After weeks of anticipation, particularly among fans of MTV reality shows and coming-of-age dance flicks, the 11th season of “Dancing with the Stars” kicked off at last on Monday night.
The show began with “The Hills” alum Audrina Patridge and her partner, Tony Dovolani. Patridge said during her rehearsal that she’s known for being the fun-loving party girl, so naturally, her first dance was a feisty little cha-cha in a body-revealing yellow outfit. Judges seemed to be impressed with her first time out the gate. Head judge Len Goodman told her that she danced with confidence and had good technique, while Bruno Tonioli joked that she looked like a “beautiful show pony who needs to be pushed to the limit and whipped into shape.” Carrie Ann Inaba said that Patridge showed guts by doing a solo. The pair scored a 19/30.
Former quarterback and football legend Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskya took the stage next and performed the Viennese waltz. The recently retired NFL star joked that he has eight readymade votes, considering he has a wife and seven kids who all are big fans of the dance reality show. The judges saw potential in the football player. Tonioli called him a natural and said that Warner is a “graceful quarterback.” The pair scored a 19/30.
Disney star Kyle Massey was paired up with newly blond Lacey Schwimmer, and they did an impressive cha-cha. The judges were over-the-moon about their performance. Inaba giggled that Massey is her first crush of the new season. The pair scored a 23/30.
While they were in rehearsal, former basketball player (and current actor) Rick Fox and partner Cheryl Burke (who was last paired with another athlete, Chad Ochocinco) talked about the challenges of his height. He’s about 2 feet taller than she is, and even with 4-inch heels, she only comes up to his chest. But the judges really liked Fox and said that he has great posture and elegance and that his lines are ridiculously gorgeous. The pair scored a 22/30.
Comedienne Margaret Cho and partner Louis Van Amstel did the Viennese waltz for their first dance this season. In their performance, Cho got twisted up in the large gold drapery of her dress. Inaba asked if it was intentional, and Tonioli blurted out, “What the hell was that?” They got one of the lowest scores, 15/30.
Pop star Brandy was paired up with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who joked that he won’t be the ballroom bad boy this season (he got a lot of flack last season when he was paired up with former partner ESPN reporter Erin Andrews). The judges said she did well and made a “fantastic impression.” The pair scored 23/30.
The next pair to dance was former champion Mark Ballas and former vice presidential candidate’s daughter Bristol Palin, who calls herself a “public advocate for teen pregnancy prevention.” They said their biggest challenge was overcoming Palin’s shyness. Goodman called their first outing “a very acceptable performance for week one,” and added that she needs to loosen up a bit. The pair scored an 18/30.
One of the most recognizable moms in TV history, 76-year-old Florence Henderson (a.k.a. Carol Brady), said she was there to represent the sexiness that older women embody. Paired with new dancer Corky Ballas, they did the cha-cha, and one of the highlights in the rehearsal clips was when she lifted her shirt to reveal a bra, poking fun at the Situation and his much-seen abs. The judges thought her performance came across as a bit insecure. The pair scored 18/30.
Crooner Michael Bolton joked that he has shoes older than his partner, Chelsie Hightower. Their biggest challenge? Bolton’s current touring schedule. “I’m doing 115 shows this year and I’m in the middle of that,” he told co-host Brooke Burke. The judges didn’t seem too impressed by the singer. They scored 16/30.
“Jersey Shore” star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and partner Karina Smirnoff have a few challenges: 1) He’s only been practicing for five days, and 2) his dancing experience is made up of “many, many nights of dancing at the club with your girlfriend.” Inaba said that he needs to ease up on his 1980s style of dancing. “I think you’ve got potential. You’re young, you’re fit. … You’re just under-rehearsed,” Goodman said. “You’ve got the guns, but not the ammunition.” They scored 15/30.
Actress Jennifer Grey and reigning champ Derek Hough did the Viennese waltz, and had an emotional start to their partnership. When the “Dirty Dancing” star was told that they’d be dancing to “These Arms of Mine” from that movie’s soundtrack, she cried, thinking of late co-star Patrick Swayze. “I just miss him and I just realized just how fast time goes,” she said. The judges loved her performance, though, and Tonioli said, “Baby is back where she belongs!” They scored 24/30, the highest of the night.
The last couple to dance was David Hasselhoff and partner Kym Johnson, who did the cha-cha. Inaba had the line of the night, joking that Hasselhoff’s dancing was like “the offspring of Donny Osmond and Jerry Springer.” Tonioli said, “We do love the Hoff, and we love the madness of it all, and all it was madness. There wasn’t any dancing. … It was like a potpourri of insanity disguised as dance.” The pair scored 15/30.
Who do you think deserved high marks on “Dancing With the Stars”? Share your reviews in the comments.