In a brand-new ballroom, the 13th season of “Dancing With the Stars”
kicked off Monday night (September 19). The newest stars walked down a new, elegant series of stars to the ballroom and waved at the crowd in the ornate — and significantly larger — ballroom and shimmied as live singers hummed the reality-show competition’s now-familiar theme song.
The mix of reality stars, athletes, actors, TV journalists and talk-show hosts took to the dance floor to attempt to impress the judges and legions of TV fans who will be tuning in to vote to keep them dancing week-after-week.
To the scores!
Ron Artest and Peta Murgatroyd
A newly blond Artest (though we may soon be calling him Metta World Peace, the name he legally adopted last week) failed to impress the judges. “It’s a new season, we’ve got a new set, but it’s the same old shimmying-about stuff,” head judge Len Goodman told the Lakers star. “Your footwork was atrocious. It was all sizzle, no sausage. It was … not my cup of tea.” His comments were booed by the audience (Artest’s teammate Lamar Odom was in the audience with wife Khloé Kardashian and sisters-in-law Kourtney and Kim, seeing as their brother is a contestant this year). “Ron, the dancer drone has landed! You have power. You have presence. So go for it, Dancer-Tron!” judge Bruno Tonioli yelled. Carrie Ann Inaba wasn’t irked by Artest’s cha-cha but said it needed work. “You’re eccentric and kind of sexy! It works on the dance floor. Cha-cha’s a sexy dance. The technique … was like a big old puddle on the ground.” 14/30
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke
The reality star danced the Viennese waltz for his first dance of the season. The first judge to take a crack at him was Tonioli, who wasn’t happy with what Kardashian turned in. “I know she’s a tough mistress, but … let her go. You have to take control. You’ve got to relax,” Tonioli said. (Khloé Kardashian yelled something out to the judge about needing Q-Tips after Tonioli said her brother couldn’t hear the music.) Inaba wasn’t quite onboard with Bruno’s critique. “When I watch you, I see potential. You did everything Cheryl told you … but it’s all there. The posture, the lines, the debonair. Yeah. You clean up nice!” Goodman chimed in: “I’m not impressed, but I’m not depressed. It was OK. An OK will get you through a couple of weeks. You were too careful.” 16/30
Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas
The former MTV bad girl (she insisted she wasn’t the “bitch” viewers saw on “The Hills”) said this competition was right on time for her, considering she’s had a rough year, including a broken engagement . The two danced the cha-cha, and the judges loved her performance. “You have the body to ballroom-dance, girlfriend! You looked great,” Inaba said. “I want to watch you dance more and more. You shine. You sparkle. It was a very good cha-cha, and it’s hard to keep up with Mark. He gives you very challenging choreography, and you have to keep up with him.” The hard-to-please Goodman said he was a fan just watching her rehearsal footage. “It was lively and there was lots going on, which I think is great,” he said. Tonioli told the former “Laguna Beach” star: “You know I love a bad girl; a bad girl with hot hips. I know you’ve got the full package to give that action.” 19/30
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani
Goodman smiled before he was asked to speak, indicating that he was very pleased with the performance. “It wasn’t the best first dance I’ve ever seen, but I’ll tell you what: It was close!” Goodman said. Tonioli gushed, “Chynna, you looked like you were stepping out of a dream and into my heart. You’ve got the talent and you can do it!” Inaba was also happy with the dance, saying, “That was gorgeous. You are such a graceful dancer. Everything was perfection. You had a few nervous moments, but other than that, that was magical. I can’t wait to see you next week.” 22/30
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus
The former prosecutor and HLN talk-show host danced the cha-cha in a shimmery silver short dress, sashaying all over the floor. “Nancy, I had no idea you were so lavishly gifted. You’ve got the moves, but you don’t seem to believe in yourself. You have it,” Tonioli said. Inaba added: “I think you might be the happiest contestant I’ve ever seen out there dancing. You have to remember your choreography.” And tough critic Goodman said, “You’ve got to get balance. You didn’t have any flair and attack. It was all … underwhelming.” 16/30
David Arquette and Kym Johnson
The actor was beloved by the judges and his estranged wife, Courteney Cox, who applauded and cheered in the audience with the couple’s daughter, CoCo. “All you need to do is relax a little,” Inaba said of his Viennese waltz. Goodman said, “There was no superficial start or messing about. You came straight out into the dance, and I was very, very impressed.” Tonioli added: “You did look the part! The romantic leading man.” 18/30
Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy
The Italian actress/model and TV host didn’t do much to impress the judges. “It got very brittle. You lost confidence, and it all became too weak,” Goodman told her, also saying that he didn’t really care for the use of over-the-top props in performances. Tonioli said, “You cannot always rely on him to put you into place. There is a journey there to make.” Inaba suggested she reach back to what she knows best to help her moving forward: “You have to channel the model in you … and you have to do it with the music.” 15/30
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
The soccer star wowed judges with her first dance. Tonioli said, “You’ve got a bright future in front of you. You’ve got a great drive. Now you have to learn control.” Inaba told the duo they were “connected like glue and that was wonderful! Your lines are really gorgeous!” Goodman echoed both the cheers and the bit of criticism (mostly that she needed to soften up a little), saying, “Good hold, good posture, lovely movement. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but … you have to get a bit more feminine in your movement.” 21/30
Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya
Kressley and his partner made the judges very happy with their energetic cha-cha routine. “That was my favorite dance of the night by far! You are something else. I cannot get over all of the sparkles!” Inaba cheered. “As far as performance goes … bam!” Goodman said. “There was an element of Jagger, swagger and stagger. You were such great entertainment. You were fun.” Tonioli agreed, saying, “It was … outrageous fun.” 17/30
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
The war hero-turned-actor did the Viennese waltz and tied for the highest score of the night with Chynna. “You danced the performance that’s right up there with the best performances of the night. You were right up there,” Goodman said. Tonioli added, “You’ve got courage … and you’ve got the hips. I can’t believe for someone who has never danced before how well you did it.” Inaba also was impressed, saying, “I was absolutely touched by your performance. You’re able to bring emotional quality to your dance on day one. It’s beautiful to see that confidence.” 22/30
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
The former talk-show host grabbed a nice score from the judges. “There was great chemistry. Another great Viennese waltz!” Tonioli cheered. Inaba loved the way the duo moved together, saying, “It was like you were part of one person. It was beautiful. Very, very nice.” Goodman said, “Your footwork, I don’t know what was going on with your feet. But elegant, lovely movement and fluidity. Overall, I enjoyed it very much.” 20/30
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer
Naturally, the last couple to take to the dance floor was the much-talked-about Bono, who is the show’s first transgender performer. His presence on the show has been blogged, tweeted and chatted about on political talk shows, and it was thought to be one of the top performances of the night. “I think people have been waiting all night to see you, Chaz, and you do not disappoint! You can dance! You had great footwork. You’ve got so much joy. You light up this room,” Inaba cheered. Goodman also was a fan, saying, “You really came out with the right attitude. You came out to enjoy yourself, and that’s what I felt you did.” Tonioli said: “You’re so joyous out here. Great debut, Chaz. You should be proud!” 17/30
Who was your favorite celeb dancer of the night? Let us know in the comments!