DWTS All-Stars Recap: Week 1 – Dancing With Some Actual Stars!
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With much hype and fanfare, ABC once again turned on the lights in the ballroom to celebrate…Tom Bergeron’s Emmy win on Sunday! Oh, and also the premiere of the first All-Star season of DWTS! I give credit to the show for avoiding this stunt longer than just about any other reality competition show on the air. And I also applaud them for mostly choosing to cast worthy contenders! (But Top Chef’s All-Star season will be hard to beat in my mind for best all-star season of any show, ever.) Let’s get acquainted with the returning stars and their partners, and review their first dances of the season:
Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson (Season 4, 2nd Place) – Cha Cha Cha
Their cha-cha was a tribute to Michael Jackson (Mark must be fuming), set to “P.Y.T.” and Joey looked confident and in-charge. Kym practically burned out a few camera lenses with an outfit seemingly made entirely of gold Christmas tinsel (strategically draped, of course). As Joey was the first dancer, we were also introduced to the judges’ new scoring system, which now includes half-points in order to get more accurate results and fewer ties. Len, Carrie Ann and Bruno are back, with twice the paddles! Score: 6.5-7.0-7.0 = 20.5
(There was also a bit of bitchery on Carrie Ann’s part when she whined about Tom supposedly cutting her off as she was giving her critique. I’d have smacked her, but then I don’t have Tom’s class or grace.)
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough (Season 8, Winner) – Fox Trot
Shawn and new partner Derek got lots of mileage out of their height difference (she barely reaches her chin with her hair in a bun), and also got some mileage out of “Good Time” by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen. It’s energetic and upbeat, but Derek, who is known for getting clean, elegant lines out of his partners, may have a real challenge on his hands with Shawn’s petite-yet-rugged frame. Score: 8.0-6.5-7.5 = 22.0
Sabrina Bryan & Louis van Amstel (Season 5, non-finalist) - Cha Cha Cha
Viewer-voted All-Star Sabrina is back to prove she really was eliminated too soon in her season, and her aggressively perky moves during One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” prompts the judges to remark that her biggest problem this season won’t be sub-par dancing, it will be over-dancing well…or something. Score: 7.5-7.5-7.5 = 22.5
Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower (Season 5, Winner) – Fox Trot
Helio & Chelsie go ultra-traditional in black tie/tails and white gown, and deliver a joyous if slightly flawed traditional fox trot to Marvin Gaye’s “Pride and Joy.” Helio is still popular, charming, and ultra-light on his feet. Score: 7.0-7.5-7.0 = 21.5
Pamela Anderson & Tristan MacManus (Season 10, non-finalist) – Cha Cha Cha
Pamela wants to go farther than she did in Season 10 with Damien Whitewood (remember him?), but her angry cha cha to “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse had more than a few awkward moments. The judges were kind but honest. Score: 5.5-5.5-6.0 = 17.0
Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani (Season 8, 3rd Place) – Fox Trot
Reunited for this season, Melissa & Tony both want to erase their previous finish from memory and finally snatch that mirror ball trophy. Their dance to “Hey Big Spender” from Sweet Charity gives a nod to Bob Fosse, but unlike Fosse dancers, their bodies didn’t grind together much. Score: 7.0-7.0-7.0- = 21.0
Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff (Season 4, Winner) – Cha Cha Cha
New partners Anton & Karina look great on the floor, shaking their stuff to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” but it’s hard to forget the chemistry he had with former partner Julianne Hough. Carrie Ann declares that Anton has gotten “3,000 times more sexy.” Can’t argue with that… Score: 7.5-7.0-7.5 = 22.0
Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd (Season 8, 2nd Place) – Fox Trot
