WOW. I don’t think I’ve ever been this dazzled by the first show of the season! Honestly, while there were some big surprises, both good and bad (Kyle for the former, Margaret for the latter), the playing field really does seem like the most level it’s ever been – those that didn’t score as high still seem to have potential for improvement, and those that scored well seem like they will continue to do well. I’m really, REALLY pumped to see how this season shapes up But on with the rankings!
1.) Jennifer & Derek – It’s been quite some time since a dance on DWTS got me a little misty-eyed – and this one definitely did. I will admit, I initially kinda groaned when I heard that they were doing a song from Dirty Dancing – I believe my out loud words were “Wow, how original of them.” But it really did work for them, and the vulnerability and connection that Jennifer had to the dance were what really sold it for me. It really was as if Jennifer were waltzing with a shade of Patrick when she was floating around the floor with Derek – and homegirl is GOOD. Few minor stutters here and there, but overall very fluid and nice to watch. And man – both Derek & Maks managed to create some SEXY Viennese waltzes tonight! I loved the little bit at the beginning with the dress straps…reminded me of the movie when Johnny & Baby dirty dance in the cabin before hitting the sheets, and the strands of lights were like Kellerman’s all over again. Overall, I think these two slightly edged out Brandy & Maks for the top spot – they got the better running order position, and a slightly higher score. Plus I think voters will really feel for Jennifer, and that will spur them to vote. Really, really excited to see more from these two.
2.) Brandy & Maks – I kid you not – I literally got to a point in the middle of their waltz when I was like “Damn, Maks is hot!” These are words that have never before passed my lips, but man – that waltz was at the same time both romantic & seductive, and both Maks and Brandy showed a lovely vulnerability which really drew me in. I’m loving this kinder, gentler, calmer Maks…I’m not quite sure what happened in the off-season, but whatever it is, I’m a-likin’ it Brandy is just an absolute doll – very likeable. I really do feel like she’s there to work, while still enjoying herself – and the girl can move well, so I really do think she may be Maks’ best shot at the trophy so far (yes, even better than Mel B.!). Nice, fluid waltz, but what I think I liked the most is that Maks really did load it up with a lot of nuts & bolts Viennese steps – no fussing with props or clothes, just really good dancing infused with a good amount of emotion. I hope he continues to create dances like these this season, because if he can keep it up – I really do see these two winning. They had a pretty good running order position (top of the 2nd hour) and a solid score, so I don’t see these two being in any danger of going home tomorrow…thank goodness, because I’m really excited to see more from them as well!
3.) Rick & Cheryl – I just cannot get over how good these two look together. Seriously – they look like a United Colors of Benetton ad or something. Just BEAUTIFUL. And to the naysayers who said Rick’s height was going to be an issue – the man had far better posture than a lot of the average height men I’ve seen on DWTS, and if there’s anyone on the show that can really cope with a height difference well – it’s definitely Cheryl. These two will be definite competition for both Brandy & Maks and Jennifer & Derek this season, especially if Rick can do as well in the Latin dances as he does in the ballroom ones. Only one complaint (and it actually has nothing to do with Rick or Cheryl): who the hell said that Rick & Cheryl’s music was “This Ain’t a Love Song”? That’s one lyric in the great “Cryin’” by Aerosmith, silly gooses! Anywho, they didn’t have a great running order position, but they’re only one point away from both Brandy & Maks and Kyle & Lacey, and if all the ladies in America go as gaga over Rick as Carrie Ann the Cougar did…well, then we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Rick
4.) Kyle & Lacey – This kid was the biggest surprise of the night for me. I was seriously expecting this kid to really stink – but man, he’s pretty damn good, and he oozes personality from every pore. Definitely wins my showmanship award for the evening…he’s FEARLESS. Reminds me of Warren Sapp and how much of a performer he was from the get-go: not afraid to make mistakes, but totally committed and totally having fun. Lacey was being Lacey – very in-your-face choreography, lots of attitude both on and off the floor – but it did seem to pay off for them, and maybe it was Lacey’s spunk that spurred Kyle to do so well. They were definitely fun to watch. However, I do have 3 concerns about this couple: one, Kyle still has a pretty small fanbase – one that pales in comparison to some of the voting powerhouses this season. Two, he’s extremely entertaining, but I’m not sure his technique is as good as Brandy’s, Jennifer’s, or Rick’s – I daresay he got a bit sloppy at times tonight. Three – I’m honestly a little worried that the combination of he, Lacey, and their collective abundance of energy may just put people off after awhile. I’m hoping that they can reign it in a bit for the ballroom dances, because if Kyle’s natural ability at the Latin dances carries over to it, he could very well bump Rick out of the finale. I think these two will be safe this week – despite a crappy running order, and a small fanbase, there were fortunately (for him) other couples that really didn’t do well this week, while he held his own.
5.) David & Kym – Again, I reiterate: do I think the Hoff is a great dancer? HELL TO THE NO. But if my suspicions are correct about America, they will latch onto the biggest hot mess they can find on the show and keep him/her around for awhile. And I definitely think the hot mess of the evening was none other than the Hoff – that cha-cha was honestly painful to watch, at times. He almost moves rather…I don’t know, geriatrically? Kinda hunched over and low-energy, and it reminded me of Buzz last season. It was ok for Buzz; but it’s rather off-putting on a much younger man like David. But he is a ham, and people like hamminess. Thank goodness for Kym’s patience and choreography that minimized David’s sloppiness – and for looking SMOKIN’ HOT. Both Heidi & I admitted girl crushes on her over Twitter tonight. Great costume, great hair – Kym was the sex bomb in this dance, not David! I daresay their scores won’t be what’s keeping them in this week, but rather David’s massive fanbase, coupled with the coveted pimp spot will render them safe for next week.
