Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!!

Welcome to the premier of Season 11!!

We had our cheese and bread.  We've got our nice bottle of Merlot.  We've had our CAKE!  We are ready!!

I can immediately report that co-host Brook Burke is looking fantastic in purple.  As much as I love the LEGSSES, I also appreciate excellent cleavage...and she has it!

Tonight our pairs try either a Cha Cha Cha or Viennese Waltz.  Here's how the pros do it.

I always fall back on Marcus and Karen Hilton to demonstrate a Viennese Waltz.

And how about Brian Watson and Carmen Vincelj for a Cha Cha Cha demonstration?

Let's see how our celebrities do.

Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani dance Cha Cha Cha.  They worked on choreography for several weeks, but then Tony found out they drew first up.  So he changed some of the choreography and took a risk, starting her on the floor by herself with a little solo.  She's a little timid, but that's to be expected going first I think.  She settled in as the dance went on.  She's got the basic rhythm, but she seemed kind of graceless in her legs.  I liked her hip action.  She's gorgeous, so there's that going for her.  She also has some talent.  I think Tony has a good partner with a great attitude.  She just needs to relax and understand that she has what it takes, and trust Tony.  I thought she was very personable.  I like her.  Judges say 6,7,6 for a total of 19. first slight disagreement.  I thought that was worth at least a couple of 7's.

Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya dance Viennese Waltz.  Well he certainly drew the right style to begin.  I think a Latin style might have been a bit of a disaster.  This allowed him to slow down and concentrate on his footwork.  I appreciate that he's dancing to his height.  He's a tall man and he's not hunching over.  I'm pleasantly surprised, because my perception of Warner as a QB has been of a guy who is a step away from tripping over his own feet.  But he had some grace in this dance.  He took control and led Anna through it, which isn't easy for the male celebrities to figure out this early.  He certainly has a lot of room to improve.  But in his favor, he was confident and seems very genuine.  He clearly has work to do on his feet and his posture.  But he smiled and enjoyed himself.  Judges say 7,5,7 for a total of 19.  I think the 5 is low.  It didn't take long for Len to put on the cranky pants.

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer dance Cha Cha Cha.  The kid has a boat load of personality.  And he's a performer.  But he's carrying some excess weight.  I think he'd do well to take a page out of Warren Sapp's book and try to lighten his step just a little.  The beginning of the dance was a bit rushed and clunky.  And there were parts throughout the routine that looked sloppy, but the young man can dance.  I'm impressed.  He really captured the cheekiness of a good Cha Cha Cha.  If his young fans are paying attention, he's going to be around for awhile.  And he'll pick up some older fans too.  I loved the performance.  It was full of fun and energy.  Lacey gave him some terrific youthful choreography.  And Len said he liked it!  Judges say 8,7,8 for a total of 23.  Great score!  

Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke dance Viennese Waltz.  The height issues could be a problem.  He has to remember not to hunch, and let her dance up to him.  Oh he is graceful and elegant.  His lines are so good.  His footwork is clean.  He's staying tall.  This dance is really impressive.  He stayed tall and kept his frame.  Oh my gosh that was so good.  That dance was sophisticated.  I don't want to throw too much hyperbole, but that's got to be one of the best first dances I've seen.  I couldn't really find anything to pick on, and the judges really couldn't either.  I'm so glad he can do this!  He's one of my early favorites and it would suck to vote just because he's a former Laker.  Now I can vote for him because he's a dang fine ballroom dancer!  Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22.  Huh?  They uniformly praised the dance and threw 7's?  I think that should have been 8's across.

Margaret Cho and Louis van Amstel dance Viennese Waltz.  The tattoos bother me, but at least they were covered during the dance.  Her facial expression was more like she was dancing the Paso than a Waltz.  And I did not like those gold wing thingies.  I want a Viennese Waltz to be an elegant thing, not a comedy.  I'm surprised that Louis did this.  That choreography made her seem like a joke.  I know her thing is comedy, but I felt disrespected.  I think she could have done the dance straight and been successful.  She has more grace than she gave herself credit for, and there just wasn't any need to cover it up with that kind of foolishness.  I'm not happy about Louis' choice here.  The choreography and performance were just annoying.  She had a chance to exercise some demons, but she chose instead to play it for a gag.  Judges say 5's across for a total of 15.

Brandy Norwood and Maks Chmerkovskiy dance Viennese Waltz.  I like her, before she even takes a step.  She's beautiful and sweet.  Throw in the natural grace and elegance, and I'm smiling for Maks.  He's got a partner with whom he can win, who doesn't seem like the ringers he's had in the past.  This is a beautiful and sophisticated dance.  It has elements of the fairy tale to it.  They look terrific together.  Her lines were excellent.  She had a couple of mis-steps, but nothing to be too concerned about.  I'm jazzed because two of my pre-show favorites are good at this!  Judges say 7,8,8 for a total of 23.  Again I think that's low...I think it should have been at least 8's across.  She's so cute with her reaction!  I'm going to enjoy her this season.

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas dance Cha Cha Cha.  Well.  I was going to say that she's a little insecure, but then she threw the hips out there.  And she flirted with Mark.  She played the character pretty well.  She was a little stiff in some parts of the dance.  But you know what?  She didn't make any major errors with the choreography.  She got the steps and the character.  She was nervous, but she got through it.  I think she can do the dancing.  Her biggest thing is going to be learning to perform.  She has to let her smile be more real, rather than the plastered on I-have-to-be-in-front-of-the-camera-while-my-mom-is-making-this-speech smile.  I think she did pretty well for having no performance experience at all.  Good for you young Lady!  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18.

Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas dance Cha Cha Cha.  She's 76 years old y'all and she's shakin' that booty.  She's in pretty good shape too.  I loved it!  You have to applaud the old broad for getting out there and doing that as well as she did.  She's a bit of a hot Nana.  Of course she's not going to be great with technique, and there are going to be some awkward moments and some things she just won't be able to do.  Her strongest asset is going to be performance.  And Corky is a great partner.  She has fun and brings the audience onto the floor with her.  I hope we get to see her do at least one ballroom style.  I think she earned that because she took a cheeky dance and made it cheekier, whereas I thought Ms Cho took an elegant dance and made it a joke.  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18.

Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower dance Viennese Waltz.  Gosh, he's in the middle of touring while he's doing this.  In rehearsal footage, he was really hunched over.  He's still got some of that lean in his upper body, but you can see how hard he has worked on it.  He is not graceful, and it's clear that he's not leading Chelsie.  That's OK, because he's not really making any mistakes with his steps.  He's just not elegant.  I do applaud him for getting through it though.  The rehearsal footage clearly showed how far out of his element he was.  He's got so much to learn about technique.  The one thing he does have going for him is musicality.  So he'll have to relax, trust the steps, and have some fun.  Judges say 6,5,5 for a total of 16.

Mike Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff dance Cha Cha Cha.  Unlike the rest of the celebrities, Mike has only had a week to learn the first choreography.  To his credit, he did OK for only 5 days of rehearsal.  And he didn't disrespect the ballroom.  He was relaxed and confident, which helped him get through the dance.  There is some potential there, although I think he's going to have issues with his feet because he is very pidgeon-toed.  The dancing was a kind of sloppy for the most part, and the movements weren't really connected and smooth.  It's unclear whether that was just because he didn't have enough time to rehearse.  There's a little too much personality for my taste, but I'm not going to hold that against the young man.  That's evidently what made him a celebrity.  Len put him in his place a bit, so we'll see how things go from here.  Judges say 5's across for a total of 15.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough dance Viennese Waltz.  Nobody puts Baby in a corner!  Yeah, I can't promise that'll be the last time you see that.  Heheheheheheheee!  Naturally they gave her a song from Dirty Dancing and she had an emotional overload, remembering Patrick Swayze.  Ahhhhh.  Absolutely beautiful.  Lovely smooth lines.  Classy, romantic, elegant, and sophisticated.  And emotional.  They told a wonderful story together, that developed into a tribute to her relationship with Patrick.  I love that she and Derek allowed that onto the floor.  It made the performance that much more special.  I'm so glad to see Jennifer Grey on this show and dancing with Derek.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.

David Hasselhoff and Kym Johnson dance Cha Cha Cha.  I found that awkward and kind of creepy.  I can't even describe it.  The footwork wasn't very good.  For a singer, he really had very little musicality.  I never thought you could say this about a Cha Cha Cha, but it was too much cheek.  Cho played it as a joke, Florence was charmingly cheeky, but The Hoff was just bizarre.  Judges say 5's across for a total of 15.

Here's our very first leader board of the season:

24 Jennifer and Derek
23 Brandy and Maks
23 Kyle and Lacey
22 Rick and Cheryl
19 Audrina and Tony
19 Kurt and Anna
18 Bristol and Mark 
18 Florence and Corky
16 Michael and Chelsie
15 Mike and Karina
15 David and Kym
15 Margaret and Louis

I'm happy!  We enjoyed most of the performances.  A few of the celebrities surprised us...some to the good and some to the not so good.

Pam and I are in sync.  We loved Jennifer & Derek, Rick & Cheryl, and Brandy & Maks.  We split votes among the three of them.

Tune in tonight when we eliminate our first pair, and check back here tomorrow for the usual encores and results!

Later gang!


  1. Admin says:

    I really admire Jennifer Grey 's tribute to Patrick Swayze. She's doing Dancing with the Stars for him, class.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    According to reports here David Hasselhoff did rather well. :0

  1. Jaye says:

    Looking forward to the vids Trav, you've really whet my appetite :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I can't believe I fell asleep before Michael Bolten's turn! Goodnight was studying for a science test and I was waiting for her to come downstairs so I could quiz her and zzzzzzzzzz. I woke up when it was all over and had to read about it on your blog. I didn't even have any wine or cake!

  1. Jamie says:

    Got to watch it on tape. So glad Jennifer did as well as I knew she could. Now if she can get her whole career back. Who knew one nose job could mess up a life?

  1. I missed the last three, but they are awaiting me on TiVo tonight. I liked brandy and Rick...Michael Bolton and Margaret Cho did nothing for me

  1. There was dancing last night!? I'm sorry, I must have missed it because my attention was focused on Brooke's dress. Yes it was!

  1. missed it last night...but reading your recap while watching the recap.

    no faves yet.

  1. thanks for the and pam are really great

  1. Admin: Agreed.

    Akelamalu: I guess it's a matter of opinion. I didn't think he was very good.

    Jaye: There's plenty!

    GGG: Oh no! Well at least he made it through the first cut, so you'll be able to see him next week.

    Jamie: No kidding. I hope she's able to grow and improve each week. I think she's got the drive.

    V: I was really bothered by what Margaret and Louis did.

    Driller: HA!

    Katherine: I hope you can take some enjoyment out of this season. And you are most welcome.

  1. Debra says:

    I've got to learn how to Tivo and start watching this. It really looks like an interesting group this time. I have to work every Tuesday night so I don't get a chance to watch!!!

    Keep us posted!