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Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars: 15.01 – “Week 1”

Dancing with the Stars returned for its 15th season tonight. It brought back 13 of the best dancers to compete again and see who is the all-time best. In actuality, ABC probably did it to boost the lower ratings from the previous season. This will save them from having to go further down the bottom of the barrel of celebrities. But it did bring me back after tuning out last season, so their plan worked on me at least. Let’s take a closer look at the first week of performances.

Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson – “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” – Cha-Cha-Cha
-Joey was the runner-up in the fourth season to Apolo. This time he wants to win and not be second place. It was good routine but it wasn’t very memorable. Joey wasn’t moving as swiftly as he was in the clips from his previous season. He’s gotten out of shape since then. The judges began their critique with Len saying that they were going to be tougher because they expect that level of quality to be higher than previous years (as the evening went on, this wasn’t apparent though). The judges all had positive comments. There was an awkward moment where Carrie Ann said that Tom cut her off before she was finished and she looked pissed.
Carrie Ann: 6.5
Len: 7
Bruno: 7
Overall Total: 20.5

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough – “Good Time” – Foxtrot
-Shawn Johnson won 8th season and she’s back for another mirror ball trophy. She won with Mark Ballas, but this time she’s with Derek Hough. She definitely didn’t trade down on partners. Derek always does great choreography and this routine wasn’t an exception. It was a well done routine that showed off Shawn’s strengths as a dancer. She has great lines and technique. But she still needs a little more personality. Carrie Ann loved it, while Bruno & Len both commented that it wasn’t a traditional Foxtrot (which is more of a dig against Derek than her).
Carrie Ann: 8
Len: 6.5
Bruno: 7.5
Total: 22

Sabrina Bryan & Louis van Amstel – “What Makes You Beautiful” – Cha-Cha-Cha
-Tom introduces the clip package by saying that Sabrina’s exit in the fifth season was, “the most shocking elimination we’ve ever seen”. She was eliminated in week 6 after getting a perfect score a few weeks earlier. She was originally paired with Mark Ballas, but this time she’s with Louis after getting voted in as America’s choice. She feels a lot of pressure to live up to her previous performances. The routine itself was very fast moving and entertaining. She was trying a little too hard and hitting her poses tough, which the judges actually did a good job of picking up and critiquing it. And it made me laugh that Louis was lip syncing along to the One Direction song during the routine.
Carrie Ann: 7.5
Len: 7.5
Bruno: 7.5
Total: 22.5

Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower – “Pride and Joy” – Foxtrot
-Helio won the fifth season of the show with Julianne Hough. But Julianne is off becoming a movie star (she was terrible in Footloose and Rock of Ages, apparently, so it might not be long before she’s back on here), so he’s now paired with SYTYCD alumni Chelsie Hightower. Their routine was very smooth and well danced. Chelsie is another professional that always has strong choreography in the routines. Helio got to show off his personality, which is important. The judges had lukewarm comments and didn’t have anything overly positive or negative to say.
Carrie Ann: 7
Len: 7.5
Bruno: 7
Total: 21.5

Pamela Anderson & Tristan MacManus – “You Know I’m No Good” – Cha-Cha-Cha
-Pamela was previously on the tenth season of the series and came in 6th place. She’s only one of two people on the show who never made it to the finals (the other being Sabrina Bryan). The routine was good and the lighting looked terrific. And the lighting was really one of the highlights of the entire piece. Pamela looked awkward and didn’t seem too invested in the dance. The judges were really harsh on her. Len told her that she needed to put more work into it and she kept responding, “I know. I know.” It was really awkward and I felt bad for her. I think she’s in danger for elimination tomorrow.
Carrie Ann: 5.5
Len: 5.5
Bruno: 6
Total: 17

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – “Hey Big Spender” – Foxtrot
-Melissa was a last minute replacement in the eighth season of DWTS. The week before that season started, she was picked the winner on the latest season of The Bachelor. But in the “After the Final Rose” special, she was dumped by the bachelor because he was in love with the runner-up. It worked out for her because she filled in for Nancy O’Dell on DWTS and came in third place. All three of the season eight finalists are actually on the all-star edition this year. Onto the routine, it was a fun and very stylized. I’m getting a little tired of the use of “Hey Big Spender” is almost every musical/dance show, and this didn’t change that. The judges were more focused on the routine than Melissa’s dancing. Len said it was too theatrical and needed more body contact, which are more of Tony’s problems than Melissa.
Carrie Ann: 7
Len: 7
Bruno: 7

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff – “Party Rock Anthem” – Cha-Cha-Cha
-Apolo won the fourth season of the show with Julianne Hough. So this time he’s paired with Karina Smirnoff, a previous professional winner on the series. Their clip package shows a lot of awkwardness between them in rehearsals. But that was gone by the time they did their routine. It was a lot of fun and they had some decent chemistry together. The judges were positive towards him and only gave him a few minors critiques. I thought their scores were going to be much higher based on the comments.
Carrie Ann: 7.5
Len: 7
Bruno: 7.5
Total: 22

