'Dancing with the Stars' Season 14 Premiere Recap: Dancing and Sequins Return!
'Dancing with the Stars' Season 14 Premiere Recap: Dancing and Sequins Return!
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Let the dancing begin!

Dancing with the Stars season 14 premieres tonight, and we'll have it all -- the dancing, the sequins, the Bruno Tonioli non-sequitors -- right here at BuddyTV. Which stars will shine? Who will stumble right away? Keep reading this Dancing with the Stars recap to find out!

Granted, since this is the Dancing with the Stars premiere, we're certain to get a whole lot of non-dancing pageantry too. But without pageantry, how could we get to know the stars and semi-stars making up the DWTS season 14 cast?

And even if we could meet them another way, why would we ever want to give up all those sequins?

Recaps aren't all we have about Dancing with the Stars season 14. Check out rehearsal photos, videos and even Twitter feeds while you wait for the dancing scores!

Here we go!

We don't even have to wait for sequins for some glitter -- because the dance floor is doing its very own glittering before the stars come in! And it's time to come in...

The Walk-In Order (in case it matters even remotely)
  • Maria and Derek
  • Jack and Anna
  • Donald and Peta
  • Gavin and Karina
  • Roshon and Chelsie
  • Sherri and Val
  • Melissa and Maks
  • William and Cheryl
  • Martina and Tony
  • Katherine and Mark
  • Gladys and Tristan
  • Jaleel and Kym

The band, singers and disembodied English announcer are all very excited. Tom Bergeron is a little bit excited. Brooke Burke Charvet... As excited as she can be.

First a piece of information: There will not be any eliminations (or Results Show, for that matter) in DWTS week 1. Instead, they'll all be around until next week.

Anyway...

And hey! Apparently that walk-in order matters: Maria Menounos and Derek Hough are up first!

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Dancing the cha-cha

My comments: "I'm a dude, but I have boobs." Meet Maria Menounos, everybody! And yes, that is an impressive laugh.

That's an interesting and dramatic beginning. Maria seems to be starting off in an acceptable manner. But she's definitely a little too wooden for a cha-cha. There's also a good chance of mistakes in those little tiny steps. On the other hand, I'm not sure that it's possible to look bad while dancing with Derek Hough. Definitely a decent -- although not mind-blowing -- first dance for Dancing with the Stars season 14.

Judges' Comments
Len: "Nothing can prepare you for the first dance." "Overall, I thought you coped very, very well." "Little bit more hip action, little bit meaner hip..."
Bruno: "Maria, Maria... You're so curvaceously delicious! I had no idea!" "You've got to open up the sex pot!" "Think about Sofia Vergara."
Carrie Ann: "I thought it was a strong, solid cha-cha." "It kind of felt a little bit like picture-to-picture-to-picture."

Scores: 7+7+7 = 21

Not a bad beginning to the season.

Next up:

Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya
Dancing the foxtrot

My comments: Jack Wagner was a pop star? Really? I totally missed that. Considering the photo they showed, I was probably far too young to care.

They're beginning on the ground. That's one way to go. Probably not the best choice when the lying-down kicks don't match. Things start going better when they're standing up. Jack actually pulls off elegant without looking silly. That's excellent for a first dance by itself. It's entirely possible that this isn't a technically perfect foxtrot. But it's a surprisingly pleasant performance without any major mistakes.

Judges' Comments
Len: "Your technique is poor." "But... the feel of the whole thing was uplifting and I enjoyed your performance."
Bruno: "Love is in the air!" "Beautifully acted, beautifully danced!" "Week 1. What you going to do week 2?"
Carrie Ann: "You just took me to a happy place!" "You can act, you can sing, and boy -- you can dance!"

Scores: 8+7+8 = 23

I thought that was better than the first dance. But since when do I agree with Len?

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Dancing the cha-cha

My comments: OK, first of all a warning: I will most likely accidentally refer to Donald Driver as "Donald Draper" repeatedly throughout this season. That's what happen when Dancing with the Stars and Mad Men start in the same week.

Anyway. Donald begins with a fake singing solo at the mike. Once the dancing begins it's super-energetic. Donald is very into this. He's also pretty darn fast and precise for the first week. Should football players be able to dance like this? Wow. That was awfully good.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I thought your attitude was good, you had attack for the dance..." "Because you were excited, you started to lose time a little bit." "Next week... Don't let me down!"
Bruno: "We got the impact, I tell you!" "You were like a rooster chasing a hen!" "You really, I think, have the talent."
Carrie Ann: "You are just nothing but charisma and charm for days!" "I don't know if there was a lot of cha-cha going on..."

Scores: 7+7+7 = 21

As always, style means nothing to those judges.


Hope you like hats. Because next we have...

Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the foxtrot

My comments: I have to say, Gavin is refreshingly sarcastic. People are far too earnest on this show most of the time. So he'll probably get voted off soon. Oh well.

Another dramatic opening starts this one. Gavin isn't terribly elegant in his dance, but he does seem to be having some fun out there. The guy is definitely a little too stuff for the dance. He does best with the "flair" stuff in between moves, oddly enough. I'm not entirely sure he did much in the way of proper foxtrot steps. But I wouldn't know if he did or not.

