If the first episode is any indication, then our declaration weeks ago that Brandy is the one to beat on Season 11 of ‘Dancing with the Stars‘ might just be true. And, yes, I know she wasn’t the highest scorer of the night.
The pop star truly shined with partner Maks Chmerkovskiy in a Viennese Waltz featuring the grace, elegance and technical skills of someone with much more experience. (Okay, she did ballroom dance in that ‘Cinderella’ movie, but she swears to us that it was movie-dancing, not real-dancing.) The duo took home one of the highest scores of the night, a 23, which was the same score given to charismatic actor Kyle Massey.
However, methinks Brandy has some serious competition in former ‘Dirty Dancer’ Jennifer Grey, whose Viennese Waltz with partner Derek Hough was also stunning, landing her one point higher for the top score of the night, 24.
On the opposite end of the ballroom, a few surprises landed at the bottom of the opening-night leaderboard – and, no, Bristol Palin wasn’t one of them (shocker?). But a big-mouth reality star was.
A Few Initial Observations:
Sexpot of Season 11: Audrina Patridge is the Nicole Scherzinger of the season … in body alone so far.
Freaky Friday Moment: Was it just me or did 76-year-old Florence Henderson, the eldest among the cast, look younger and hipper than 19-year-old Bristol Palin, the youngest in the cast?
First Tearfall: Someone had to be first and those honors go to Jennifer Grey, who dropped the first tears of the season with a mini-meltdown during rehearsals.
Comic Relief: Who knew the Viennese Waltz could be so funny? Apparently Margaret Cho did! I liked it.
Quote of the Night: “This is virgin territory” – Bruno to one of the most famous non-virgins in America, Bristol Palin.
Hot Mom Flash: If you didn’t see Florence flash her white bra, look it up on YouTube.
Trainwreck Alert: The Hoff’s non-sexy “Sex Bomb” performance. Now this is must-see TV!
So … who did Bruno Tonioli called a show pony? Who does Carrie Ann Inaba have a crush on already? Who got the lowest score? Here’s the lowdown on the much-anticipated season-premiere showdown:
Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovalani: Cha Cha Cha
‘The Hills’ star, “the sexy one” this season, didn’t look as much like a deer in the headlights as I expected. Gone were the blank stares she’s known for on her MTV reality show, and in place was, dare I say, some decent moves. Not great, but decent. Sure, she looked a tad scared and needed to loosen up a bit, but there’s some potential, no? It’s week one after all. “You danced with confidence … a little bit more feisty,” said judge Len Goodman. Bruno Tonioli said, “You looked like a beautify show pony that needs to be pushed to the limit.” Carrie Ann Inaba gave her body kudos.
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya: Viennese Waltz
Looking like Frankenstein in the rehearsal footage, the NFL star – the first quarterback on the show -actually showed some grace once it was show time. Yeah, it was a bit awkward and stiff. I think the issue for Kurt is that he’s just a wee bit boring. I give him props for kissing his wife at the end, though. Nice touch. “You are such a graceful quarterback. You’re a natural,” said Bruno, who sees “great potential.” Carrie Ann also said she sees potential, calling him “natural, graceful and debonair.” Len, however, wasn’t a fan. “It was not graceful,” he argued with Bruno.
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer: Cha Cha Cha
The sitcom star’s dance was helped by two things: 1) a great song choice, a current hit song, 3OH!3 featuring Kesha’s “My First Kiss,” and 2) an entertaining outfit: nerdy schoolboy. The actor’s humor and high energy shined through his silly Cha Cha Cha, but is it enough to get him through the first elimination? The judges think so. Carrie Ann screamed: “I think I just fell in love. You are officially my first crush of Season 11! You are dynamite out there!” Len was calmer: “I liked it.” Bruno stood up and shouted something about being naughty before saying, “I want to take you home!”
Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke: Viennese Waltz
Honestly, it was hard to get past their height difference … until they hit the dance floor and, wowza, they looked gorgeous together. Rick drew laughs in the press room a few times but those were laughs filled with love, and the judges seemed to be wowed by it too. “I thought you danced with great elegance,” said Len. Carrie Ann was a judge in heat, commenting on how much of a “fox” he is. “I was blown away,” she said.
Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel: Viennese Waltz
She’s not just funny, the girl also can rock a funny dance! Earning the first standing ovation of the night, Margaret made a bold choice to purposely get comically wrapped up in her gold cape and stumble. “What the hell was that?” screamed Bruno, before adding about her fierce face, “I thought you were going to eat somebody!” Carrie Ann said, “First of all, you definitely are a lovely and talented lady.” Len thought the Viennese Waltz was an inappropriate dance to bring comedy into.
Brandy and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Viennese Waltz
She sings! She acts! And now we know she dances! Of all 11 hopefuls, Brandy proved to be the most polished. She nailed the steps, nailed the attitude, and nailed the grace and elegance it takes to pull off a Viennese Waltz. “That was so beautiful,” said Carrie Ann. “You can’t win ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in week one, but what you can do is make a fantastic impression. That was fabulous.” Bringing it home with the icky comment of the night was Bruno: “I love the taste of Brandy in the evening.”
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: Cha Cha Cha
When the song title, “Mama Told Me (Not to Come),” was announced, the press room cracked up. Dirty minds. The big reveal of her costume being ripped off to expose a red shimmery Tina Turner-inspired fringe dress wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. “That was a very acceptable performance for week one,” said Len, who suggested she loosen up a little. Mom Sarah Palin, by the way, wasn’t in the audience as expected. “This is virgin territory,” said Bruno, causing everyone backstage to roar in shock. Carrie Ann admitted she thought Bristol might be boring, but was pleasantly surprised.
Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas: Cha Cha Cha
“At my age, you can still be hot and sexy,” said the ‘Brady Bunch’ mom, who I hear is dubbed “Flo-Rida” on the ‘DWTS’ set. Hot and sexy, indeed. She has the legs of a 25-year-old! And her come hither look during the dance was hil-a-rious. “I love your hanky-panky, darling,” said Bruno. “You still got it!” Carrie Ann said the performance was inconsistent, while Len thought it was “great entertainment.”
Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower: Viennese Waltz
Highlight of their package? Chelsie putting the singer in a posture bar that looked more like a torture device. The torture paid off as the singer looked quite debonair in his first waltz. Carrie Ann thought Chelsie led more than he did and that he didn’t smile enough. “I thought you had musicality. I thought you moved around the room well,” said Len.
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff: Cha Cha Cha
Is he kidding us? He called himself the man, the myth, the legend! And thinks fist-pumping equals dancing. There is nothing humble about this kid. “How do you shake it and walk at the same time?” he asked Karina, giving us a great insight into his intellect. And how about those dance faces he made? It was awesomely awful and I only want to watch more. “I’m in an awkward situation, Situation, because I think you’ve got potential. You’re young. You’re fit … You’re just under-rehearsed,” said Len. “You’ve got the guns but not the ammunition.” Carrie Ann told him to “get rid of the ’80s thing,” pointing out his pointing his fingers in the air during his dance.
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: Viennese Waltz
Baby is back! Cheesy joke of the night? Derek asking Jennifer if she is ready to have the time of her life! So, did she dirty dance? There was nothing dirty about this delightful dance. As for those tears, it was over the loss of her former ‘Dirty Dancing’ co-star Patrick Swayze. Fair enough. “Baby is back where she belongs and I tell you I know someone up there is going to be very, very proud of you,” said Bruno. “Something very profound just happened right now,” said a teary-eyed Carrie Ann. “This is a dance that really suited you,” added Len.
David Hasselhoff and Kym Johnson: Cha Cha Cha
“The Hoff” seemed to struggle the most in the rehearsals with his Cha Cha Cha to Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb.” Looking somewhat ridiculous in his black leather-clad outfit and giving off a sleazy vibe complete with hip thrusts, Hasselhoff’s performance was truly cringe-worthy. But don’t we love to watch that just a little bit at this stage of the game? I know I do. “You reminded me of the offspring of Donny Osmond and Jerry Springer,” said Carrie Ann. “I could tell it just felt very sexy to you.” (Operative words: “to you.”) “It’s never too early to panic,” said Len. Bruno said it was “insanity disguised as dance.”
Who do you think did the best in the opener? Who’s going home first? Hit the comments below.