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Welcome to season 57 of DWTS! By the time I'm done recounting the dancing mishaps of all 73 couples who will be dancing on the season premiere of Dancing you will have spent six pleasurable hours away from the current pains of every day life. I promise not to mention the stock market, billions of your tax dollars going to waste or the election even once in my recap. If I learned something from last season – and the season before that, and the one before that – I know that copious amounts of strong alcoholic beverages are always recommended while dealing with this show. If the inane banter between returning hosts Tom “Lame Jokes” Bergeron and Samantha “I Can Only Read From Cue Cards” Harris don't drive me into the welcoming arms of a large bottle of vodka, then it will be the judges' patronizing comments, haphazard scoring or Bruno's exhausting use of painfully overwrought metaphors. As for the real dancing... most of it occurs on Results night when the pros put on a number or two.
But far be it from me to dampen your enthusiasm for the new season, I'm just trying to lower expectations here and hoping to distract you. The horrifying truth is that the first half of the premiere was a two hour long show; it contained about forty five minutes worth of filler in the form of studio rehearsals, another half an hour of filler in the form of stupid banter between the two hosts, between the three judges, between the hosts and the judges and between the contestants, the hosts and the judges. A full thirty minutes was wasted on commercials for everything from ED medication, to bowel regulating yogurt to weird foam moisturizer that promises to make you look at least one week younger with six months of continuous use. That left about fifteen minutes for the actual performances and if I were a merciful sort of person I'd just give it all to you in two concise paragraphs, but where would the fun be in that? Lest you think you'll be in the clear after this recap, think again. Part two of the premiere drops Tuesday night together with the results. And looks like there's even a third night, because third time's the charm.
My partner in crime this time around will be Mother Sister who has generously agreed to buy at least half of all the hard liquor and tranquilizers we'll need through the end of the season. Let's get to it.
Find yourself a comfortable place on a cushy sofa.
Now if you've seen this show before, you'd know that usually a big production opens the action, perhaps some silly banter, and other hoopla as well that I can't remember just now. This time around it's one brief roundup of all 73 – oh, okay, only 13 – couples, and the dancing kicks into gear right away. Personally, I like this format a lot. I like anything that cuts the fat and I'm sure they save a whole hour just by skipping the introductory niceties. That means I may actually be done with this recap before it's time for all of us to retire to a nursing home. All the couples will be dancing two dances this first week as well, no more mollycoddling of lazy celebrities.
Tonight's dances are the Foxtrot and the Cha Cha and first up to do his magic is Cody Linley. Who is Cody Linley? I have absolutely no earthly idea, but he's here and he's partnered by Julianne Hough. Oh, wait! It looks like this 12 year old looking boy is on the Hannah Montana show. That explains why I've never heard of him. They're also the youngest couple ever to be on Dacing. Yay, I'm so excited about that. After the initial niceties and the customary studio time in which Cody mostly excels in staring at Julianne's ass, we move straight to their Cha Cha routine. Too bad it wasn't to a Hannah Montana song, or little Cody might have done better, as it is, it was a barely passable display. Cody acting sexy with Julianne ranks right up there with the top ten things I'd rather not watch again. Ever. Len moans about too much energy, Bruno salivates about too many dirty thoughts and Carrie gripes about their ages, while their scores of 6 all round, for a total of 18 points, reflect the judges' dissatisfaction.
You may know Rocco DiSpirito as a great chef, but I bet you had no idea that he had shiny mirror ball aspirations. Helping him along, or hindering him, depending on your point of view, will be Karina Smirnoff who twisted her ankle in rehearsal but will be dancing anyway. What a trooper! Rocco, with two left feet and no clear idea why he's even on the show – that makes two of us – wishes he could just cook up a fabulous meal to buy goodwill from the judges. Alas, he needs to get through a Foxtrot instead, which is only partly working. His dancing is neither quite as stiff as whipped egg whites, nor as limp as an overcooked bowl of linguine. Karina, not quite as naked as she'd be for a Latin dance, does a good job of dancing for two, and in the end the judges are not terribly impressed. Bruno calls it chaos, Carrie terms it cute and Len detected a complete lack of finesse. They earn 5-4-5 for a low total of 14 points. This gives me faith that the judging will be somewhat sane this season.
We might be here all night.
Toni Braxton got lucky this season and got Alec Mazo as her partner and despite her well-publicized heart condition, she just wants to do her thing. Don't they all, don't they all. She claims she can't dance but rehearsals look quite smooth to me. Their Cha Cha is serviceable, although Toni's posture is weird. Carrie is impressed that Toni took a chance and loved it, Len raves about their choreography and Bruno throws out something about how sexy and sultry Toni is. He is also pleased. They're all pleased to the tune of 7-7-8 for a total of 22 points.
