Our "Dancing with the Stars" guest blogger Lenni G is back on duty this season, and she loved last night's premiere. Here's her recap:
Proving that "March Madness" can be more than the NCAA basketball tournament, last night's start to Season 14 was a total SLAM DUNK. Have to say this was the best first show EVER! Not a single Star got less than 20 from the judges!!
Here are the details:
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough went first with a cha cha. Len thought Maria "coped very well" but felt she needed "meaner hips." Bruno found her "delicious," but felt she needed to be a bit more "sultry." Carrie Ann felt she did a great job but needed to work on her movement between the various parts of the dance. Thank goodness her dancing is better than her laugh which is just awful. Judges' scores - 7's from all three for a total of 21.
Jack Warner and Anna Trebunskaya followed with a fox trot. Bruno said it was "well acted and danced." Carrie Ann said it took her to "a happy place." Len said it had the "feel good factor" but felt Jack's technique was poor. Not sure Jack had all the personality I like from a star though his dancing was pretty OK. Judges' scores - 8's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 7 from Len for a total of 23.
First WOW moment of the season - Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd (yes, that Peta Murgatroyd is back) with their cha cha. Carrie Ann told Donald he "kicked that cha cha's booty," and he did! Len thought he had flair, and he did! Bruno called him a "full impact diamond in the rough," and he is! Huge props from me to this skinny legged football player who scored a touchdown on his first possession (dance). Judges' scores - 7's from all three for a total of 21. (I thought he should have had at least one 8.)
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff got mixed reviews for their fox trot. Len thought that Gavin was a bit stiff in his arm and leg movements. Bruno thought he showed great charm but needs to work on linking the various moves of a routine. Carrie Ann loved the great musical interpretation. Have to believe last year's champ, Karina, will have Gavin doing the "smooth" real soon. Judges' scores - 7's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 6 from Len for a total of 20.
Total unknown, at least to me, Roshon Fegan, did a killer cha cha with Chelsie Hightower. Bruno said Roshon has "got the beat." Carrie Ann said he did the coolest spin ever in a cha cha. Len thought his performance level was high but his technique level was low. I could not believe how many moonwalk moves he did and how well they worked, at least for this dance. Judges' scores - 8's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 7 from Len for a total of 23.
Second WOW moment of the season - Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy with their totally "foxy" fox trot. Carrie Ann called Sherri the "happiest contestant ever." Len said the whole routine was "fun, fun, fun." Bruno noted how light she was on her feet and felt she lit up the room. I just loved this whole thing - Ms. Sherri has got it going on for sure. Judges' scores - 8's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 7 from Len for a total of 23.
Melissa Gilbert and Maks Chmerkovskiy were next with a cha cha. Len pointed out some technical issues but felt Melissa did a good job with an ambitious routine. Bruno said she has work to do but overall, she was pretty good. Carrie Ann saw great potential and great footwork. I liked the her dancing and loved her rehearsal moments with Maks. Judges' scores - 7's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 6 from Len for a total of 20.
EYE CANDY MOMENT OF THE CENTURY, any century - William Levy! Oh, and he was dancing with Cheryl Burke. Oh, and they did a cha cha. Totally smitten Bruno called William the "hottest package of the season." Totally grateful Carrie Ann thanked ABC for her job for obvious reasons. Totally judgmental Len said William captured the spirit of cha cha. Yep Len, he did, not to mention a few other things. This partnership is HOT! Judges' scores - 8's from all three for a total of 24.
WHO ARE YOU MOMENT - Martina Navratilova looking unbelievably gorgeous in a spangled dress and heels. Carrie Ann said her fox trot with Tony Dovolani was beautiful and refined. Len thought she was close to good but not quite and urged her to be less careful in her execution. Bruno told her she never looked better. And I say, besides looking fabulous, this girl has a chance to be a real good dancer, people. Judges' scores - 7's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 6 from Len for a total of 20.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas did a fox trot that just shimmered. Len loved the musicality and detail in the dance. Bruno called it exquisite and told Katherine she had set the bar very high for the season. I'm totally with Carrie Ann who said it was like watching two dance pros dancing together. Judges' scores - 9's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 8 from Len for a total of 26.
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus did a cha cha to die for. Bruno told Gladys, "The legend is on the loose. You are a star, a real star." Carrie Ann said it made her want to get up and dance. Len said it "oozed rhythm." My thanks to Gladys for showing that those of us in the more mature group can still kick it and kick it hard. Judges' scores - 8's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 7 from Len for a total of 23.
And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Jaleel (Urkel) White and Kym Johnson did an utterly awesome fox trot. Carrie Ann called it icing on the night's cake. Len loved the routine as well as Jaleel's elegance and sophistication. Bruno thought Jaleel had channeled Gregory Hines. I'm sorry, people, this Jaleel person just can't be the Urkel I used to know. Judges' scores - 9's from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 8 from Len for a total of 26.
So there you have it - an incredible first night with all the judge's scores at 20 or above. In fact, the two 26's are the highest ever for a first night. If this dance quality continues, the top score possible may have to be moved to 12. Tune in next Monday for the second set of performances. The first elimination will be on Tuesday night. This is going to be really really good.