SAN DIEGO, September 25, 2012 – Competitors on “Dancing With The Stars” never fail to offer a few surprises. Some exceed expectations; others fall short. But the one thing we now know after Week 1 of the new All-Stars edition of the show: The judges are going to be hard to impress.
With a new scoring system that allows for half-points, judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman are casting a most discerning eye at the All-Stars. They have all proven they can dance. Now the judges want to see more speed and precision, better posture, and the ability by the stars to connect with their partners and with the audience.
This season more than ever, song choices, choreography, costumes and the performance order will greatly influence the outcome, because the dancers are all quite competent.
All of the stars danced either a foxtrot or a cha cha cha. Some of the foxtrot songs were odd choices at best. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough drew “Good Time” by Owl City with Carly Rae Jepson. Hough is a brilliant choreographer and did his best, but the song is no more a foxtrot than a Snoop Dogg rap. Likewise, “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO did not make for the most successful cha cha cha for Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff.
The traditional foxtrot routines fared much better in general. Gilles Marini and partner Peta Murgatroyd showed themselves as one of the favorites with a smooth as silk traditional foxtrot elegantly performed to “Call Me Irresponsible.” They received a score of 24, the highest foxtrot score of the night. Inaba called it “poetic and gorgeous;” Goodman called it “sophisticated.”
But the hit of the night came from the performers in the “Sweet Spot,” the last routine of the night that tends to stick with fans if it’s good, and this one was great. Season 3 champions Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke picked up right where they left off five years ago with a sizzling cha cha cha to “Chain of Fools.” Smith was wearing virtually the same outfit – green shirt, black pants and green dancing shoes – that he wore in the finale of Season 3, and Burke was wearing a similar dress except in black this time. Smith reminded everyone why he earned the nickname “Twinkle Toes,” with an easy charisma reaching out to everyone in the audience while putting on a fluid, fun, energetic cha cha cha.
At the bottom of the leaderboard was Pamela Anderson and Tristan McManus. Anderson played her sultry bad girl role, but she seemed nervous and lost the performance in several places. Unless the fans save her, she will likely be the first star to leave the show.
Also showing great promise with two dynamic cha cha chas full of energy and snap: Sabrina Bryan and Louie Van Amstel, and Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy.
Although she was third from the bottom, the most improved performer is Bristol Palin, who showed much more spark and sass as she danced her cha cha cha with partner Mark Ballas. She is far from the shy teenager who appeared on the show two years ago. And yes, mom and dad Sarah and Todd Palin were in the audience cheering her on.
The biggest disappointment: Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy. Alley did not seem as if she put in enough rehearsal time. Let’s hope she gets up to speed quickly. There will be no room for error this season. But Maks has wildly loyal fans and this couple won’t be going anywhere for a few weeks.
The scores at the end of the evening:
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 24.5
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: 24.0
Sabrina Bryan and Louie Van Amstel: 22.5
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 22.0
Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 22.0
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 21.5
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower: 21.5
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovoloni: 21.0
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson: 20.5
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: 19.5
Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: 19.0
Pamela Anderson and Tristan McManus: 19.0
The first results show of the year on Tuesday night, September 25, 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, will feature live interviews with host Tom Bergeron and the cast, and performances by worldwide musical sensations Pitbull, who debuts his new single “Don’t Stop the Party” from his upcoming album, “Global Warming;” and Justin Bieber, who will perform his current hit “As Long As You Love Me.” And one unlucky couple will find themselves going home.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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