another great job. “It had elegance, it had sophistication. Without doubt, this is the best first show of any season!” gushed head judge Len. “Smooth, smooth, smooth!” Carrie Ann called it and so it was.
Scores: 9+8+9 = 26
OK, so apparently everybody in Dancing with the Stars season 14 can dance. And they’re all back again next week! I can’t wait to see you then!
Here’s how the Judges’ Leaderboard looked by the end of the night (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total):
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 9, 8, 9: 26
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 9, 8, 9: 26
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 8, 8, 8: 24
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy: 8, 7, 8: 23
Jack Wagner and: Anna Trebunskaya: 8, 7, 8: 23
Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 8, 7, 8: 23
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus: 8, 7, 8: 23
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 7, 7, 7: 21
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 7, 7, 7: 21
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff: 7, 6, 7: 20
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani: 7, 6, 7: 20
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 7, 6, 7: 20
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the Dancing With The Stars Season 14 premiere? Who’s your early favorite? Who’s most likely to talk back to the judges (will Gavin make this a habit) next week? And who was overscored/underscored? You tell us!