Tom reminds us that it's been a long winter, and we deserve this show. I deserve a lot of things better than this show after this crap-tastic winter we've had. Starting with a tropical vacation. But I'll take this show. At least it's pretty to look at and totally light and I never think about it for one second when it's over.
This is my favorite episode of the entire season because you have no idea what someone will do on the floor. Once we've seen each couple dance for the first time, you at least have some idea what to expect. But right now, each couple could be great or terrible, and you don't know until you see it. So it's exciting! For real! They've gone really crazy with the set this season, or at least with the lighting production. Very dramatic. Tom and Brooke welcome us from the balcony. Brooke is wearing what seems like a normal black gown, until you see that she's sprouted a giant flower-shaped tumor from her thigh. She should really get that checked out. The margins are definitely irregular. The band plays the music and the new cast descends the stairs. I'm going to save my commentary for each person's intro package, though.
First up is Chelsea Kane, who is partnered with Mark Ballas. I will admit that I had no idea who Chelsea Kane was before she was announced for the show. I have kids, but they don't watch those tween shows yet. We're still on Yo Gabba Gabba around here. In Chelsea's intro package, she says that she wanted to do the show because she was home-schooled and never got to do the boy-girl dance thing. Mark and Chelsea have their first rehearsal, and they can't stop talking about their great chemistry, which means they have no chemistry. If you have it, you don't have to talk about it.
Enough yapping. Let's see their foxtrot. It's a little too cutesy for my taste, which is Mark's fault. Chelsea does a good job for the most part. Her toes are pointed and her arms are extended, but she needs to tuck her butt underneath instead of sticking it out. I really don't like the choreography. It's way too modern for me; I prefer more traditional stuff. There are a few "oops" movements on Chelsea's part, but she gets 90% of the moves down, and for the first ever dance, I think that's pretty good. What do the judges think? Len liked the youthfulness, although some of the movements were too modern for him. Len, c'est moi. Bruno makes a really sexual comment about Chelsea being on her back and afterglow which seems inappropriate given Chelsea's young age. Carrie Ann thinks Chelsea has potential, but she needs to extend her movements. Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 7, and Bruno 7. Those are great scores, since they don't usually break out the higher paddles until later in the season.
Wendy Williams is up next. I am most familiar with her from The Soup. She's kind of ridiculous, but she knows it, and I kind of like that. I think she would be exhausting in real life, and Tony is stuck with her. I don't like Tony, but he gets the handfuls, doesn't he? They start rehearsing and Wendy isn't really putting it out there as like she usually does. She cries a lot. She says it's her stress relief. This is going to be a long season for Tony. Or a really short one.
Let's see their cha cha cha. All right. Here's what I don't expect from Wendy Williams necessarily: great dancing, great form, grace, charm, elegance. Here's what I do expect from Wendy Williams: tons and tons of attitude and charisma. And her dance has none of those things. She's timid, she's up in her head, she has no hip action, her footwork is terrible. I mean, it's the first time out. Maybe she'll get better if she lets go a bit. But she's like Bristol-level bad. Then again, Bristol made the finals. She shuffles around the floor stiffly. This is going to sound catty, but she has piano legs and she shouldn't wear a short skirt like that. Ugh. It's just awful, and I had high hopes that she would be a Niecy Nash or even a Kelly Osbourne type -- maybe not the greatest dancer, but totally working it and selling it. And she doesn't. Judges? Bruno tells her how beautiful she is, and she's just marking the routine. She needs to bring out her fire and personality. Carrie Ann thinks she was terrified, and Wendy says that she was thrown when they showed her crying on the roll-in piece. Carrie Ann advises her to "unleash the beast." Len also advises her to bring her personality out, because she was too timid. She has to sell it next week. Scores: Carrie Ann 5, Len 4, and Bruno 5. Those are totally fair. She has to do better next week. Wendy claims she did the best that she could this week, but I don't think that's true. I hope she takes this to heart because I think she could be really entertaining.
