"Dancing with the Stars" Recap: Season Premiere

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It's high-season for me and my reality TV talent show-loving self, as Dancing with the Stars kicks off while American Idol is still early days.

Led by the ever-droll Tom Bergeron, and the interchangeable hot brunette co-host, Dancing with the Stars rivals AI for size of viewership, and in my heart!

Last night's premiere episode will be followed by a second chance dance for each of the starting 11 couples...so no predictions yet. Let's just dig right in.

If you'd like to take a look before reading my thoughts, give the video below a watch and then dive in!

1. Chelsea Kane (Disney Channel star) and Mark danced a Foxtrot

Oh, yes, she has indeed done musical theatre...and I doubt it was just doing box steps. She knows how to perform; she knows how to point her toes and extend her arms. He knows how to choreograph something young and charming to match her appearance and personality. This was charming. Even if I don't know who she is.

2. Wendy Williams (talk show host) and Tony danced a Cha Cha

Wow, I felt her trying so hard and wanting it so bad. She's so brash and confident on her show, it was really endearing to see her vulnerability. That being said: Endearing didn't equal Excellence. This wasn't good, and she better step it up. And show that outgoing personality that is her bread and butter on her show.

3. Hines Ward (football wide receiver) and Kym danced a Foxtrot

Great job! Just count Hines as the next in a long line of burly football players who surprise us with their moves and musicality. He had great posture, a great smile...and great hips. He may not be quite the icon that an Emmitt Smith or Jerry Rice are, but I predict he'll do well.

4. Petra Nemcova (supermodel and tsunami survivor) and Dmitry danced a Foxtrot

I feel bad for Petra and the memories that must have been stirred up this past week. So much so that I'm not even going to comment (snarkily) on the idea that dedicating a Foxtrot to the people of Japan makes sense. "Don't Know Why" seems like more of a Rumba song to me, so this seemed a little sleepy for a Foxtrot. She did an acceptable job. She's got that gawky thing going on that you often see when supermodels compete on DWtS. Many of these dances are just harder for very tall or long-limbed people.

5. Romeo (rapper/actor) and Chelsea danced a Cha Cha

I think I have a girl crush on Chelsea. (And probably have since she was on SYTYCD.) Anyway, I was kind of mesmerized by her, but he seemed OK. He needs to loosen up those hips. What happened to all those moves, playa'?!

6. Sugar Ray Leonard (boxer) and Anna danced a Foxtrot

He lit up halfway through, during the side by side dancing. He seemed much more comfortable than in the dancing in hold.

7. Kendra Wilkinson (reality TV star) and Louis danced a Cha Cha

You might not think I'd like a gal from the Hefner Mansion (and the lame, icky reality TV show spawned from it), but I actually find Kendra kind of charming. She does indeed have some booty-shaking moves, but she has some potential to do better than just that. She just needs to be more grounded; I often feared Louis was going to just whip her off her feet. She definitely can get better and do well.

8. Ralph Macchio (actor) and Karina danced a Foxtrot

He's 49. Wow. I am old. That is all. Well, not all, because my second thought was: Who knew he was a ringer? He did a great job. I even looked it up to see if he had ever done some time as a third-string replacement in a Broadway show, thinking something had to explain the fact that he had great style and substance. Didn't find any record of it, but he was fantastic. Maybe I'll wait until next week, but I might just call it for Ralph right now!

9. Chris Jericho (wrestler) and Cheryl danced a Cha Cha

Aw, he's cute with the way he tries really hard. But this was a very very simple routine, done only barely adequately. So, the question is: Will he be the lesser-known guy that's not very good and goes right away? Or will he be the guy that inexplicably sticks along long after he should be gone because wrestling still has a big following of which I'm unaware?

10. Mike Catherwood (Loveline host) and Lacey danced a Foxtrot

OK, before I address anything else, I have to ask: What is up with her roots? She went all freakily blonde last season, and if she was re-thinking that decision, couldn't she just dye it back to her real color? Are we really going to watch it grow out? Anyway, now that I got that out of my system: He had really bad hands. And bad posture. However. He also has some potential because he's a natural performer and cuts a handsome figure on the floor. He oughta stay longer than Chris Jericho, that's all I'm saying.

11. Kirstie Alley (actress) and Maks danced a Cha Cha

She's 60. Wow. I am old. She did a good job actually. She moved quickly, had a spark. OK, she occasionally missed some of her footwork, but she did herself proud. And it wasn't all about making fun of herself, which I kinda hate.

So. Any early favorites for you?

I liked Chelsea, Hines and Ralph the best, and saw potential in Sugar Ray and Kendra.

How about you?

Elisa Camahort Page
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