Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring edition kicked off this evening at 8 PM Eastern/Pacific on ABC. Co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris reclaimed their roles at the mic, and judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli returned to the judges’ table. We learned early on that there would be no elimination this week, but that next week the bottom two couples would perform in a head-to-head showdown to attempt to improve their judges’ scores and avoid elimination.
Unfortunately for me, your friendly cyber DWTS devotee, my season got off to a terrible start when I discovered that my DVR recording hadn’t captured the sound… in English. The whole thing recorded itself in Spanish. I switched over to the live broadcast of Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring premiere as soon as I discovered the terrible truth, and only had English from then on out. But you’re not interested in that.
First, a recap of the Spanish-language action. I can’t offer up my usual delectable detail because well, I have no audio in a language that I actually speak fluently. But I’ll call ’em as I see ’em.
The Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring premiere kicked off with a Cha Cha Cha by reigning DWTS pro champ Derek Hough and partner rapper Lil Kim. She really shook her moneymaker in a white fringe number, but her extensions (not the hair, people, the legs) could use some work. There were moments of brilliance though, so in my audioless world, I give their freshman attempt 4 cookies out of 5. Their official scores? Three lucky sevens, for a total of 21.
Singer Belinda Carlisle and partner Jonathan Roberts were the next pair to give it a go. They performed a pleasant Waltz which featured Belinda mouthing the words of What the World Needs Now. I wouldn’t call it memorable, per se, but definitely pleasant enough. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring premiere scores: 6, 6, 5 for a total of 17.
Dancing with the Stars mainstay Edyta Sliwinska was next to join in on the premiere action as she took to the floor with NFL star partner Lawrence Taylor. I had Emmitt Smith flashbacks as I watched Lawrence, decked out in a slick white silk button down shirt, groove to the music of his Cha Cha Cha. He doesn’t really have Emmitt’s mad skills, but he has rhythm. And that never hurts ya. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring premiere scores: 6, 5, 5 for a total of 16.
Jackass Star Steve-O (aka my pick for ‘first to go this season’, and lumped in with the likes of Adam Carolla) and partner Lacey Schwimmer were next up with their Waltz. It began in interesting fashion with Steve flipping over Lacey’s back, continued with relatively decent albeit decidedly stiff dance elements, and concluded with a truly bizarre pump of the arm. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring premiere scores: 6, 5, 6 for a total of 17.
The very attractive Gilles Marini, an actor, and partner Cheryl Burke performed next. Holy chemistry. The two of them very downright hot out there. Smoldering, even. I need a shower after watching the performance. The judges seemed to like it, too, since they were rewarded with three 8s for a total of 24.
This is the point that I discovered the audio problem, so from here on out, enjoy my usual recapping in detail!
Country singer Chuck Wicks took to the stage with girlfriend and pro partner Julianne Hough, and the pair performed a Waltz. Chuck was smokin’ hot in his formal tuxedo and the two made an attractive pair. Unfortunately, I wasn’t smitten with his moves. He seemed a bit wooden. Bruno noted that he seemed to be “chasing a whirlwind” that was Julianne, and Len remarked that he needs to work on his posture. Carrie Ann praised his gracefulness, but chided Chuck for performing an illegal lift. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere scores: 6, 7, 7 for a total of 20.
After Chuck and Julianne’s scores were revealed, Tom interviewed withdrawn contestants Jewel and Nancy O’Dell. Jewel lamented that “my will to dance was stronger than my bones” while Nancy O’Dell claimed to be jealous of former partner Tony’s new partner Melissa Rycroft.
Playboy model Holly Madison and partner Dmitry Chaplin took their turn on the ballroom floor next with a Cha Cha Cha. Orange fringe-clad Holly gets major points for dancing tonight after having just a week to prepare, but her inexperience really showed as she lost time on a few occasions. Len said the performance “wasn’t bad” but was confident that she’d give a great Quickstep next week. Carrie Ann agreed with Len, while Bruno said she’s “easy on the eyes” but said it was a “shame that [she] lost timing” a few times. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere scores: 6, 6, 6 for a total of 18.