As much as Dancing loves a nobody or two, it likes Olympic champions even more and Maurice Green is one of the greats. Can he dance? It probably doesn't matter since he's paired with Cheryl Burke who will gladly do all his dancing for him. They rehearse for the Foxtrot trying to keep Maurice from constantly staring at the floor. I'm assuming he was told that there are going to be no white lines painted on the dance floor. Although judging by his moves, he may need them. I'm sure we've seen worse dancing and Maurice is at least as bad as 90% of Cheryl's past partners. Len was delighted, Bruno loved his presence but has issues with Maurice's technique while Carrie saw hotness among all the non-Foxtrot moves, but she also saw stiffness in his glide. Their scores are all 6s for a total of 18 points.
Quadruple mother Brooke Burke – who knew! - is only six months away from last giving birth and looking like she's never had as much as an extra cookie after lunch in her whole life. Paired with Derek Hough, they look like to vertically challenged teenagers. Brooke has good lines and posture but her problem is memorizing steps. That and the tiny matter of her fear of dancing in front of millions. Their Cha Cha doesn't cover a lot of dance floor territory, but it does manage to showcase Brooke's hips which are conveniently put on display courtesy of the wardrobe department. And she's got rhythm, which is more that can be said about most of these people. Carrie gushes about “supermom” Burke who can twist her upper body unlike other models before her. Bruno heaps more praise on her hips while Len just calls it “best dance so far”. They net 7-8-8 for a total of 23 points.
And perhaps a whole day after that.
Married With Children alum Ted McGinley is our next faded celeb in the lineup. He is paired with new pro-on-the-block Inna Brayer. Ted claims to be a stand-in for the man's man, the beer swigging regular Joe who is wedded to his remote and Monday night football's many manly delights. In other words, he's completely lacking in talent and can't imagine why he's on the show. That seems like a recurring theme this season although I can't understand the confusion. They're in it for the money! What else? Their Foxtrot does a good job of persuading everybody that Ted can't move worth damn. Still it's a lovely bit, with Inna's pink dress flowing attractively around them as she does her best to keep Ted from stepping on her toes. Bruno throws out faint praise, likening him in turns to Cary Grant and Steve Carell. Len thought he had good footwork and elegance. Carrie sensed he was nervous but sees potential. Despite the praise, their scores are all 6s for a total of 18 points.
Continuing in the time honored tradition of faded 'Nsync group members trying their luck on Dancing, Lance Bass throws his hat in the ring knowing full well that he was the worst dancer of the 'Nsync bunch. Lucky for him, another newbie is ready to guide him along. Lacey Schwimmer's angle is that she is “edgy” and different as evidenced by the Flashdance era boatneck top she's wearing, hair dyed red and black and her fondness for flashing rock horns. 'Cause that's all it takes to be “edgy”! However, she claims to be a “freakish 'Nsync fan”. Talk about a living oxymoron. Lance says chemistry is the most important part of a dancing partnership. Well, that and the ability to dance, but let's not nitpick. They put on a decent Cha Cha, if you disregard the fact that they danced to Jumpin' Jack Flash, that Lacey was wearing flat pirate boots, a slashed black sequined dress with bits of blue and pink feathers hanging off it and generally the fact that what passes for edgy on ABC would have elicited loud guffaws of contempt at any decent rock concert back in the 90s. It still would in fact. Len says they did well, except for the whole young and modern part; Carrie saw hotness and great movement while Bruno thoguht it was “edgy, spanky [and] tight”, calling it a “Cha Cha Cha for now”. Oy. The gushing translates into scores of 8-6-8 for a total of 22 points.
Hang in there! I told you this is a marathon not a sprint.
Tired of all that pretend edge? Well, Dancing's got a reprieve for you in the contestant who is the living antithesis of edgy. Cloris Leachman best known for being older than even John McCain – oh, bummer, I broke my promise! - nearly breaks the age-o-meter with her partner Corky Ballas, best known for fathering Mark Ballas. At a combined age of 129 years old they predate Einstein, the Titanic, sliced bread and indoor plumbing. Not surprisingly, their dance is the Foxtrot and it's got more trot than fox, although Cloris' neckline and side-split dress are a slightly scary distraction. I fast forwarded through their performance to watch it at the normal Foxtrot speed and I must say that did improve the picture. A standing ovation follows their effort, but the shenanigans are far from over. As Bruno praises her Ovaltine-fueled bravado, Cloris props her leg up on the judges' table to everyone's delight, or horror, depending on the resolution of your TV screen. She then kneels before Len in prayer, who thought she acted well but cautions her about her abundant cleavage, declaring that he'd gladly be her boytoy. I should have remembered to mute my TV. Damn. Carrie, gushing about her grace, takes pity on the old lady and offers her a chair, even as Cloris picks to sit in Carri's lap instead. While the entertainment factor was high, the scores are more in line with the performance at 6-5-5 for a total of 16 points. Which probably means they'll be around for another 10 episodes. None of the bad ones ever get voted off early; it's a Dancing law.