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd – “Call Me Irresponsible” – Foxtrot
-Gilles was the runner-up in the eighth season with Cheryl Burke and was considered the frontrunner for most of that season. Many think that he lost the title because of the freestyle in the final round of competition. Cheryl’s choreography was scrutinized because it was more focused on her than Gilles. Cheryl talked about how that has haunted her and she’s talked about it on the show during rehearsal sessions with Rob Kardashian in particular. It would’ve been nice for them to get back together and give Cheryl some redemption. But I think Emmitt might’ve pushed harder to have her back as his partner. So Gilles is now with Peta and it didn’t hurt him at all. They had great chemistry during the routine, which looked like it was inspired by The Artist. Gilles has the perfect personality to be on this show and the routine really demonstrated that to the nines. My favorite routine of the evening.
Carrie Ann: 8
Len: 8
Bruno: 8
Total: 24

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas – “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” – Cha-Cha-Cha
-Bristol is much different from when she first competed in the eleventh season of the show. She’s lost a lot of weight, got a new chin (allegedly, but look at the pictures people!), and she had more confidence now. Her routine with Mark wasn’t terrible and she didn’t make a fool of herself like she did in her original season. But I have to say, the band’s rendition of Pink’s “Blow Me” was awful. The judges were all very positive towards her. Carrie Ann said that she definitely wins the award for the most-improved dancer of the group.
Carrie Ann: 6.5
Len: 6.5
Bruno: 6.5
Total: 19.5

Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya – “Love Song” – Foxtrot
-Drew won the second season of the show with Cheryl Burke and this time he’s paired with Anna Trebunskaya, who actually came in second that season with Jerry Rice. Drew complains during rehearsal that he’s tired of people saying that the show was easier when he was on it in the earlier season. He wants to prove all of the haters wrong. He didn’t actually do that in his first routine back. He was very stiff/rigid and had some awkward movements going on with his body. He had a few jumps during the dance that looked very uncomfortable and forced. The judges called him out on his posture but still gave him some of the high scores of the evening.
Carrie Ann: 7
Len: 7
Bruno: 7.5
Total: 21.5

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy – “Bang Bang” – Cha-Cha-Cha
-Kelly Monaco won the original season of DWTS, which aired for 6 weeks in the summer of 2005. ABC was experimenting with the show and it obviously turned into a big hit for them. There was a lot of controversy surrounding Kelly’s win. They didn’t have the results show in the original season, so the eliminations were based on the judges scores and the actual audience in the studio. Kelly beat out John O’Hurley, who was more of a favorite and had a higher overall average. They had a dance-off a few weeks later and O’Hurley won that. So Kelly has a lot to prove coming back to the show. It’s a much different show since the first season and she’s the only contestant to have never done a Cha-Cha-Cha before. The routine itself was pretty safe, but she danced it well and put a lot of energy into it. The judges compleyely love it. Len even said that she never danced as good as that in the original season. As enthusiastic as they were, she didn’t get high score either.
Carrie Ann: 7
Len: 7
Bruno: 7.5
Total: 21.5

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – “Set Fire to the Rain” – Foxtrot
-Kirstie Alley has been one of my favorites on the show. Her freestyle in the finals was one of the best dances the show has ever produced. But she only came in second in the twelfth season. She wants to become the champion this year with her partner, Maksim. Their clip package is very interesting. They are both known for being difficult to work with, so it’s funny to watch them both give shit back and forth to each other. Their routine is well danced, but it goes a little slow compared to the tempo and rhythm of the Adele song. The crowd in the studio absolutely loved it. It was the loudest and longest applause of the evening. Len was cranky because Carrie Ann interrupted him and was very critical of Kirstie because of it. Carrie Ann & Bruno were much more positive about her performance.
Carrie Ann: 6.5
Len: 6
Bruno: 6.5
Total: 19

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – “Chain of Fools” – Cha-Cha-Cha
-Emmitt won the third season of the show with Cheryl and it looks likely they’ll do it again. Cheryl is always known for great choreography and well designed routines and this was one of those. It was fast moving, but Emmitt kept up with pace while still being very precise with his movements. Len loved it and called it the best of the night. This was the highest score routine of the night. I liked Gilles dance the best, but this was a very close second.
Carrie Ann: 8
Len: 8.5
Bruno: 8
Total: 24.5

OVERALL:
I thought it was a strong premiere. This show is always hit or miss for me. The 13th season was one of the most entertaining shows on television, while I didn’t watch a second more than the premiere episode of the 14th season. The show is dependent upon it’s crop of contestants and the all-star twist definitely brought back some of the more entertaining contestants. I’m in for the ride this year. I’m rooting for one of the runners-up or losers to win this time. The winners already have one trophy. Let someone else have it. As for elimination predictions: I think Pamela Anderson could go home. But I can see a case where she sticks around because she was so obviously the weakest (it’s almost too obvious she goes home). I could see Joey Fatone or Melissa Rycroft being a surprise first elimination that gets people talking.

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