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It’s like the first day back at school after summer vacation; all the anticipation of meeting old friends (or enemies) finding out who will be sitting next to you in homeroom, opening a brand new package of pencils, and waiting for the first bell. Meet our new friends, THE CAST OF DANCING WITH THE STARS SEASON 12!
Sunbeams part the BBC clouds and we hear Tom’s voice for the first time this season, “You survived the long, cold winter and now you deserve DANCING! 184.108.40.206…."
The Pro dancers/teachers and the Stars make their first descent down the introduction stairs with nary a trip. Tom waxes on about the most diverse cast ever and then moves into the first introduction package for –
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas Foxtrot
Chelsea is known from the Disney Channel and was home schooled so she never had that “boy” dance. She has done musical theater and learned some box type steps for chorus work, but Mark says that doesn’t count.
Mark: I had a lot of fun teaching Chelsea – she has a sense of humor, she’s young and she’s cute.
They share laughs in the rehearsal package as she tries to get the steps down.
The first dance of the season is a Production. Large artificial flowers in boxes sit on the upper stage probably representing a spring meadow with Chelsea and Mark as the young lovers lying among them, I think. This is sort of born out as the dance ends with them lying on the floor covered in a giant sunflower light. Mark brings the choreography up to a tempo that has him jumping up and down during the second half.
Tom: Mark – great start to season 12.
Len: Well you’re a young fresh couple and I thought that routine had a young, fresh hip appeal to it. Half of it was Peter, Paul and Mary (maybe he meant hippie rather than hip) but suddenly it turned into the Black Eyed Peas (oh, hip as in Mark jumping up and down.) That bit I wasn’t so keen on it. Overall, I thought you did a very good job.
Bruno: Chelsea, my darling. You started on your back you ended on your back; in the middle…one and a half minutes of pure afterglow. You have a lot of talent. What you have to do, though, is extend you line.
Carrie Ann: You have a lot of potential. Your moves are beautiful; your pictures are gorgeous; you’re strong. I see the youth and elegance, but watch your hold and your line. Just connect it a little more.
Carrie Ann 7 Len 7 Bruno 7
Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani Cha-Cha
“How do you do? I’m Wendy Williams. I’m a mother, a wife, a talk show host and an author. All my life I’ve been told too much, too loud, too fast; so I think Dancing with the Stars is perfect for me.”
When Wendy meets Tony (with the world class smile) she doesn’t recognize him, but she is ready to learn. However, stress overtakes her confidence in learning the steps and we see our first tears of the season.
Unfortunately, stress put on her dancing shoes and, with Tony cutting the song’s beat in half for the dance, she barely moves on the dance floor. Thank goodness she wears a short layered skirt because, when she does move her hips, it bounces.
Bruno: Wendy, you are a sumptuous, gorgeous woman, but why are you marking? I know you’ve got fire…personality – show it to me.
Carrie Ann: I saw real fear in your eyes before coming out here, and that is what the show is about…facing your fears. You need to go way more – you need to unleash the beast.
Len: I looked at you, I went – here we go…loud and proud. You have to bring your personality out on this floor, and you didn’t. It was introverted, it was quiet, it was timid. Next week you need to come out and really sell it.
Carrie Ann 5 Len 4 Bruno 5
Wendy (in the celebriquarium): This is definitely a process for those who don’t know how to do it.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson Cha-Cha
“I’m Hines Ward #86 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and a two time champion, and a Super Bowl MVP. I don’t do touch down dances because first I can’t really dance. I want to do Dancing with the Stars this year because coming off the Super Bowl loss, I want to snatch that mirror ball and take it to the crib.”
By the end of their rehearsals, he declares that he feels like a dancer.
Smiling large the whole dance, he shows the beginning of some hip action and has a good musicality. I am, however, distracted by the long clump of fringe trailing off of Kym’s costume.
Carrie Ann: Who knew under all that football gear was all of that! That was the sparkliest Cha-Cha I’ve ever seen and it had nothing to do with the glitter. You are exuberant and your smile lights up the whole space. You were in control. Good job, great.
Len: You continue the tradition of footballers being able to dance. It was clean, it was crisp, you were confident. You’ve gotta work on your posture, get cleaner feet for your Quickstep, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Good job, well done.
Bruno: So nimble, so light footed. The timing was excellent. You really have natural performance power. You need to work on the posture. I know you can have better hip action. (He demonstrates how to be a piston and freaks out Len.)
Carrie Ann 7 Len 7 Bruno 7
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin Foxtrot
“I’m Petra Nemcova, supermodel and hopefully dancer, soon. I have decided to do Dancing with the Stars because I want to live life meaningfully and hopefully with lots of love.”
Petra was badly injured in the 2004 Tsunami when her pelvis broke in four places. Her flexibility, especially in the pelvic area, is very bad, but doing the stretching exercises is helping her fluidity.
