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Dancing with the Stars: Week One Performances

(Alternately titled: We’ve Got a Situation in Here)

Is there a more comforting sound than the gentle bellow of “Liiiiiive from Hollywood … This. Is. Dancing. With the Stars!”? I think not. And so friends, it is with great pleasure that I return this season to recap the highs, the lows, and the fringe pants of Dancing with the Stars, Season 11 (eleven!). Let’s peek inside this cabinet of curiosities, go down the rabbit hole, and enjoy the sweet bliss that is reality television.

Two things worth mentioning before we get to the dancing – Margaret Cho slipped on the staircase while making her entrance during the opening cattle call, which does not bode well. More importantly, Mike Sorrentino will only be known as “The Situation” on this show. Not Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, but merely as “The Situation.” Anyone else pitying Karina yet?

Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani – Cha Cha: Well, well, this was a pleasant surprise. I don’t know what I expected of Audrina, but she was much better than I thought she would be. Of course, being week one, her footwork lacks some finesse and she looked a little lost in moments, but overall – I thought this was a great first routine. Len said she danced with confidence, Bruno called her a “beautiful show pony that needs to be pushed to the limit” (glad that he didn’t waste any time making inappropriate comments – well done, Bruno) and Carrie Ann said she has the right attitude for this show. Scores: 6-7-6.

Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya – Viennese Waltz: Kurt is a puzzle. On the one hand, for this being a waltz, there were a lot of sharp movements and I think I may have even spotted an instance of jazz hands. On the other (jazz) hand, he had moments of real potential. And even though he missed the flow, he managed to get the “rise and fall” piece of the waltz down, which should be impossible, and yet …. like I said, he’s a puzzle. Bruno said Kurt is a graceful quarterback, Carrie Ann said she saw potential, and Len said the dance lacked grace. Clearly, the judges are as puzzled as I am. Scores: 7-5-7.

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer – Cha Cha: Lacey, that new blonde hair of yours is downright Lohan-esque. Why? This dance pointed out what I think is a fatal flaw with Lacey – she often choreographs for herself, and so, Kyle did the same three steps while Lacey danced around him the entire time. And don’t get me wrong – the steps that Kyle did do, he did well, but he’s going to need more content in his dances if he hopes to do well in this competition (in other news, I have turned into Len). Carrie Ann said she has a crush on Kyle, Len liked it (!!!), and Bruno called Kyle “a naughty, adorable little puppy.” Um. Scores: 8-7-8.

Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke – Viennese Waltz: Ah, NBA players. With great height comes great awkwardness on the dance floor. I swear Cheryl must have some insane thing in her contract that lets her pick her partners, because it seems so ridiculous to pair up one of the shortest professionals with the tallest celebrity. Apart from the fact that Rick looks like a dad dancing with his toddler daughter, he actually did really well. His footwork needs work, but it’s only week one. Len said Rick danced with great elegance, Bruno seems to think Kurt and Rick will be ballroom rivals, and Carrie Ann went there and called him a fox. Scores: 8-7-7.

Margaret Cho and Louis Van Amstel – Viennese Waltz: When Margaret first started, I thought, dear me, she’s actually really good. And then they started introducing “comedy” into the routine. I watched this back a few times, and I still can’t quite comprehend it. It involved golden wings and Margaret twirling and then becoming tangled in her golden wings and eventually blinded by them. Then ballroom dancing saved the day, except – whoops – she is clumsy and falls at the end and cannot get up. Or something. Bruno echoed the thoughts of a nation and yelled, “WHAT THE [heck] WAS THAT?!” Carrie Ann said it was overly dramatic, and Len said it was inappropriate. Scores: 5-5-5.

Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Viennese Waltz: Maks has decided he will no longer be the “bad boy of the ballroom.” I assume this is because The Situation is here, and there is only room for one of them. Brandy, who obviously has experience performing on stage, is very confident out on the floor, which is a good thing. She had a few wild arm movements, but this was a solid first performance. Carrie Ann said she dances a little too strong, Len said she made a great first impression, and Bruno said “I love the taste of Brandy in the evening.” (Seriously – is Bruno drunk? Because I can’t decide if he’s offensive or awesome. Let’s go with offsome.) And then, just when I was starting to like Brandy, she said in her backstage interview, “I know it looks like I’ve [had dance training] but I haven’t.” Get over yourself! It’s week one – sheesh. I hope she goes home tomorrow.  Scores: 7-8-8.

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas – Cha Cha: Ah, the one so many people have been waiting for. So how’d she do? Well, the whole “my costumes will be modest” thing went out the window pretty quickly. The dancing was sort of like what happens at a wedding after one of the bridesmaids has too much champagne. It wasn’t the trainwreck I think a lot of people were expecting, but Mark definitely has his work cut out for him. Len called it “an acceptable performance,” Bruno said she needs to work on her performance, and Carrie Ann said she has fantastic legs. Scores: 6-6-6.

Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas – Cha Cha: Oh Florence, please don’t try to be Cloris Leachman. Please. You’re better than that. This routine was like Kyle’s – there just wasn’t much to it. It’s hard to tell which way the votes will go here. Bruno muttered something incomprehensible that ended with “hanky panky,” Carrie Ann said it’s clear Florence is having the time of her life, and Len called it great entertainment. Scores: 6-6-6.

Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower – Viennese Waltz: Another pleasant surprise! Although I guess at this point is shouldn’t be surprising – Chelsie is an amazing teacher. Michael is a little wooden at times, but I found this whole routine perfectly charming, and I can’t wait to see what happens when these two hit the Latin rounds. Carrie Ann said it seemed like Chelsie was leading, Len said he needs to work on his posture, and Bruno said he needs to relax. Scores: 6-5-5.

The Situation and Karina Smirnoff – Cha Cha: What happens when the two most ridiculous shows on television come together? AMAZING. Amazing is what happens. Not surprisingly, The Situation only started rehearsing last week and was shocked to discover that one does not “beat up the beat” on Dancing with the Stars. Luckily, he has a fallback in case of disaster: the Running Man. He plans to do the Running Man if things go poorly. Welcome to Season 11. In fact, things weren’t all that bad. There were moments in this dance that he did well – namely, the parts where he had to pose and look lustily at Karina. All the in-between stuff (commonly known as “dancing”) was awkward – could it be that underneath the bravado, The Situation actually gets nervous? Len gave what was perhaps the best Len comment of all time: “Shall I tell you that you had the guns but not the ammunition?” Bruno said it was a rough start, and Carrie Ann said he needs to lose his 80s style dancing. Carrie Ann! How dare you suggest such a thing! Scores: 5-5-5.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough – Viennese Waltz: No time like the present to pull out the Dirty Dancing/Patrick Swayze card, eh team? I would venture to say this was the best Viennese Waltz of the night – Jennifer has some killer leg extensions and a natural ease about the floor. She could be a dark horse this season. Bruno said Patrick Swayze would be proud of her, Carrie Ann started to cry (in a good way), and Len said it was great but he wants to see how she’ll fare with a jive. Scores: 8-8-8.

David Hasselhoff and Kym Johnson – Cha Cha: These two were my pick to win the whole thing, so I was hoping they wouldn’t embarrass me. And they didn’t! As predicted, David is Donny Osmond with a deeper tan. And that kind of campy charm works so, so well on this show. Carrie Ann called him the offspring of Donny Osmond and Jerry Springer, Len said it was entertaining but he needs to improve his technique, and Bruno called it madness. Like I said, perfect for this show. Scores: 5-5-5.

So who will be the first one sent packing? If I had to guess, I would say Margaret and Brandy (if only for her last-minute obnoxiousness) should be collecting their things. Shout out your predictions in the comments below, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow night for the results!

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