”Dancing With the Stars”: Back on its feet
The wait is over. Strike up the Harold Wheeler Orchestra! Dancing With the Stars is back, and Tom Bergeron was right: We did miss it. I missed the little things. The low-quality fireworks graphics. The way the announcer robot says ”Carrie Ann Inaaaba!” The deep sense of awe one feels while wondering how those shingle-style, backless-except-for-a-nylon-string dresses ever stay on.
I didn’t much miss the hosts. Did anyone else get a little weirded out at how earnestly Samantha Harris kept begging viewers to vote? I can understand a friendly ”Vote!” or ”Please vote” or ”Why don’t you vote now?” but she kept saying things like ”You’ve got the power,” ”Pick up the phone and be part of the competition,” and ”Let your fingers do the dancing on the phone.” She eventually became almost threatening: ”Are you picking up what I’m putting down?” I’m pretty sure we had to, and I’m certain that Sam could moonlight as a recruiter for an up-and-coming cult. At one point, she even told us to ”get off the couch,” which didn’t even make sense. People were probably sitting there holding their cell phones, on their couches, wondering, Why can’t I just vote from here?
During the two-hour premiere, we met 11 different couples. Here they are, in order of how the judges scored them (out of 30 possible points):
Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff (26) Their rehearsal footage was edited to make it seem like Mario’s ”attention span of, like, a gnat” would hinder the pair on the dance floor. Ha! We’re so gullible. All we really should have taken from those clips is that even though he’s hot, Mario is annoying.
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke (24) I originally thought it was unfair to pair last season’s winner with the popular football guy, but these two are perfect together, and possibly the most likable (and competitive) of the bunch. ”Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” indeed.
Willa Ford and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (22) Willa seemed so normal and unaffected, it almost made me glad she wasn’t famous enough for me to have known who she was already. Loved her. Loved the dress. Missed Maksim’s butt. I’m guessing they’ll go far.
Vivica A. Fox and Nick Kosovich (22) Viv’s outfit and makeup were just a touch too drag queen (think The Little Mermaid’s Ursula, minus tentacles, plus flower), but two of the three judges claimed she knew how to ”sell a performance.” It was either that or get their asses kicked.
Joey Lawrence and Edyta Sliwinska (21) Omigod, a well-oiled skinhead on steroids ate Joey Lawrence! Just kidding. He was only totally freaky until he started talking, and then everything was okay again…as long as you didn’t focus on the eyebrows. Whoa! Perhaps Joey would have scored higher if not for his stripper-casual dress code for his cha-cha — a sleeveless vest, boating trousers, and a red leather belt that conveniently doubled as a flailing phallic symbol when it accidentally came undone.
Monique Coleman and Louis Van Amstel (19) High School Musical star Monique kept her face composed and actress-y even while she was bent upside down, so she could be a contender. And as a self-proclaimed ”giver,” Louis, too, wants to be on top.
Shanna Moakler and Jesse DeSoto (18) They were okay. Jesse used to be an electrician. That’s all I remember.
Harry Hamlin and Ashly DelGrosso (17) I’m just wild about Harry, but he’s way too nervous at this point to dance well. He made sure to give Ashly props, saying she ”could make a hippo do the Macarena.” A Macarena mention in 2006 might end up being Harry’s greatest achievement on this show.
Jerry Springer and Kym Johnson (16) The George Hamilton and Edyta of season 3, they’ll stick around for a while on the premise that Jerry Springer is entertaining and good with props, human or otherwise.
Sara Evans and Tony Dovolani (15) He’s the world champion of ”rhythm.” So why was their dance so…freaking…slow?
Tucker Carlson and Elena Grinenko (12) Tucker sucked at dancing, but he found himself so hilarious that it looked like he was having a ball. I personally want him to stay, if only because he’s the only one who will engage in rapid-fire debates with the judges. It’s supposed to be fun, after all. Someone should remind poor Harry.
I’ll be back tomorrow morning with a recap of tonight’s results show that will knock your leg warmers off. Until then, what did you think of the premiere? Were the judges fair, or have they already started playing favorites? Which pair stood out to you? And who is Al Sharpton kidding?