Rodeo champion Ty Murray, often touted as the King of the Rodeo, teamed up with partner and So You Think You Can Dance alum Chelsie Hightower for his first performance of the Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring competition. I was pleasantly surprised by their Cha Cha Cha: This cowboy actually has rhythm! It wasn’t the best performance I’ve ever seen by far, but it also wasn’t the trainwreck I’d expected. Bruno called it an “army drill”-like dance, while Len praised his efforts. Carrie Ann said “I think you’re one cute cowboy” and said she loved “the way he tackled that”. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere scores: 5, 4, 5 for a total of 14.
Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, the youngest competitor on Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring edition (and in the history of the show), came next. Shawn and partner Mark Ballas performed a Waltz. First off, she truly has a golden smile. It ignites her entire face. Her lines and extensions – as expected! – were gorgeous, as was most of the performance. For someone as young as she is, she did an amazing job, Olympic medalist or not. Carrie Ann said “you have the power to move people with your dancing” and Bruno called her “surprisingly refined”. Len finished up the judges’ commentary by calling “the whole thing very appealing”. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere scores: 8, 8, 7 for a total of 23.
Apple Computer co-founder Steve ‘the Woz’ Wozniak and partner Karina Smirnoff were the next dancers to hit the Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere floor. Donning a pink boa, the Woz began his DWTS stint with a decidedly comical routine set to You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet. I’m not quite sure what to say! My husband noted that he was “better than he thought he’d be”, and I think I agree. Len said “it held my attention throughout” and praised him for capturing “the fun element”, but said “overall it was a disaster”. Bruno said “I don’t know if it was hilarious or delirious”, while Carrie Ann said he made her want to cheer for him. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere scores: 5, 4, 4 for a total of 13.
The Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring premiere rolled on with a Waltz by Comedian David Alan Grier and partner Kym Johnson. David had a great smile, excellent posture, and surprising skills on the dance floor. My blind predictions for the season had him pegged as early exit bait, but I think maybe I was wrong. Bruno told him to keep to one character during his dances, while Carrie Ann said “I didn’t know you could dance like that” but cautioned him over his facial expressions. Len noted that the good outweighed the bad, but also pointed out that his “bum sticks out a bit”. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere scores: 6, 7, 6 for a total of 19.
Former Bond Girl Denise Richards and ballroom bad boy partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy were next to offer up their premiere performance. Their Cha Cha Cha was a decent initial offering, although hot pink, fringed Denise looked awkward and lost at times, as if she wasn’t quite sure what move came next. Carrie Ann, after a pause, said “you looked terrifed out there” and told her to watch her shoulders, while Len called the dance “loose”. Bruno said “you’ve got it all but you don’t know what to do with it”. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere scores: 6, 6, 6 for a total of 18.
Recent Bachelor reject
Melissa Rycroft and partner Tony Dovolani capped off the premiere episode with their Waltz. Melissa had a whopping 48 hours to learn her routine. There’s NO way I could do as well as she did with that short a prep time. It was truly an amazing performance. Her outfit was insanely distracting: A weird light blue net-like bodice. Weird. But anyway. Len said “The Bachelor’s loss is Dancing with the Stars’ gain”, and Bruno said “that Bachelor guy” is a “loser”. Carrie Ann called her “a beautiful dancer” but cautioned her to take the competition a little more seriously. Their Dancing with the Stars 2009 premiere: 8, 7, 8 = 23
At the end of the night, Gilles and Cheryl topped the leaderboard with 24 points, while Steve and Karina were the bottomfeeders with 13. I’m sure I’ll be ruminating over what I’ve seen for hours to come, but for now, I’m most impressed with Shawn and Gilles, so they’re my early Dancing with the Stars 2009 Spring competition frontrunners. I’m not so impressed with Holly, Steve-O and the Woz. Everyone else? Somewhere in the middle. Be sure to tune in for more action!