6.) Audrina & Tony – Audrina was no real surprise for me – she was about as good as I had predicted she’d be. Pretty, sweet girl with a great body, but a definite awkward mover who’s not quite comfortable moving her body yet. Wish I had more to say, but unfortunately this pair was very middle of the road for me this week – not great, but not bad, and so early in the show that I’m having a hard time remembering a lot of their routine. I’ll have to rewatch it later to really get a feel for Audrina. I do remember a lot of blank, petrified stares from Audrina though – hopefully something that will diminish as the competition wears on. I think these two are safe based solely on the fact that they went first, and that there are other couples who did much worse than they did.
7.) Florence & Corky – Is it just me, or was Florence just kinda acting bizarre tonight? Definitely not the demure Flo I remember from The Surreal Life on VH1 a few years back…I can’t help but feel like she’s trying to channel Cloris’ wild antics in order to be more memorable. It just feels awkward to me. Was a little disappointed with this cha-cha – felt very robotic and stuttery to me, and I feel like Flo could’ve handled some more meat & potatoes cha-cha steps. Corky seems downright tame this season. Not gonna lie – I kinda miss crazy, attention fiend Corky a little bit. I’m left just feeling kinda weird about this couple – I didn’t really like them, but I think they’ll do better if they stick around longer. I think the “geriatric” vote will come through for them this week – but man, I really hope they step their game up, because this was just odd.
8.) Bristol & Mark – I really do have to give Bristol props – she may not be a performer, but she got out there, gave it an honest try, and actually seemed to enjoy herself while she was at it. And really – she wasn’t the worst cha-cha of the evening. Miles ahead of Kate, in my opinion. Was really surprised at how well she seemed to get along with Mark – he’s so extroverted and she seems very shy, so I was surprised that they seemed to meet somewhere in the middle and mesh well. She is terribly shy, but I do feel like part of the voting population is gonna sympathize with her, and may even start to like her. Luckily, she’s got Mark’s fanbase on her side, and again, she’s got the virtue of having several couples that did much worse than she did. She oughta be around next week, and I’m actually kinda looking forward to watching her.
9.) Kurt & Anna – Yes, this was a very awkward, shuffly waltz. But for what Kurt lacks in ability, he seriously makes up for in charm – I feel like he’s the nicest guy on the show this season, and he’s articulate and calm when he’s speaking. Just a wonderful energy from Kurt…now let’s hope Anna can just polish the technique part! I really do think Kurt’s nerves got the best of him tonight, and he will likely be much better if he sticks around next week (I think he will). And he and Anna just look really good together…another very well-matched couple, physically. Running order didn’t really do them any favors, but I do think they were (fortunately for them) overscored a bit, which should keep them safe…that and the powerhouse NFL fanbase.
10.) The Situation & Karina – Ok, this was a good cha-cha – for only having 5 days to rehearse it. If he had performed the same thing after 3 weeks of practice, I would have labeled him the worst of the night. I’m still on the fence as to whether people are going to categorize him as “cocky” or just “charismatic”, but one thing’s for sure – he’s pretty entertaining off the floor. Loved the banter with Karina in practice, as well as with Len at the judges table. I really do think he could get much better, given enough time to actually learn a dance – I’m sure nerves were a contributing factor for him as well this evening. And I really do think he and Karina are a good match – he seems to respect her, and she thinks he’s funny without putting up with too much goofing around. These two could be in the bottom 2, but since certain couples really didn’t do so well this week, I could see one of them getting sent home over him.
11.) Michael & Chelsie – Poor Michael – just a terribly awkward mover, and nerves really seemed to get to him. I’m afraid I have to scold Chelsie a bit for more or less dancing around him – then again, I’m not sure he could do much more than just “be there” for her as she spun around. I think the biggest problem Michael’s gonna have is that he’s not the most personable guy…he kinda came off as a bit cold and introverted when Brooke was interviewing him, and he seems to have a very dry sense of humor, which I personally enjoy, but voters might not like. Do I think he deserves to be the one going home tomorrow? No, but he could be. If he does stick around, I hope he’s able to pull out a bit more personality, because I don’t think his dance skills (or lack thereof) are going to take him very far in this competition.
12.) Margaret & Louis – These two started out decently strong…and then totally blew it. Louis, Louis, Louis – why oh why did you throw legit dancing out the window and resort to slapstick humor this early in the competition?! One of my cardinal rules of DWTS: don’t buck the establishment really early on in the competition – just play by the rules and do well for the first 3 weeks or so, and then you can go ahead with the rule breaking and “mucking about”. This wasn’t a Viennese waltz; this was one big tacky wardrobe malfunction. Kinda disappointed in Louis for selling Margaret short in the choreo department. Low score, bad running order, routine that just kinda confused people…I think these two are almost guaranteed to head home tomorrow.
And with that, the first performance show of the year is over! Who do you think is gonna get the encore? Who’s safe? Who’s headed home? Talk to me, people!