|Nothing like blocking off large segments of Hollywood Blvd. for the community to love you.|
And BOY, did they have a splashy first show. Look at this! (above) Through deft uses of social media (telling everyone on Facebook to come down and be a part of this), they got tons of people out to dance. Fun stuff! (Thank you, Mandy Moore, for your always inventive opening numbers.)
|Andy Grammar and Allison Holker.|
So, let's just focus on the first night (the real show). And it was CRAZY. I mean that on many levels. Crazy because of wacky, crowd-filled opening numbers like the above. But also crazy cause: Gary Busey. :-0 But we'll get to that.
What do you want first, the fantastic? or the sucky? Hm...
Well, unlike other first shows (the last two seasons come to mind in particular), where there was a clear winner from the first episode, this week's show was not like that. There were, in fact, a number of competitors who stepped up in Week 1 to give us some amazing dances.
There were also several really cringe-worthy competitors whom I really want to go away. And really not much middle ground. Some who came to play, and others who must leave.
|Kim and Tony|
*Don't give me crap about not looking up their names. They aren't going to be around long, and I don't care.
Following in the "I'm so huge, I can't move" mode of Patti LaBelle from last season, this season we have Chaka Khan, paired with Keo, who really just can't catch a break, and will not get past Week 3 (IMHO).
It's a mixed blessing this season with the Pros (who are all I really care about). Some of our passionate favorites (Kym Johnson, Peta Murgatroyd, Tristan McManus) are gone (or still gone), but others (the wondrous Anna Trebunskya) are back! I still miss Cheryl Burke so much, and I did miss Karina Smirnoff, but this season (YAY!), she's back!
Sadly, she's paired with jockey Victor someone* who won a bunch of horse races recently with American Phaeroh. They won't be long for this season.
So, is that all for our stunt casting? Oh no, there's MORE!
It's arguable which one of these I want to go home more, but a good case could be made for Paula Deen, who just doesn't seem able to SHUT UP.
She's paired with Louis Amstel, another of our beloved pros whom we are glad to see return. However, yes, I do think I really hate Paula Deen the most. Also, she's a racist. Has everyone forgotten that? Seriously, get her off this stage. (Sorry, Louie.)
And then... ugh... First, I must say that I really and truly love Anna Trebunskaya. I wish she'd be in every season. She is such a joy to watch, always. And she must really want to be back on the show, too, to have agreed to be paired with Gary Busey.
It cracks me up that ABC actually was trying to highlight his Academy Award nomination two centuries ago. Sorry, ABC, but right now, this man is a complete basket case who may need a mental institution. He's straight-up batshit crazy. And some of that is enjoyable the same way watching a train wreck is enjoyable (as in you can't turn your head away), but at some point, you really must close your eyes and move on.
So, I'm really torn. I love Anna so much that I'm almost willing to endure this wreck of humanity before us. Ugh.
PLEASE TAKE THESE PEOPLE OFF MY SCREEN NOW
1. Paula Deen
2. Chaka Khan
3. That jockey dude
4. Kim the Housewife
5. Gary Busey
Really, they could go away in any order, but I hope it resembles the above. Thankfully, we have a double elimination coming up (one on Monday, one on Tuesday), so I predict at least two of these people will be gone. WHEW!
So, let's get to the real competitors, shall we? The ones who'll stick around for more than a few weeks?
Ah, just seeing that picture puts the air back in the room. Ah! Bindi and Derek were my favorites from Week 1. Loved Steve Irwin, her dad, who died. Love Bindi. Wasn't sure how her dancing would be, but it turns out to be pretty amazing. Of course, she's dancing to "Crocodile Rock." And it was wondrous, a joy to behold.
But unlike the past two seasons, when the one competitor was so far above the others, Miss Bindi did have some competition (any one of which, depending how the season goes) could take the crown. For example, one of last season's finalists, Sharna Burgess, is paired with one of the Backstreet Boys (Nick Carter).
What's it like to dance with one of your crushes? Sharna lets us know, and it's a joy to watch.
Don't count out last season's winner, either. The wondrous and amazing Valentin Chmerkovskiy is this season paired with Taymor Braxton (whom I think is Toni Braxton's sister, but mostly they talked about her cohosting The Real).
Dunno. This one could go either way. She seems to have a whole lotta attitude, so at this moment I don't see them winning. (But I love Val, so who knows?)
Then, we have a husband-wife team, neither of which I really heard of before.
The husband is named Carlos, and he's paired with Witney. They were pretty awesome.
The wife is named Alexa... I guess she was one of the Spy Kids, but has grown up... anyway, she's paired with my always favorite, Mark Ballas. And I am right now getting down on my knees and thanking God because this season, for the first time in I think five seasons, he's paired with someone who: 1. isn't overly religious or conservative 2. doesn't have issues about costuming 3. isn't a teenager
So whatever happens, there won't be any costuming constraints. Thank the heavens!
Although I suppose it's a different set of constraints when you're trying to do a sexy number, and your husband is RIGHT THERE... but we'll see what happens. He's already asked if she can take home this first costume. (I see that as a good sign of what's to come.)
Dunno. This couple could be way fun, or they could be annoying as hell, but this week, I'm choosing to see it as FUN.
So, really, those are the top contenders (and the bottom feeders). The middle ground (the next three couples) all have the potential to rise up and become top contenders.
My favorites Allison (Holker, love her) and Andy Grammar.
Love watching Allison in anything she does. Her first partner was pretty full of himself. Her second partner (last season) was good, and matched her, but they never really could do a convincing romantic number. Andy looks capable of that, but is he capable of going all the way? Not sure yet.
Three Americans stop a terrorist on a train in France. I can just see the phone calls flying: Let's see if we can get one of them on Dancing! Sure enough, here he is: Alek Skarlotos.
But here's the shocker. He's actually GOOD. Never danced before, and yet, I seriously put these two in the running for the Mirror Ball. Never thought I'd be saying that.
Also, I'm calling it here now: this guy is going to be one of the next Bachelors. He is so handsome and adorable and modest and wonderful.
Lastly, dancing with a 15-year-old Internet sensation, we have the amazing Emma Slater. These dances with teens are always dicey, but the first one went off well.
Don't know if they can win it, but I think they'll be fun to watch for a bit anyway.
Dancing with the Stars Season 21 WEEK ONE
1. Derek and Bindi (jive to Crocodile Rock)
2. Sharna and Nick
3. Val and Taymar (quickstep)
4. Witney and Carlos (jive)
5. Mark and Alexa (jive)
6. Allison and Andy (foxtrot)
7. Lindsey and Alek (foxtrot)
8. Emma and Hayes
Forget the rest, they are just window dressing.
These are the judges this season. Len may be back at a future time, but these three are it for now. I hope they all learn to behave. Also, congrats to Julianne and Derek, who just won an Emmy for choreography for the incredible Empty Heart dance they did last season.
So, for better or worse, this is the cast for Season 21. God help us.