Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Geez.  That music makes me giddy.  I love it!

We begin a little differently tonight.  No fru fru finery.  No cheese and bread.  Pam's Seahawks are on Monday Night Football against Green Bay, so she's got her jersey.  We've had our subs from Jimmy Johns.  We did get a nice merlot and CAKE.  There's always CAKE.

So I shall begin our All Star Season 15 while Pam watches the end of the game.

Are you excited?  Are you ready? 

Yes and yes!

Let's begin!

Our 13 pairs dance either Cha Cha Cha or Foxtrot.

Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson dance Cha Cha Cha.  That was quite an upbeat routine with lots of energy.  I liked the Cha Cha Cha content.  I thought most of his steps were clean and crisp.  And I like that Kym put in a lot of side by side work to emphasize Joey's style.  Unfortunately he had some trouble going from those cool steps to his posture in hold for Cha Cha Cha content.  I want to see him work on those transitions so one movement goes smoothly to another.  I appreciated the performance, but I think he'll have to really work on recapturing the footwork and posture that he did so well before on the show.  Judges say 6.5,7,7 for a total of 20.5.

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough dance Foxtrot.  When she danced on the show before, she surprised me with her elegance.  I expected the power, but she had a grace as well.  In this dance, she contained and focused that power and let the grace and elegance lead the way through the routine.  Plus, she's so full of personality and charm.  Derek knows exactly how to choreograph to her strengths.  That was a light and fluffy routine, but with difficult steps that Shawn performed just about flawlessly.  I enjoyed the performance and I thought her technique was terrific.  It wasn't a traditional Foxtrot, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of it.  And, she's a grown up now so I can call her sexy and not feel creepy about it.  Hehehe.  Judges say 8,6.5,7.5 for a total of 22.

Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel dance Cha Cha Cha.  She is such a strong dancer and I think Louis is the perfect partner for her.  He's going to give her difficult choreography and she is going to execute.  All she has to do is get the fans on her side.  Her transitions are terrific.  She's got great balance coming out of those spins, however she was going for it so much that she was on the edge in a couple of spots and that threw off her timing.  But I loved her posture and her footwork.  She's got the right attitude.  She's taking nothing for granted, and she's going for it.  Strong opening performance.  Judges say 7.5s across for a total of 22.5.

Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower dance Foxtrot.  Charm and elegance and a sense of fun...that's what endeared Helio to fans last time.  I expect those to be his strengths again this season.  I love his knee bend and the rise and fall.  This routine plays right to his strength as a performer because it emphasizes the movement he does well and lets his personality shine.  There were some parts when he got his feet turned in rather than out, and that made a couple of his lines a bit awkward and caused him to lose his balance.  But other than that the performance was very enjoyable.  And he got a standing ovation before he even began dancing, so you know he's going to be a fan favorite.  Judges say 7,7.5,7 for a total of 21.5.

Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus dance Cha Cha Cha.  She looks very tentative, which surprises me.  I remember her really going for it when she was on the show before.  I think maybe she was trying too much to play the character and she didn't focus enough on the steps.  That was actually underwhelming.  She didn't respect the dance.  I'm really disappointed.  She didn't have her feet under her, and that impacted her hips.  The one thing she should be able to do is work her Cha Cha Cha hips.  The level of competition is such that this isn't going to be good enough.  She's going to have to dance, not just be sexy and try to act the part.  Judges say 5.5,5.5,6 for a total of 17.

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani dance Foxtrot.  I love this partnership.  I expect Tony to really step up his choreography with her, because she can handle it.  This is a great story Foxtrot.  Melissa did things in that routine that few of the other celebrities are going to be able to do.  She had great technique and the choreography was unique and creative.  Her lines and extensions are amazing.  The only thing missing was a little more work in hold and closer body contact in that hold.  It was a Foxtrot after all.  But that's picking nits.  I loved the performance and I think it really showed off what Melissa and Tony can do this season.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.

Seahawks update:  Pam said it, not me.  Seattle got a gift.  On the last play of the game, the officials gave a catch to receiver Golden Tate that he didn't earn.  The ball was pick off by Green Bay in the end zone.  The defensive back had the possession with both feet on the ground in the end zone.  Tate had his arm in there.  The officials called simultaneous possession, which always goes to the offensive player.  TD Seattle.  Seahawks win, 14-12. 

Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff dance Cha Cha Cha.  So much for being rusty and not remembering anything.  When he won with Julianne Hough, they both seemed so young.  The relationship between them was very brother-sister and sweetly romantic.  This is an older, more mature, and sexier partnership with Karina.  This routine had great Cha Cha Cha content.  I thought his footwork could have been a bit more crisp and maybe a little more control over his hip action.  But what I liked was his extensions and his lines.  He always has attention to detail.  He is going to continue to improve, just like before.  Judges say 7.5,7,7.5 for a total of 22.

Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd dance Foxtrot.  He has such classic lines for ballroom styles.  Elegance, grace, sophistication.  Peta made a perfect choice to design such a standard Foxtrot.  The thing that always impressed me about Gilles was his ability to immediately understand how to lead his partner.  He took control of the dance and looked like a pro.  He looks like a Hollywood movie star from the 40s.  He'd be right at home in an old Fred Astaire musical.  I loved his technique.  And I have to agree with Peta from the rehearsal footage...she did hit the jackpot in this partnership.  They have great chemistry together.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas dance Cha Cha Cha.  She can actually do this.  she has natural rhythm and good musicality.  Her problem when she was on the show before was her shyness.  When she let go of it and just focused on dancing with Mark, she did very well.  This was a good effort.  She had the steps and her footwork was pretty clean.  She had good hip action and she performed the routine with Mark.  She's in great shape.  She had confidence.  She seems to be her own person this time around, and that should serve her very well.  As long as she pays attention to technique and remembers to have fun, she should be just fine.  Judges say 6.5s across for a total of 19.5.

Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya dance Foxtrot.  What I like about Drew is  his intensity and attention to detail.  He works until he gets the steps and then he adds the little touches that turn the dance into a complete performance.  One thing that always bothered me about his dancing was his tendency to be a bit jerky and stiff in his movement.  There are times when he does a kind of stutter-stop-and-go.  Len said it...hard and hectic.  I enjoyed the routine, but I want to see Drew dance with more smoothness and grace.  He and Anna have great chemistry.  But he's got to work on making his frame and posture less rigid.  Judges say 7,7,7.5 for a total of 21.5.

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy dance Cha Cha Cha.  I remember Season 1 and how she improved week after week.  She went from totally awkward and confused to champion in 6 weeks.  I like this classic style Cha Cha Cha.  Val has put in so much content, and Kelly nailed all of it.  She rocked that dance.  She had great hip action.  Her footwork was excellent.  In the short first season, she didn't do Cha Cha Cha.  She danced it here like she had done it forever.  She and Val are great together.  She's got a lot of potential.  She needs to work on her leg extension and keeping her shoulders down.  Other than that, great job and terrific performance.  Judges say 7,7,7.5 for a total of 21.5.

Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy dance Foxtrot.  Her DWTS journey was so inspiring two years ago, but I didn't actually care for this dance.  Some of that was due to the choreography.  It didn't feel like a Foxtrot.  I thought her footwork was a bit awkward and heavy.  The dance didn't feel honest.  She acted her way through it.  She knows how to to pull her posture up and get her shoulders down, and how to extend through the movements.  That's where the drama and performance should come from.  I don't think this was a great effort.  She ended up out of breath, so I suspect that as she rounds back into better shape, that technique will come back.  That's exactly what happened last time.  She's very good when she puts her focus to what she wants to do.  Judges say 6.5,6,6.5 for a total of 19.

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke dance Cha Cha Cha.  Emmitt was such a revelation in Season 3.  He totally shocked me with his ability to dance.  He was so relaxed and comfortable.  He was confident.  Damn.  Now this time around I expected him to be this good.  But he's even better than I anticipated.  That was incredible.  He was on every step.  His timing was outstanding.  His musicality was spot on.  But what makes everything go is his style and charm.  He just stepped on the floor and took control of the entire competition.  That's about as close to perfect as you get on the first night.  The partnership between Emmitt and Cheryl is like your favorite sweatshirt.  Judges say 8,8.5,8 for a total of 24.5.

Here's our first leader board:

24.5 Emmitt and Cheryl
24.0 Gilles and Peta
22.5 Sabrina and Louis
22.0 Shawn and Derek
22.0 Apolo and Karina
21.5 Kelly and Val
21.5 Drew and Anna
21.5 Helio and Chelsie
21.0 Melissa and Tony
20.5 Joey and Kym
19.5 Bristol and Mark
19.0 Kirstie and Maks
17.0 Pamela and Tristan

Yes, you saw the scores correctly.  Because these are All Stars and have been through this before, there is a half point option for the judges to further differentiate the pairs.  I like that change.

We didn't vote.  We like most of these pairs and we're not ready to narrow down our focus yet.  We're just going to enjoy the dancing for a few weeks and see what happens.

It's autumn, my favorite season.  My favorite network shows are back this week.  Some new shows are coming on that might make the favorite list. 

And DWTS is back.  All is well.

You remember the drill, right?  Tune in tonight for the results show, and check back here tomorrow for my encores and results recap.

Later gang!


  1. Honestly, my knee is just killing me and it actually hurts to see just those poses never mind the actual video! Owie!

  1. Akelamalu says:

    You're really enjoying this aren't you? :)

  1. Jean(ie) says:

    Cake? You lost me once you mentioned cake... yum... I want cake!

  1. Merlot with subs from Jimmi Johns? You are a modern renaissance man, my friend! ;)

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Evening shift made me miss it. However, I come here to catch up ;)
    Emmit is my fav, Pam is first out. Let's see!

  1. Anonymous says:

    As awful as Pam was I kinda felt badly for her. She seemed so sad and frustrated. Helio made me smile...big!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Travis...the above comment was me.....Julie Rose!

  1. Cherie says:

    I was able to watch it on Hulu tonight. I wanted to see the All Stars. Great opening night. Emmet was great, and wearing those green shoes demonstrated a lot of confidence, but I would give Gilles "best dance" of the night.

    It's going to be a great season!