Season eight of Dancing with the Stars opened tonight with 13 new performers, two of which had significantly reduced rehearsal time since they came in for injured stars. Both Jewel and Nancy O’Dell had to drop out last week due to injury (and in O’Dell’s case, she’s headed for surgery and six to eight weeks of rehab).
Here’s a look at the first week’s dances:
Derek & Lil’ Kim: These two look hot together. She was right when she declared herself black Barbie to his Ken. Their cha cha cha was completely respectable as the first dance out of the gate and shows a lot of potential for the future.
Belinda & Jonathan: This was disappointing. I expected Belinda to be more fluid and musical. I know she was having trouble with the twirls in rehearsal, and she did loosen up after the first one, but overall this was one clunky waltz. Bruno, however, was just plain mean comparing her to Cloris… it was no where near that bad.
Lawrence & Edyta: The football players tend to do very well on this show, and Lawrence proved the exception to that rule. He was okay, but man does he need a lot of polishing because the cha cha cha was lacking. Edyta has a lot of work to do to turn him into Jason Taylor.
Steve-O & Lacey: This was the surprise dance of the evening. I expected a buffoonish performance. What I saw was someone determined to do a good waltz and he did display some distinct flashes of good dance. He does need to work on technique, but I think Steve-O is one to watch here.
Gilles & Cheryl: He steamed up the Sex & The City Movie and now he’s heating up the ballroom. One of the best dances of the evening here. Cheryl knows how to get the best out of her partners, and this cha cha cha showed why she might three-peat this season.
Chuck & Julianne: DWTS’ first real-life couple turned in a gorgeous waltz and show good potential as a long running couple for the season.
Holly & Dimitri: Holly Madison, a reality star from the Playboy TV series The Girls Next Door, had just five days to prep as she took over from Jewel. Dimitri got her through a cha cha cha with a decent showing. She seems like a bit of a natural klutz though, so we’ll see how this progresses over the coming weeks.
Chelsie & Ty: I was excited to see Chelsie since I loved her on So You Think You Can Dance. I’m worried she won’t be around look because Ty needs a lot of work. He started stiff and about mid-way he lost the cha cha cha choreography and had a hard time getting it back. Hopefully Chelsie can whip him into shape.
Shawn & Mark: This looks like the couple to beat. Shawn was stunning in this waltz to the degree that it made me weep. It was beautiful, elegant and I think these two will go a long way.
Steve & Karina: This cha cha cha was a big ol’ mess. Good for Steve for coming out and giving this a shot, but he cannot stay too long dancing like this.
David & Kym: Surprise of the night. David can dance. His waltz was quite elegant. He does need to watch his face as it was all over the place with expression and emotion, and often not the right ones.
Denise & Maks: Denise needs to embrace the dance and make it bigger and her own. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t all the good either.
Melissa & Tony: Melissa Rycroft was picked and then dumped by The Bachelor last week and now she’s on Dancing with the Stars filling in for Nancy. The waltz that she worked three days on with Tony was good, mostly because she could lean on her prior ballet training. She started off really good, but can she cut it for the long haul.
After the 13 dances, I think the trophy belongs to Shawn with Gilles, Lil’ Kim and Chuck making up the rest of the final four.
One more important note, I loved Samantha Harris’ sparkly microphone. I still don’t want to hear her speak, but the mic was dazzling!