Next up is Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steeler, who claims he can't really dance. So that's promising. He's partnered with Kym, who I love. They start rehearsing, and she reminds him that she was partnered with Warren Sapp so she's used to working with athletes. He starts doing the running man and boy, he is not a good dancer. At one point, he drops Kym right on her back. But he is a hard worker, and seems really intense about winning. He's really tiny too. I expect pro athletes to be taller. Maybe Kym is really tall.
They have the cha cha cha. I'm totally distracted by how high his pants are. They're like Fred Mertz style up to his nipples. Who dressed him? But once I block that business out... he's not bad! Here's what I ask from a first-week dance: don't forget the choreography. Look like you're having fun. Try to add some performance flair. That's pretty much it. I can overlook technique, because that can be learned later, so a non-pointed toe or unextended arm is not a deal breaker. I think Hines has potential in the same vein of many other athlete contestants. He actually reminds me of Apolo Ohno. He's charming and, while his technique needs work, he's fun to watch. Sold. And good job, Kym, with the choreography. The crowd goes nuts for them. Judges? Carrie Ann calls it sparkly and exuberant. Len thought he was clean, crisp, and confident, and tells him to work on posture and footwork. He takes a sidebar to talk about their butts, but I'm going to ignore that. Bruno loved it too, and gives Hines some things to work on, and illustrates with some pelvic thrusts. Oh, Bruno. Already? Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 7, and Bruno 7. That's fair. His performance was better than Chelsea's but his technique wasn't as good, so it evens out.
Petra Nemacova, SUPERMODEL, is paired with Dmitry, who is back after taking a season off. When they meet, Petra explains that she was on the tsunami in 2004 and her pelvis was broken, so it might limit her dancing somewhat. That was a good way to work that information in without being too weird about it. And of course, Petra was very affected by the recent tsunami in Japan; it brought it all back. I remember reading some stories about Petra's experiences and they really were harrowing, so I can't fault her for being emotional.
Anyway, they have the foxtrot. It's much more traditional and romantic but honestly? Kind of boring. Like there's no performance aspect to it. She's graceful enough, but it doesn't grab me at all. I can't pinpoint what I didn't like, so let's see what the judges think. Len thought it was graceful and elegant, but she needs to work on her posture, and he's worried about her jive next week, given her height. Bruno thought there were some beautiful moments, but she needs to connect them better. Carrie Ann thinks she expresses her inner beauty through her movements (what?) but she might have had a little lift during a drag. Carrie Ann says she'll look the other way since it was clearly a blip and it's the first night. Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 6, and Bruno 6. They seem happy with those scores, though the audience boos.
Romeo, formerly Lil Romeo, is the son of Master P, probably the worst dancer to ever be on the show. No, not probably. He was. But he only filled in when Romeo had to bow out. Anyway, he's partnered with Chelsie, who he thinks is really hot. And she is. The problem in rehearsals is that Romeo doesn't want to look goofy or sexy, because he thinks he looks too feminine. That's too bad, because he seems to have some good natural skills, but I don't know if he'll be brave enough to let go. Let's see.
they have the cha cha cha. Okay. His footwork is TERRIBLE. And his posture might be worse. That said, he's got a good quickness to his movements, and he is very tuned into his partner. Perhaps too tuned in -- his only performance aspects are that he sticks out his tongue once in a while. I think a lot of this is nerves, but if he's this inhibited during Latin, I can't imagine what he'll do in, say, the quickstep or another routine that he thinks is corny. He has to get over himself, and he could be decent. I really thought, like Wendy, that he'd be better at the performance aspect. But he's about a million times better than his father. I mean, he actually lifted his feet off the floor a few times. Judges? Bruno thought it was vibrant, but messy. He was flat-footed and lost it a few times, but he needs to work hard. Carrie Ann thinks he was sexy, but he needs to work on his posture. She sees a lot of potential because he's connected to the music. Len liked the energy and the attack, but he was too casual and needs to work on technique. Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 6, and Bruno 6.