CLEVELAND - It’s a new season of “Dancing with the Stars” the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Or, maybe, we have. The show has never had an all-star season before, but we have seen all these stars compete before. Are you confused yet? Good, then let’s breakdown night one.
Season four semi-finalist, singer Joey Fatone, and partner Kym Johnson kick off season 15 with a cha cha. (I’m switching to present tense this season; it just reads better.) Joey is fluid and flirty, full of moves, even channels Michael Jackson. He keeps spinning Kym around, who looks like she needs to shave her entire body in a furry, flesh-colored jumpsuit. Judge Len Goodman says they need to watch their posture. Judge Bruno Tonioli notes some small tweaks. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba calls Joey a great showman. They get a 20.5.
That’s right – a half point. This season the judges are shaking everything up by giving out half points, too.
Next up, Olympian Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough do a foxtrot. With Derek, it’s no surprise this dance is highly choreographed and full of content. It’s also very physical, but the gymnast keeps up with it. Bruno says Shawn improved as a performer. Carrie Ann says this is what all-star season is all about. But Len doesn’t think it looked like a foxtrot. Score: 22.
Many thought singer Sabrina Bryan got robbed when she got booted from season five so early, but now she gets a second chance with Louis van Amstel. Their cha cha is very physical. She seems to be doing double-work because every movement still requires she keep her hips shimmying the whole time. Carrie Ann says Sabrina kicked the dance’s booty, but warns her not to over-dance. Len and Bruno felt it was clean, but Bruno thinks it could have been cleaner. They get a 22.5
Racecar driver Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower are up for a foxtrot. He’s turning up the charm almost as wide as his smile. Their dance is fun and fluid, but doesn’t seem to have a lot of content. Len points out a few missteps. Carrie Ann catches them on the content. They get a 21.5.
Helio tweeted, “Thanks for the support everyone, great start ,now we got to keep going...hopefully. Good job partner
@ chelsiehightowr u r awesome!”
Actress Pamela Anderson returns for a cha cha with Tristan MacManus. Right off, she looks a little unsure and is not as sharp as the others, but it’s undeniably sexy and charged (big surprise). Unless Pam shapes up quick, she’s in trouble this season. Bruno says there is not enough work for him to praise her. Len says it was like the training wheels fell off: a bit shaky but she didn’t fall over. They got the lowest score of the night, 17.
Pam tweeted, “I'm good with our dance. We connected emotionally -. I need to learn more--we all do- the heart doesnt lie.”
TV host Melissa Rycroft (TV host now – not just reality TV star!) gets paired up again with Tony Dovolani for a foxtrot. She instantly oozes more sexuality than Pam. Melissa looks in charge and slinky. My guess: being back with Tony was an instant boost of confidence. Carrie Ann calls her lines exquisite, but says she needs more body content. Len said it was too theatrical. After criticizing her frame, Bruno calls it excellent. Score: 21.
Melissa tweeted, “Thank you for all the great support!!!!! We hear all of you and absolutely appreciate your support!! We love you!
@ TonyDovolani .”
Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff tackled a cha cha. The lighting makes it a neon nightmare, but the dance is great. In fact, this LMFAO-inspired number is almost as fun as a season-ending freestyle. Karina’s choreography seems perfectly matched to Apolo’s energy. They do a lot of hip shaking, but after a while, the dance looks redundant. Len calls it a bronze medal. Bruno calls it great. Carrie Ann was virtually seduced by Apolos’ hip action. They nab a 22.
Actor Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd do a foxtrot that feels very old Hollywood. It suits him so perfectly, it’s like he’s cheating. He has some good moves and footwork. The judges like it; Carrie Ann just likes Gilles. They get the second highest score, 24.
Political offspring Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas bring out the cha cha. She instantly looks like a completely different person. Gone is the shy Bristol. Here is confident Bristol, so much more comfortable with her body. But the dance could use a little more content. Still, Carrie Ann votes her most improved. Len calls her far more confident. Bruno said it was all there. Mom Sarah is in the audience to cheer her on. Bristol gets a 19.5.
Singer Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya take on a foxtrot. His first moves look a bit awkward, but he shapes up pretty quickly. It has lots of content, and the routine moves all around the floor, but the foxtrot does not look like his dance. Len says it was too hard and hectic. Bruno loved how synchronized they were. Score: 21.5.