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This week, our stars were asked to choose songs that had a special meaning to them, and tell a story through their dances. It promised to be an emotional night, and our stars really delivered – delivered the tears, that is.

Good heavens, why is the DWTS Troupe here? I thought they were kept in a storage closet backstage and only allowed out on Tuesday nights. Go away, filler people!

Wendy and Tony
Dance: Foxtrot
Verdict: Wendy’s story was about how she got started in the radio biz. In other words, it’s about how wonderful and persevering and strong she is. Which – okaaay, but this foxtrot was a total mess. Up-tempo song, slow dancing, awkward groping – even Wendy looked like she was about to yawn.
Carrie Ann: “This week, we took a step backwards and I’m not sure why.” – 5
Len: “It was a struggle. It’s a dance more suited to the radio.” – 5
Bruno: “There were times it looked like you put down roots.” -5

Chelsea and Mark
Dance: Cha Cha
Verdict: Chelsea’s song was actually written for her, about her, so it doesn’t get much more personal than that. And WOW – she really turned it out tonight. This was a fun, flirtatious, judges-appropriate routine that proved to everyone that Chelsea’s going to be sticking around for a long time.
Carrie Ann: “You look like a little baby Julianne [Hough].” – 7
Len: “That’s your best dance – well done.” – 8
Bruno: “Tasty! Tasty, Chelsea! And a great cha cha.” – 8

After a smashing season premiere, our Season 12 stars took to the ballroom for another round of performances before the ballroom renders its first cruel judgment of the year. Tonight they dance; tomorrow one couple is sent packing. So which of our stars shone the brightest?

Sugar Ray and Anna
Dance: Jive
Verdict: I think Sugar Ray is more of a classical ballroom guy, because while he looked like he was having fun – it was Your Uncle at a Wedding Fun, not Dancing with the Stars Fun. His feet weren’t pointed, he lost the timing in places … it needed to be a lot better.
Carrie Ann: “You’re such a fantastic showman.” – 6
Len: “I think you’re in jeopardy.” – 5
Bruno: “It needs more punch – in the feet.” – 6

Kendra and Louis
Dance: Quickstep
Verdict: Kendra had her first rehearsal cry for the season, but the dance turned out okay. It wasn’t quite as graceful or refined as it could have been, but Louis got her through it.
Carrie Ann: “I saw more that just the choreography […] Elegance is a state of mind.” – 7
Len: “Overall, I thought you did an excellent job.” – 6
Bruno: “You tried your best, but you were very, very tight.” -6

Hang onto your sparkle shoes, because Dancing with the Stars is back! I’ve been looking forward to this season, because the cast looks so promising. No politicians, no one particularly controversial, just good ol’ fashioned DWTS. And what a season opener it was!

Chelsea and Mark
Dance: Foxtrot
Verdict: Paging the Adorable Police! Chelsea danced like this was already week six or something – she has a natural talent and a ton of potential. This was a charming, wonderful start to the season.
Carrie Ann: “Youthful and elegant, but watch your shoulders” – 7
Len: “A lovely, fresh routine” – 7
Bruno: “Pure afterglow” – 7

The Dancing with the Stars Season 12 premiere is just over a week away, and I don’t know about you, but I got pretty excited when I saw this year’s cast announcement. While there’s an unfortunate lack of Olympians, there are also no political figures, soap stars, or token oldies. Which means … maybe this season will actually focus on the dancing? Or maybe that’s too much to hope. Either way, let’s take a look at the new cast and make some early predictions:

Chelsea Kane
Partner: Mark Ballas
You Know Her Because: She was in Jonas, Jonas L.A., and various Disney Channel movies
Mirrorball Potential: High. Disney Channel stars have a solid track record on this show (case in point: Monique Coleman, Cody Linley, Kyle Massey, Sabrina Bryan), and I think Chelsea will be no exception. She’s young, she’s pretty, she has the right partner – if she can dance, it should be smooth sailing to the top.

Chris Jericho
Partner: Cheryl Burke
You Know Him Because: He’s a six-time world champion wrestler, host of ABC’s Downfall, and contributor to various VH1 shows.
Mirrorball Potential: Debatable. Big guys are usually lacking in the grace department, but Chris’s charm may take him further than expected.

Hines Ward and the rest of the cast below the jump: