Because we have a North Carolina native -- Kellie Pickler -- competing on "Dancing with the Stars" this season, we convinced our correspondent Lenni G to give us a hand again with recaps. Here's what Lenni says about last night's season premiere.
Thought last night was a good start to the new season. And, especially thought that our NC dancer, Kellie Pickler, was fabulous. Kellie and pro partner, Derek Hough, opened the show with a fantastic cha cha. Len said it was "Yum, Yum, Yum." Yes it was! Bruno said she went "full blast." Yes she did. Carrie Ann complimented her on her "fantastic torso" and said she was a great combination of "sass and class." I totally agree. She has never looked better and her personality is just endearing. Judges scores - 7's from all three for a total of 21.
Boxing champion, Victor Ortiz, and his partner, new pro Lindsay Arnold, danced a fox trot. Bruno loved his Latin charm. Carrie Ann said he had great posture and also found him charming. FIRST PMS MOMENT OF THE SEASON - Len thought the dance was "uneventful" (whatever that means), and said he must do better next week. I thought his performance was quite good and that his back story of support for his family was even better. Judges scores - 6's from all 3 for a total of 18.
Ingo Rademacher, otherwise known as General Hospital's "Jax", danced the first contemporary number ever on this show with his partner, Kym Johnson. "Lift monitor", Carrie Ann, advised us that lifts, lots of lifts, are expected in contemporary so no foul for doing them in this dance. She thought Ingo had a great connection with Kym and the music, Bruno thought it was good overall, and, then there was Len. He was not happy and I'm not sure why. Actually, Carrie Ann and Bruno weren't sure either. Len, honey, contemporary routines are not like standard ballroom dancing. Get over it! Judges' scores - 7's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 6 from Len for a total of 20.
Next up, "Real Housewife", Lisa Vanderpump, and new pro, Gleb Savchenko, doing a fox trot. I loved the review of this couple's first rehearsals together. Clearly, Lisa was not ready to match "private parts" in this dance with Gleb and told him that frequently. Um, Lisa, private part matching is essential to dancing and you will just have to deal with it. Len thought the routine was acceptable, not exceptional. Bruno told her he knew she was happy with the "puppy," and I don't think he was talking about her dog, Jiggy, who was on stage at the beginning of the dance. Carrie Ann thought the dance suited her but felt she was a bit out of sync. I'm hoping she can find a way to embrace the passion of dance. Judges scores - 6's from all three for a total of 18.
OH NO MOMENT - D. L Hughley with the incomparable Cheryl Burke doing the cha cha. I have to assume that Cheryl has a vacation planned after the first week of competition since they paired her with D. L. Really not good at all. Bruno said, "OMG, you terminated the cha cha." Carrie Ann uttered a "yikes" and told him he needed to work harder. Len said it was rough and that he would have to be lots better next week in the quick step. My feeling is that D. L.'s quick step will probably look just like his cha cha and that Cheryl will be off to greener dancing pastures at the end of the results show. Judges scores - 4's from all three for a total of 12.
FABULOUS MOMENT - Sixteen year old Zendaya Coleman and her partner, Val Chmerkovskly, with a to-die-for contemporary routine. Carrie Ann told her she showed amazing maturity. (If her dancing is any indication, I'm guessing the new 16 looks like the old 30). Len said simply and forcefully - "That was Great." Bruno told her she was sweet 16 and superb. I'm with Len - she was great, just unbelievably great. Judges scores - 8's from all 3 for a total of 24.
"The Bachelor", Sean Rowe, and The Peta Murgatroyd, did a fox trot that was good, bad and in between. Len said he liked it but not a lot, citing lack of finesse, poor quality of movement, wildness, and a need for refinement. I'm confused as to what Len liked about it. Bruno said for a "dance virgin," he had good pelvic thrust." Carrie Ann loved his "fearless exuberance" and told him he'll go far. I think Carrie Ann may be right and let's not forget, he has a huge fan base from the Bachelor thingie. Judges scores - 7 from Len, 6's from Bruno and Carrie Ann for a total of 19.
Olympic gymnastic star, Aly Raisman, and partner, Mark Ballas, did the cha cha. Bruno told her she can shake it and was impressed. Carrie Ann saw potential but told her not be so "safe." Len loved the vitality in the dance. I'm thinking that Aly will probably have to get over the precise, rigid nature of gymnastics and just "go with the flow" of dancing, ala fellow gymnast and DWTS champion, Shawn Johnson. Judges scores - 7's from all three for a total of 21.
PRETTY MOMENT- Classy Dorothy Hamill and partner, Tristan MacManus, with a beautiful contemporary routine. If you were privileged to watch Dorothy when she skated, you can never forget how much elegance she brought to the rink. Looks like she'll be bringing it to the dance floor as well. Carrie Ann called it a "golden, heartfelt performance." Len loved the gentleness of it. Bruno said, "The ice queen melted my heart." Judges scores - 7's from all 3 for a total of 21.
Wynonna Judd and partner, Tony Dovolani, did a gospel-themed cha cha that clearly showed that Wy can "shake her money maker." Len called it a good performance. Bruno said she was "tantalizing" him and he want her to deliver more. (From the look on her face, I'm thinking she can and will). Carrie Ann congratulated her for "working it," and told her, "you've got it honey." I have been a big fan of Wynonna for years and was just over the moon that her first performance was really nice to watch. Judges scores - 6's from all 3 for a total of 18.
Andy Dick and new pro, Sharna Burgess, drew a fox trot for their first dance. Must say I was prepared to call Andy the "train wreck of the night" but, amazingly, he was not all bad. Bruno said he had "skittish charm" and that he looked like Woody Allen. Carrie Ann said, "You touched me with the dance." Len liked the choreography, but just had to add that Andy had the fluidity of "Robo Cop." There are few folks in the world more emotionally scarred than Andy, but I have to give him huge props for finding a way to go forward with this show. Judges scores - 6's from Bruno and Len, 5 from Carrie Ann for a total of 17.
Last couple of the night, Jacoby Jones, and partner Karina Smirnoff, danced a cha cha that confused me. As Carrie Ann said, "You've got the moves, but it seemed like you were doing a medley of touchdown dances." Len called it, "All icing, no cake." Bruno, trying to be kind said, "I think you have the potential, but you've got to work on your feet and posture." I'm going to cut Jacoby some slack since he only had one week to really rehearse after having knee surgery after the pro football season ended. Judges scores - 7's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 6 from Len for a total of 20.
Coming up next Monday - all twelve couples dance again for judges scores and viewer votes. Results will be a combination of the scores from this show and next week's show. Be There!!!!