Gilles misses his old partner Cheryl, but seems to strike some instant chemistry with reigning pro champ Peta. Like Helio & Chelsie, they go ultra-traditional with a classic, fluid fox trot in formal wear to the pop standard “Call Me Irresponsible.” Seeing him dance again is a pleasure...even Len thought so! Score: 8.0-8.0-8.0 = 24.0
Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas (Season 11,3rd Place) – Cha Cha Cha
Bristol has a new face, new legs, and the same old hyperactive partner. Much is made of how less timid she seems this season, and her dancing, while unremarkable, is definitely more confident than anything she did two years ago. Oh, they danced to “Blow Me” by Pink. Oh, and Mark still gives himself too many solo moments. Score: 6.5-6.5-6.5 = 19.5
Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya (Season 2, Winner) – Fox Trot
Taskmaster Anna has her hands full with feisty mirror-baller Drew. They perform a good, textbook fox trot to ”Love Song” by Sara Bareilles, with surprisingly few sparks. Is the chemistry there for these two? Score: 7.0-7.0-7.5 = 21.5
Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovsky (Season 1, Winner) – Cha Cha Cha
Like Drew, former champ Kelly only had to endure a short 6-week competition – can they tough it in a season twice as long? Kelly & Val confidently strut their stuff to “Bang Bang” by Joe Cuba, and the judges bicker over how much to praise her. Score: 7.0-7.0-7.5 = 21.5
Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovsky (Season 12, 2nd Place) – Fox Trot
There’s no way Kirstie could have been paired with anyone else; these two are comedy gold together. And their fox trot to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” is full of their signature sass and grace. But this time, the judges will be harder on any imperfections in Kirstie’s dancing. Can they go the distance? Score: 6.5-6.0-6.5 = 19.0
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke (Season 3, Winner) – Cha Cha Cha
These reteamed champs are out to do it again, and they look like they still have the same magic. Their performance to Aretha Franklin’s classic “Chain of Fools” is equally classic. Score: 8.0-8.5-8.0 = 24.5
ABC pulled the wool over our eyes – they advertised a 2-hour results show, but it was really an hour of recap followed by an hour of results, like always. Bad network!
Entertainment-wise, some guy named Pitbull sang and rapped about partying, and Justin Bieber danced as if he had to pee. Good thing he was wearing rubber pants with a low crotch…
Here are the only interesting tidbits from the first hour:
Emmitt & Cheryl got the encore dance. The pros and troupe went wild on the floor to Jennifer Lopez’s “Dance Again,” and the troupe was featured in their own number as well. At some point in this endless show, we got some results:
- Pamela Anderson will (or wants to) perform on Broadway soon, most likely in Chicago. No official word from Broadway as of yet.
- Joey came close to vomiting or relieving himself at the thought of having the first dance of the season.
- Chelsie Hightower embarrassed herself with her complete lack of awareness of geography and history while Helio was trying to explain how Brazilians speak Portuguese.
- Derek never lets up with the short jokes at Shawn’s expense. This shouldn’t get old soon…
- During season 8, Shawn once accidentally knocked Mark out cold during a rehearsal. Wish I’d seen that, I’d still be playing it over and over to this day…
Shawn & Derek: Safe
Apolo & Karina: Safe
Bristol & Mark: In Jeopardy
Joey & Kym: Safe
Helio & Chelsie: Safe
Kelly & Val: Safe
Drew& Anna: In Jeopardy
Gilles & Peta: Safe
Emmitt & Cheryl: Safe
Sabrina & Louis: Safe*
(* Tom made a huge slip when he declared “You’re all safe!” when he was only addressing Emmitt & Gilles. Sabrina had a minor stroke waiting to hear that, yes, she actually was safe as well.)
Kirstie & Maks: Safe
Melissa & Tony: Safe
Pamela & Tristan: In Jeopardy
The three ‘jeopardized’ couples assemble, and with not much time left. Tom pronounces Bristol & Mark safe first, as 47% of the country throws shoes at the screen. Pam and a not-amused Drew descend the stairs (yeah, they still do this unfortunately), and Pamela, who seems to already know, is eliminated. We’ll miss ya, darling.
Bloated results show aside, this was a good start to what promises to be an epic season. Until next week...