SAN DIEGO, September 16, 2013 – Producers of “Dancing With The Stars” knew they had to freshen up the format of the show to keep their longtime viewers interested and bring in new members of the audience.
So far, the changes have been a big success, and so were the competitors on Week 1 of Season 17. Communities chat room participants and others commenting on social media were dazzled by the competition and thrilled by the new look and feel to the show. They couldn’t have got it more right.
The level of competition was the highest ever for a first week and the scores reflected it. At the top of the leaderboard are early favorites Amber Riley and Derek Hough, with an energetic Cha Cha Cha full of attitude and technique. For only the second time in the show’s history, the judges gave it three nines.
Tied for second with 24 points are Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff, and Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkoskiy. Both performed Contemporary dances with commitment and nothing held back. “Emotion in moiion, said judge Carrie Ann Inaba.
Two of the very pleasant surprises are tied for third at 23 points. Jack Osbourne and Nicole Polizzi were both light on their feet and seemed to thoroughly enjoy their routines. Osbourne and Cheryl Burke performed a Foxtrot with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne looking on in the audience. Osbourne has the same effervescence as his sister Kelly, who placed third in her season on the show. Polizzi showed exceptional technique with her legs in her Cha Cha Cha with partner Sacha Farber and she loves an audience. They are going to love her back.
Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd drew the “Blurred Lines” routine everyone know was going to happen, and the judges liked the potential they saw in the ABC Family actor. He received 22 points, which would normally be an excellent score for Week 1. That’s how tough the competition is this season.
Also in with 22 points were Christina Milian and Mark Ballas with their Contemporary routine. The judges complimented the choreography and urged Milian to trust herself Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told her “You’re better than you think you are… open up!” She will benefit from working with a creative partner like Mark Ballas.
Two foxtrots came in tied with 21 points, Valerie Harper and Tristan McManus, and Leah Remini and Tony Dovoloni. Both oozed class and sophistication, and for two women who had never danced, it was a significant accomplishment. It’s important to remember that Harper is 73, in addition to facing a life-threatening disease, doubly admirable.
The bottom trio based strictly on points were the two Bills, Engvall and Nye, and retired NFL player Keyshawn Johnson. Engvall actually exceeded expectations with a perfectly good Foxtrot with partner Emma Slater. He’s got potential and received three sixes for 18 points. Johnson was a bit stiff and hunched over dancing his Cha Cha Cha with Sharna Burgess. He received two sixes and one five from Len Goodman for 17 points.
Then there was Weird Science on the dance floor. Bill Nye the Science Guy and his partner Tyne Stecklein played their Cha Cha Cha for laughs, but the judges weren’t too amused. While they applauded his effort, the scores were two fives and a four for 14 points. Not the lowest first week score ever, but the lowest this season. Nye has a lot of devoted fans and they were unhappy with the score. They’ll need to vote to help him stick around.
With the competition so tough, there will be no room for having an off week. As good as many of the performers were on night one, they’ve set up a serious challenge for themselves. If they don’t show improvement, their competitors will pass them by and they will find themseles going home.
Former DWTS Champion Helio Castroneves posted this comment on Twitter during the show: “@DancingABC this season is in another level….wow!”
But in the end, no one said it better than Valerie Harper. “It’s good to be alive. It’s even better to be dancing.” Valerie, you speak for all of us.
Fans can vote by phone for only one hour after the show in each time zone. But you can vote for 24 hours on the Dancing With The Stars Facebook page until 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and on ABC.com’s DWTS page.
No more Tuesday night results shows. For the first week, the judges’ scores from week one and week two will be added to fan votes to determine who goes home first next Monday, September 23. A couple will go home at the end of each Monday show.
The Week 1 standings:
Amber Riley and Derek Hough
Cha Cha Cha = 9/9/9 = 27 points
Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff
Contemporary – 8/8/8 = 24 points
Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy
Contemporary – 8/8/8 = 24 points
Snooki Polizzi and Sasha Farber
Cha Cha Cha – 8/8/7 = 23 points
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke
Foxtrot – 8/8/7 = 23 points
Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd
Cha Cha Cha – 7/8/7 = 22 points
Christina Milian and Mark Ballas
Contemporary – 7/7/8 = 22 points
Valerie Harper and Tristan McManus
Foxtrot – 7/7/7 = 21 points
Leah Remini and Tony Dovoloni
Foxtrot – 7/7/7 – 21 points
Bill Engvall and Emma Slater
Foxtrot – 6/6/6 = 18 points
Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess
Cha Cha Cha – 6/5/6 = 17 points
Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein
Cha Cha Cha – 5/4/5 = 14 points
Communities will be back with our second chat of Season 17 on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. After this kind of start, you won’t want to miss a minute.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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