by Natalie Finn | Mon., Mar. 18, 2013 7:54 PM
New celebs, new routines, new sequins, new spray tans—it's a new season of Dancing With the Stars!
You know the drill, this being the show's 16th season and all, but with all the fresh faces (plenty of them among the professional partners, too), the premiere of the longtime ABC hit is always worth tuning into. And then obsessing over for the duration.
Kicking things off tonight was American Idol alum and country artist Kellie Pickler, who called partner Derek Hough the Peter Pan to her Tinkerbell because of their similar pixie cuts, dancing the cha-cha. Did she live up to all the potential Derek says she has?
Yup! Body's great, rhythm's great, musicality's great. You get the drift. She slowed down a little about midway through, as most of the non-athlete stars tend to do in these first weeks, but overall...
"Yum yum, pig's bum, that was fun," exclaimed head judge Len Goodman, stealing our dear Bruno Tonioli's weird-comment thunder right off the bat. "You've got sass, you've got class," added an impressed Carrie Ann Inaba.
A little less graceful was boxer Victor Ortiz, who's paired with So You Think You Can Dance alum Lindsay Arnold. He looked about as dashing as any of those highfalutin' soap stars, but he has to work on taming his powerful movements. Carrie Ann thought his foxtrot posture was great but Len thought the routine could have have packed more punch.
Next, in a first for him and the show, General Hospital stud Ingo Rademacher danced a contemporary routine, making this the first season that the stars will be required to do the decidedly anti-ballroom style when asked.
The good news? Lifts are allowed with this style, so Ingo was able to send Kym Johnson flying all over the place, prompting dissension among the ranks already!
Len thought they spent way too much time on lifts, but Bruno compared Ingo to Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook and Carrie Ann felt the "raw passion."
Ingo was followed by Lisa Vanderpump, who danced a somewhat self-conscious foxtrot with dreamy newcomer Gleb Savchenko.
"You've got to get your feet under you and you have to hold your own," Carrie Ann reminded her.
Putting a little hitch in the momentum then was D.L. Hughley, whose comedic timing is about the only thing he's got going for him. Bruno said he "terminated" the cha-cha Cheryl Burke crafted for him and Carrie Ann advised him to "go back to the drawing board" before next week's quickstep.
The season's youngest competitor is Shake It Up star Zendaya, who, at 16, certainly wasn't afraid to fling herself all over the floor in her contemporary number with Val Chmerkovskiy—fearlessness that vaulted her straight to the top of the leaderboard with three 8s.
Not giving us any time to miss him at all, Sean Lowe was back in action on ABC, a week after the world watched him propose to Catherine on The Bachelor.
"For a dance virgin you have a very effective pelvic thrust," Bruno said, saying it all.
Mark Ballas is now captaining another gold medal-caliber squad with Fierce Five member Aly Raisman, who as an Olympian, enters the competition with a certain cachet. All around, the judges thought her cha-cha was a good start, if a little safe.
Speaking of cachet, next up was Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill, a sentimental favorite for the judges and a definite competitor—even though she was dealt a rough first round by drawing contemporary with partner Tristan MacManus.
"The ice queen will melt hearts with performances like that," purred Bruno.
"We all love a giver and I know you can give it plenty," the outspoken Italian then told Wynonna Judd, Kellie's top rival for the country music fan vote. Bruno and Len thought she held back a little during her cha-cha, but Carrie Ann thought she was "workin' it!" And yet, all three gave her a 6.
Andy Dick, his tux and top hat indicating that he meant business, turned in a perfectly respectable foxtrot and...you kinda can't help but root for the guy.
Bruno "really enjoyed it in a very crazy way" and Carrie Ann found "something quite charming" about his performance, despite the "pancake hands and the pancake feet."
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff closed the show with a promising cha-cha that was about as charming a routine as any performed by an NFL star on this show, i.e. very charming.
Here's how the leaderboard stacked up on night one:
Zendaya & Val Chmerkovskiy: 24
Aly Raisman & Mark Ballas: 21
Dorothy Hamill & Tristan MacManus: 21
Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough: 21
Ingo Rademacher & Kym Johnson: 20
Jacoby Jones: 20
Sean Lowe & Peta Murgatroyd: 19
Lisa Vanderpump & Gleb Savchenko: 18
Victor Ortiz & Lindsay Arnold: 18
Wynonna Judd & Tony Dovolani: 18
Andy Dick & Sharna Burgess: 17
D.L. Hughley & Cheryl Burke: 12
No one gets eliminated this week, so all 12 contestants will be back for another routine next Monday.
Who do you think is on the fast track to the mirror-ball trophy? Sound off in the comments!
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