Dmitry: Petra is very determined and I’m sure she will not let any physical challenges limit her.
She dedicates this dance to everyone who has been impacted by the Japan earthquake and Tsunami.
In billowing lilac, she finds the flow of the rise and fall, but perhaps too much rise in a foot in a low twirl.
Len: The whole routine had a charm about it, the movement was very good thoughout the dance. Work a little bit more on your posture, especially in hold; and I’m a little concerned next week when you’re doing the Jive, which is a real tough dance for tall people. But, well done. It was a charming dance.
Bruno: Actually there were some moments of extreme beauty. Sometimes when you hit a position in a line, you need more core strength.
Carrie Ann: You are absolutely stunning. You bring a natural grace from the inside and it’s truly breath taking…BUT…(we hear from the lift police on the long drag twirl)…BUT…no ding because it is the first episode. Everyone gets a pass tonight.
Carrie Ann 6 Len 6 Bruno 6
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower Cha-Cha
Romeo was supposed to dance in season 2, but couldn’t because of a tweaked ankle, so his dad, Master P, stepped in. Now he is back to redeem the family name.
Chelsie: It’s all about the booty.
Romeo: If I can move my hips better than Rhianna, it’s a problem.
Once on the floor his booty doesn’t prove to be quite licious, but he does very well with the stand and hold sections.
Tom: You did more dancing in 90 seconds than your dad did in four weeks.
Bruno: (goes all dramatic cliché) Oh, Romeo, Romeo, etc. So vibrant, so playful, so energetic; a very good performance if you did it on your toes. You were flat footed; you lost it a couple of times. Keep working hard, but don’t get into hip hop shoulder moves because Len doesn’t like it.
Carrie Ann: There was so much testosterone on the floor, whoo hoo. The dance is about sexual energy and it was definitely going on; you nailed that, but you didn’t nail your posture – you tend to hump forward.
Len: You’ve got plenty of energy. You came out and really attacked the dance; but because you did that, it was all a bit casual. You’ve gotta work on technique. The performance side you nailed.
Carrie Ann 7 Len 6 Bruno 6
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunsakaya Foxtrot
“I’m Sugar Ray Leonard. I’m a boxing legend. I want to total this competition. Bring it on.”
Sugar Ray: Inside the ring I could dance, I know what to do. Outside the ring, I’m a disaster.
Anna: In dancing he has to stay unprotected.
Sugar Ray: I’m making a comeback, but this time on the dance floor.
A reluctant Sugar Ray is enticed out of an audience seat and onto the floor by Anna. It is unfortunate that he throws in a leaping heel click and a hip hop knee wobble to the heavy beat of an R&B track, because he does try with exaggerated heel toe movement.
Carrie Ann: You reminded me at moments of Ben Vereen; but, posture, posture, posture, please.
Len: Lovely to be in the company of a fellow athlete. Foxtrot is fine wine and caviar; this was beer and a pizza. The energy and performance level were high, the dancing level, unfortunately, was low.
Bruno: Sugar…can I call you Sugar? (yes) Out of hold, sugar and spice and all things nice; you were really giving it. In hold, you turn into a Ninja Turtle. (Bruno demonstrates by curling his back forward.)
Carrie Ann 6 Len 5 Bruno 6
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis van Amstel Cha-Cha
“I’m Kendra Wilkinson and I’m a Reality Star. I describe myself as a tomboy, but a sexy tomboy. Being part of The Girls Next Door and living at the Playboy Mansion was a lot of fun, but now I am a wife and a mom. I’m here to turn all those years of club dancing into elegant ballroom dancing.”
Kendra: This proper dancing is so much harder than I thought it would be. I have trained so hard and this first Cha-Cha is going to be classy hot.
She comes out shaking her fringe, though her nerves show in a bit of stiff leg.
Len: You had my attention right from the beginning, not all for the right reasons, but you did. The content of the routine was fantastic, but you’ve gotta work from the waist down. You legs – you never straightened your legs. Try to straighten them to get a really good hip action; but very entertaining, well done.
Bruno: You can definitely strut your stuff, my darling; a full frontal attack. But, it is not clean when you bend your leg all the time. You need to stretch the back of your leg. (Kendra: not easy to do in four inch heels.)
Carrie Ann: Kendra, I love your spunk, you attacked every move. That was hard choreography and I don’t think you missed a step, for which I give you a lot of credit.
Carrie Ann 6 Len 6 Bruno 6
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff Foxtrot
“Wax on, wax off…remember that? That’s me, Ralph Macchio aka The Karate Kid. I used to have a mirror ball, but I lost it. I figured go on Dancing with the Stars, get the Mirror Ball and then my mantel will be complete.”
