Dancing with the Stars Recap: The Season Premiere of Season 13!

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Brand New Ballroom, Same Old Lack of Rise and Fall!

It's lucky season 13, and we are in a brand new DWtS ballroom, complete with balcony tiers and a raised stage. We also have a set of stars that lack a certain level of luminosity and quite a number of new pros, so I'll be curious to see how the ratings do this season.

Chaz Bono Dancing With the Stars

Courtesy of ABC

To the show's credit, they dove right in, and we were treated to a slew of Viennese waltzes and cha cha chas. Here's how it went down.

1. NBA Ron Artest and Peta (new pro) danced a cha cha cha

Ron Artest recently changed his name to Meta World Peace, and that kind of says it all. Well, actually, we also learned that his daughter Diamond survived cancer and chemo at age 4, so we pretty much have to like him now. As to his cha cha cha? As Len succinctly put it: It was entertaining but not enough substance. It is hard for these big tall guys, and it showed. He had flash, but I can't see him lasting long.

2. Rob Kardashian and Cheryl danced a Viennese waltz

Rob cuts a dashing figure, but he had NO rise and fall. And he was so stiff that his body managed to look scared, while he smiled blandly along. He'll need to step it up, too!

3. Kristin Cavallari and Mark danced a cha cha cha

As with Ron, lots of flash, but not too much cha cha. Here's my bigger beef: As per, oh, always, Mark makes himself look way too good. He adds so many flourishes that his partners (usually) just can't keep up with. You know what that does? It makes him look awesome and his partner look like they're trying to catch up or keep up! As for Kristin's part, she didn't quite keep up, but she has potential.

4. Chynna Phillips and Tony danced a Viennese waltz

Chynna did a really nice job. A little tentative, but unlike Mark, who likes to outshine his partners, Tony made it all about her, and made her look amazing.

5. Nancy Grace and Tristan (new pro) danced a cha cha cha

OK, I will give her this: She did throw herself into it. But her feet seemed to get lost on a regular basis, so the overall effect was uncontrolled and sloppy. But Nancy Grace. Dancing.

6. David Arquette and Kym danced a Viennese waltz

Aw, he did a nice job. And who's with me: I hope it's a good sign that Courtney Cox-Arquette was in the audience with their cute daughter Coco, and that those kids will work it out. This routine had lots of speed and grace. Yes, there were a few mis-steps, and it took him a while to smile, but it was surprisingly good. I'm rooting for him.

7. Elisabetta Canalis and Val (Maksim's brother) danced a cha cha cha

Hmm. I think Elisabetta may have trouble getting the audience to warm to her. We all may be just a teensy bit jealous of her years as George Clooney's arm candy. And on top of that: She's not very graceful. "Gawky" would be the word. Well, except she can do the splits ... which was unexpected. But that was about it. Note to her (newbie) pro Val: Don't have your Star do "acting" moments in the beginning if she can't actually act.

8. Hope Solo (soccer) and Maks danced a Viennese waltz

Yes, yes, it's so hilarious ... she's an athlete. Get it? She has muscles and can tease Maks about being a wimp. Ah, ha ha ha. Sigh. In the end, her performance was a little shaky, but basically on point. She should be fine for a while.

9. Carson Kressley and Anna danced a cha cha cha

Well, he certainly did have some moves like Jagger. Not that that's appropriate for the ballroom, but it was fun and energetic. But no, boy can't dance. Not yet anyway.

10. J.R. Martinez and Karina danced a Viennese waltz

OK, I'm calling it: J.R. is going to win Season 13. How can he not? Soap star ... and with the soaps being cancelled, their fans are on the warpath to support their favorite stars. Veteran with visible injuries and challenges. Nice guy. And, oh by the way: Lovely, lovely job. Put a fork in Season 13 of DWtS: It's done.

11. Ricki Lake and Derek danced a Viennese waltz

Ah, Ricki, my new BFF since she keynoted BlogHer '11 :) Ricki has a great smile and absolutely delivered the best emotional presence of any of the waltzers. I hope she's around a good long time. And gets that Kirstie Alley body transformation, if that's what she wants.

12. Chaz Bono and Lacey danced a cha cha cha

Well. Saving the most controversial for last, we have Chaz, and he acquitted himself pretty well. His bigger problem than his transgenderness will be his fitness -- he apparently hurts all over, and may not have the stamina to carry off a dance like the jive. As the judges pointed out he was definitely precise with his footwork, but he was pretty flaily with his upper body. I'm curious to see what happens tonight, but based on dancing, he should be safe.

Bottom line for the Bottom Three:

I think the bottom three should be: Elisabetta, Nancy and Ron with Elisabetta going home.

I think the bottom three will be: Elisabetta, Rob and Kristin, with Elisabetta, rightfully so, going home.

But what do you think?

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