Hi, Dancing friends! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Robyn, and not only am I thrilled to be your new cha-cha queen, but today was also my first day working at Entertainment Weekly. (Yes, they threw me right in there!) I’m a self-proclaimed Dancing fanatic who got into the show just a few seasons ago and life has pretty much never been the same since. I once got a dancing lesson from Derek Hough and it may have been three of the best minutes of my life. So with that said, let’s get to the big season 21 premiere!
The night begins with a pre-taped, beautifully shot, opening performance on the streets of Hollywood that leads right into the dancers live on stage. Hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews then waste no time before introducing the first pair.
Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff
Triple Crown winner Victor rides in on a horse and immediately Karina remarks that she’s way taller than he is. Victor shares that jockeys have a lot of concussions so his biggest challenge will be his lack of short-term memory. Paying homage to his profession, Victor enters the ballroom dressed like a sparkly jockey and immediately goes for it by getting down and I have to say I’m into it. “That was definitely a fun and interesting way to start the season,” Julianne says after their salsa number before awkwardly adding, “I thought things would be all stiff down there.” We’re not sure where you were going with that J, but moving along! Bruno says he’s excited for next week and then gets bleeped out, and Carrie Ann says his energy is so focused and so bright despite it lacking in the salsa part of it. Prediction? Victor is going to become a quick fan-favorite.
Judges’ Score: 15
Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy
The co-host of The Real and the reigning champ are already acting like a married couple and you can tell they’re both going to push each other in the best way possible. Their first dance is the Quickstep and can I start by saying how dapper Val looks in his black and white tux? Tamar also impresses by keeping up with a tough first number. Bruno agrees that she had a “brilliant beginning” and Carrie Ann adds that she was blown away. Julianne shares a little criticism to keep her frame back, but all around the two get high praises.
Judges’ Score: 23
Chaka Khan and Keo Motsepe
First off, Chaka reminds us that she’s a bona fide superstar who has sold 70 million albums and has won 10 Grammys. Keo then tells us he’s a prince. Um, what? How did I not know this? Also, I really enjoy Keo, and I hope he makes it further than his first few outings on the show. What Chaka lacks in actual moves, Keo manages to make up for with his bare chest, and although Carrie Ann notes how much fun they were clearly having, Chaka will need to remember more of her routine next week. Julianne wants her to fill some space with her hands and Bruno says that the Cha Cha starts with the foot placement and Keo has to get her technique down.
Judges’ Score: 13
NEXT: Bring on the bosom