Bob D'Amico/ABC
Annie Barrett
September 21, 2010 AT 06:31 AM EDT

Welcome back, DANCMSTRs, gem-hunters, and regular ol’ people who know how to read. It’s season 11, and Edyta is gone. My darling Lady Legwarmer has twirled out of Planet Mirrorballus’ magnificent, glittery orbit and I don’t know what to do. Lacey was wearing legwarmers during rehearsals, but it’s not the same. They’re an atrocious neon pink, plus she’s blonde now. Everything is inside-out! I failed to spot Enthusiastic Chimes Lady in the opening number and I can’t be sure of this, but it seemed like the new, improvised opening number did not even include a space for potential chimes. Meanwhile, Brooke was more awkward than ever and her hidden gems were about to pop out of her dress.

Still, some familiar faces lessened the blow of intense change. There was Evan Lysacek! Niecy Nash! Jamie Lee Curtis sporting the same haircut as Tom Bergeron! Tom Bergeron! Eliza Dushku? Huh? So just like that, the planetary atmosphere was somewhat reverted to normal. But it may take us all a while to adjust. Let’s get right to the all-important JUDGES’ LEADERBOARD, in ascending order this time to reflect the marked changes of season 11.

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann In-ahhh-ber!

The Situation and Karina Smirnoff: 15 out of a possible 30 This clown only had five days to prepare for the most important competition of his life. I loved the way Karina was all fun and games for about three seconds as she welcomed him to her world of pain. Abs in the Airport: a classic move! He still has no idea what he’s in for. Mastery of ’80s dances like the Running Man may keep you on MTV, but this is network television, man! “You’ve got the guns, but not the ammunition,” said Len. Oooh, a DANCMSTR vs. Situation smackdown! Stay tuned.

Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel: 15/30 At the beginning of her Viennese waltz, Margaret looked scared to death. Like how I would look. Or anybody. Parts of their dance were very good, but no two elements of it made any sense together. “We Are the Champions.” The enormous golden bat wings she started wielding around furiously as if they’d decided to fool us all by performing the paso doble instead. The facial expression of a serial murderess. Margaret’s assertion that “I want to make this Viennese waltz so elegant that you actually think I might be a lady.” The deliberate stumbles. Bruno’s reference to The Last Airbender. What was happening?! As a viewer, this combo platter was hilarious. In reality (television), it might have been too much for a week 1 showing. But we’ll see. I can’t lose Louis Van Intensité this early, people. This would devastate me. I would need to “BE GOING INTO THERAPY” by week 2!

David Hasselhoff and Kym Johnson: 15/30 “I’m still a big star in Germany,” the Hoff assures us. Honey you don’t need to convince me. This week 1 performance was what Dancing With the Stars is all about. David Hasselhoff, topped by leather, swathed in sequins, “dancing” a cha cha cha to the Harold Wheeler band’s version of “Sex Bomb.” It’s like the whole point of the series. Germany doesn’t even know. (Germany probably does know.) Carrie Ann said the Hoff reminded her of “the offspring of Donny Osmond and Jerry Springer.” I’m not sure whose illegitimate love child he was; all I know is that Death appeared to be knock-knock-knockin’ on Hoff’s door after that performance. I almost called 911 for him. But what good would that have done? That beast is a trained lifeguard.

Next: Carrie Ann turns Bristol Palin’s critique into a Cinemax teaser?

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