Now that the nursing home vote has been thoroughly courted, we move on to the I-don't-know-who-that-guy-is-but-I-may-vote-for-him constituency. Representing for that segment of the population is Jeffrey Ross who is apparently a comedian. I'll take their word for it. Sadly he is partnered with Edyta Sliwinska. I say sadly because this can only mean that Edyta won't be long for this season. Jeffrey got off on the wrong foot as well when Edyta nearly poked his eye out in rehearsal before the show. He is dancing against doctor's orders and despite the fact that rehearsals reveal that he can't dance his way out of a paper bag. Still, they soldier on with an anemic Cha Cha which makes me sad again for Edyta. Carrie says his form was bad and his musicality was non-existent. Bruno is less polite calling the whole thing an “ungainly carnage” prompting Jeffrey to pull a Cloris with his leg up on the table. Len says he is a winner just for showing up. I'm glad they're getting tough with the also-rans but couldn't they have displayed this much honesty, say, two season back when that freak show, Marie Osmond was on? Hmm? We might have been spared that horrible doll dance. I'm just sayin'. Their scores are a dismal array of 4s for a paltry total of 12 points. Not even the prospect of a season-full of Edyta's skimpy costumes can save this couple.
I beg you! Here, take two Tylenol and relax.
Speaking of dismal, next up is Kim Kardashian, best known for having an ass bigger than Jlo's. Looks like the requirements for being on this show are unduly low: you either have to be a faded celeb, a sports star or somebody nobody wants to see. But then, we knew that already, didn't we? She got lucky with Mark Ballas as her partner, who wants to win again this season. Kim apparently has balance problems. I can't imagine why. Rehearsal is mostly an exercise in keeping Kim from falling over. As for their Foxtrot? Propped up by a prop fan, the Pink Panther theme and Mark's smooth moves, they muddle through quite decently aside from Kim being a bit detached. Len liked the musicality but detected a coldness and lack of involvement. Bruno calls her a “dusky beauty” but wants her to be more available. He wanted to connect but couldn't. Of course not. Carrie liked her moves but says her weakness is that she can't coordinate between her head and her body. Nobody's perfect! Their scores are 6-7-6 for a total of 19 points.
Perennial bridesmaid and one time bride of Emmy, Susan Lucci is ready to conquer the world of dance. Hopefully it won't take her a dozen tries to do so. Partnered with Toni Dovolani, I think she has a good chance of making it almost as far as Cloris Leachman will. He wants her to bring the diva to their Cha Cha Cha, but she says that's just an act and she's scared. Theirs is a halting, tentative Cha Cha, slow and clunky, kept together mostly by Toni's expertise and Susan's short red dress in which she looks fabulous. Bruno admired her ladylike ways, but wished she were more of a slut and had more precision. Carrie thinks women are envious of her, but suggests she gain some weight to keep up with the demands of dancing. Ouch! Len thinks it was a careful and precise dance – precise? - and thinks she can do better with the Quickstep tomorrow. They earn all 5s for a total of 15 points.
I'm sorry. I swear we're almost there.
Winner of the Dancing partner lottery this time around is Misty May Treanor, gold medal winning Olympian and jock, who has never danced before. She is paired with the returning Maksim Chmerkovskiy, giving her the best chance to coast by on Maks' looks and talent. Rehearsal brings back the old Maks who bemoans Misty's muscles – shockingly bigger than his, her lack of posture and general jockishness. Misty knows she has some shoulders to overcome but is determined to be more graceful and ladylike. Their Foxtrot glides along quite well, and it's nice to see Maks in action once more. Carrie wants her to find a more ladylike edge. Len thought she was plenty elegant and did a good job, Bruno wants her to not overdo it and watch her turns. They earn 6-8-7 for a total of 21 points.
The last couple to dance tonight is Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson. Seems like his nickname is quarterback killer but can he kill on the dance floor? Kym thinks he can move and is light on his feet. Warren likes the Cha Cha because its all footwork and footwork agrees with him. Rehearsal is not bad at all and their performance, while by no means masterful, is no worse than that of previous football stars who have been on the show. That might not be saying much but there's some potential in Warren, albeit limited by his size and tendency to look down at his feet. Len terms him a big bundle of joy who had fun. Carrie thinks he was cute and fun, and liked his transition. Bruno says “big boys can dance” and felt he kept up with Kym quite well. Their scores are all 7s for a total of 21 points.
Finally we're done!
It's the end of the world as we know it, er, I mean the end of this show here but don't worry, there's more pain in store for all of us. Night two of the premiere will hit like a freight train with the Quickstep and the Mambo Tuesday night and by Wednesday we'll be two couples short. MotherSister will brave the second wave of horror on the dance floor, and I'll be back to report on Wednesday's festivities. I recommend you avoid sequin and bead poisoning by catching the recaps instead of the shows. The inevitable weight gain after prolonged sessions on your couch can be dealt with by watching The Biggest Loser or not eating.
Remember to avoid operating heavy machinery or driving a motor vehicle after either watching DWTS or reading about it. I want you to be ready and able for next week!