Karina: When Ralph first walked through the door I knew exactly who he was because he looked exactly the same.
Ralph: Don’t let the face fool you, the working parts are a lot older. I knew dancing would be hard on my 49 year old body, but it gave my brain a work out as well.
Karina: Over analysis creates paralysis.
Ralph: If I can make it through this Foxtrot without thinking too hard or throwing my back out, it will be a success.
Fred Astaire lives – or somewhat close to it. This is classic Foxtrot music which makes for a classic Foxtrot routine, and it receives a standing ovation from the audience.
Bruno: Ralph – I got the feeling that you’re a hit; great showmanship. You did a fantastic routine (to Karina.) Watch your hand, though, because sometimes it is very weird…and watch your feet when you kick.
Carrie Ann: That was just an amazing surprise. That was truly gorgeous. That just shocked me that you have such elegance in your hold. Yes, a little wavy on the hands.
Len: You dance. You’ve got great potential. A bit rough around the edges; I loved the music, I loved the dancing. It’s the best Foxtrot tonight – well done.
Carrie Ann 8 Len 8 Bruno 8
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke Cha-Cha
“I’m Chris Jericho and I’ve held 29 Championships in the WWE and now I’m ready to dominate Dancing with the Stars. It’s not that much of a difference between wrestling and dancing – it’s all about performance. I’m here to get the job done and win this d*** thing.”
Chris: I expected dance to be hard, but it is way more difficult than I imagined.
Cheryl: The biggest challenge with Chris is his body. He is so muscular that sometimes he looks like he doesn’t have a neck; so he really needs to make sure he stand up straight.
Rock n’ Roll Cha-Cha in leather where Chris rips off his sleeves to show arm muscles. He poses a lot, but has some good footwork.
Carrie Ann: It was kind of like a Chippendale Cha-Cha where you took off pieces. You have this power when you dance and you nailed every move. I love how you attack everything and you didn’t miss anything. I’m confused because it was really, really good, but I think you need to put a little more content in your dance (to Cheryl.)
Len: I think your hips are allergic to music. I liked the energy; I liked the fun of it. You know you’re a great big boy (snickers which confuses Len) and you came out and did well.
Bruno: Chris – the dancing beast. I haven’t had so much fun with leather in 11 seasons. It was sometimes unsteady and messy, but always entertaining.
Carrie Ann 7 Len 6 Bruno 6
Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer Foxtrot
“I’m Mike Catherwood. Those who know my voice know me as psycho Mike. I host an advice show with Dr. Drew Pinsky called Loveline. What I lack in ability to dance I make up for by being the least well known person on the cast; so I’m in a good way.”
Lacey: Remember…dancing is just walking.
Mike: Dancing is just walking, except not at all. I’m very scared and this is an embarrassing situation.
Fred Astaire may continue to rest in peace with his laurels intact. Mike isn’t even in the running with no grace under fire.
Len: Well, Mike – dancing is movement to music. You did move and there was music, but there was very little dance quality…but…you’ve got a chance to redeem yourself next week. You’ve got to come back with a good Jive; otherwise, it’s the Blvd. of Broken Dreams – so get on with it.
Bruno: The Foxtrot is a smooth dance, it should glide. It should flow. It was slightly ungainly and uncoordinated.
Carrie Ann: I think you are a little hard on him. Yes, it was jerky. Obviously you (Mike) don’t have a lot of dance experience, but you kept up. I say good effort and I would like you to work a little harder on your Jive.
Carrie Ann 5 Len 4 Bruno 4
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy Cha-Cha
“I’m Kirstie Alley and I’m best known for doing comedy like, Look Who’s Talking, or Cheers. I’m doing this as a challenge, to just see how far I can push myself physically and still live.”
Maks: For 60, she looks very good.
Kirstie: I’ve gotta learn how to bend. My biggest challenge is to move quickly enough. Someone told me that to haul a** it would take two trips.
She hauls a** taking her hips and feet along for a fun, Cha-Cha ride.
Bruno (in cat mode) Kirrrrstie, I like what I see. You were dancing and I feel we’re just scraaatching at the surface of what you can do. Because I’m telling you, your foot placement in the Cha-Cha was the best of the night.
Carrie Ann: Wait…are you over “40”? Then, honey, you are working it. That was refined, it was musical, it had sizzle. Thank you – way to go.
Len: I liked the feeling of the dance. It was fun, it was cheeky, and it was entertaining and just made me feel good. You looked as though you felt good doing it. We all enjoyed it. Well done.
Carrie Ann 8 Len 7 Bruno 8
Judges Totals for the Premiere section of a two show competition before a good-bye:
Sugar Ray/Anna 17
Tune in next Monday for Part Two of voting before the first elimination next Tuesday when MFWalkoff will give us the scoop.