Judges' Comments
Len: "You coped well with a difficult dance." "You were a little bit stiff in your arms and in your legs." "This, for me, wasn't the greatest."
Bruno: "You have to learn to link the moves -- link the moves!" (Before telling off Florence Henderson... And then being interrupted by a dirty joke from Gavin.)
Carrie Ann: "You have great musical interpretation." "What I think is lacking... I just think when you extend your arm it's a little hyper-extended."

Scores: 7+6+7 = 20

I officially love Gavin DeGraw. He may not be the best dancer (almost definitely not), but he's fun. We need fun. Even if Brooke doesn't know what to do with him. Especially because Brooke doesn't know what to do with him.


Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower
Dancing the cha-cha

My comments: Of course Roshon had his debut in Spider-Man 2. Everyone in the entire acting universe was in that universe. Seriously. Check it out -- "The Legacy of Spider-Man 2"

This is very disco. Plus a moon-walk. Is that a standard cha-cha move? You've got to give the experienced dancer credit for having precise footwork, unlike everyone else. I do wonder how much of a cha-cha this is. Whatever the case, it's an incredible-looking dance. Kind of along the lines of "Which is the pro again?"

Judges' Comments
Len: "There's no question you can dance." "Technically, the performance was very low."
Bruno: "You Roshon! Can go on and on and on!" "Laser-sharp!" "It was unbelievable!"
Carrie Ann: "That's the coolest spin I have seen in a cha-cha in all 14 seasons."

Scores: 8+7+8 = 23


Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the foxtrot

My comments: Sherri said she wasn't into elegant before she began. But this looks kind of elegant to me. Even when danced to Frankie Valli, which must be hard. That said, I'd much rather see her dance to something that would work better with humor. Because Sherri is super funny and energetic.

Also you've got to love a lady who runs over to hug a kid right after a dance.

Judges' Comments
Len: "What you brought was the joy of dance into this ballroom." "Fun fun fun."
Bruno: "I could do with a bit of Sherri every day of the week." "You're light on your feet, your timing was good, and you light up the room!"
Carrie Ann: "You are the happiest contestant we have had ever!" "Nice job."

Scores: 8+7+8 = 23

This score seems to be a theme for the night.


Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the cha-cha

My comments: Uh-oh. Broken back. Get ready for the story of hardship at some point soon.

She has a bad hairstyle for dancing. It was totally in Melissa's face with the very first move. Thanks to a random camera close-up, we actually get to see a bit of footwork. It looked good. Melissa seemed to be behind Maks a little bit, once or twice. But she caught up. I'm not sure I like the performance, but it's the choreographer's fault, not the dancers'.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I would have liked to see a little more shaping..." "I thought you coped very well with a difficult dance."
Bruno: "Is the attack of the woman in black! I tell you, you can certainly grind it." "There is work to do, but I thought it was a very inspiring first performance."
Carrie Ann: "That was a really difficult routine." "I think maybe nerves were going on a little tonight."

Scores: 7+6+7 = 20

Woe unto whoever doesn't dance well -- they'll have trouble competing with all these 7s and 8s.


William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the cha-cha

My comments: So the audience really likes William. Because he's hot, or because they actually watch telenovelas? Who knows? Whatever. I just hope we get subtitles all season. It amuses me.

William is very easy on the eyes. And he looks comfortable being sexy out on the dance floor. The dance seems to be very good for the most part. There may be a couple of missed steps, but everything else looks good.

I swear it's not just because William's hot. Although he is.

Judges' Comments
Len: "You performed it right on the edge, but you kept control."
Bruno: "Ladies and gentlemen! Dancing with the Stars presents the hottest package of the season!" "You're overdressed. Less clothing!"
Carrie Ann: "First of all, I would like to thank ABC for my job." "You can dance... Your partnering skills... I really liked the way you moved."

Scores: 8+8+8 = 24

It helps to be hot, doesn't it?


Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani
Dancing the foxtrot

My comments: Martina looks pretty good in a dress. Even if it does have a distractingly sparkly bottom. She's also quite elegant looking out there. It's surprising, considering the tough tennis-player persona. I actually wouldn't know it's the same person. Her dancing looks good, in a subdued way that works well after a couple of lively cha-chas.

Judges' Comments
Len: "It was close, but it wasn't quite there for me." "It was a little bit too careful."
Bruno: "You've never looked better. You really are stunning tonight!" "I thought you were very elegant..."
Carrie Ann: "You were so beautiful! You were so elegant and so refined out there!" "I want you to work on your turns..."

Scores: 7+6+7 = 20

This is totally going to come down to a popularity contest.


Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Dancing the foxtrot

My comments: This is a far more conservative dance than most of what we've seen tonight. It looks to be danced well, but it's hard to get too excited after so much flair throughout the evening. That said, it's lovely and suprisingly well-performed. Katherine looked nice and elegant throughout, and nothing at all looked wrong.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I thought you had wonderful musicality." "I liked the detail that went on throughout the dance." "I tell you what, that was cracking!"
Bruno: "That was exquisite! The style was impeccable." "You're setting the bar so high that really you have a lot to live up to."
Carrie Ann: "I think we all thought we were watching like two pros together." "Best first dance... ever!"

Scores: 9+8+9 = 26

9s in week 1? Seriously? Wow. Not that it wasn't an excellent dance. But still, wow.


Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Dancing the cha-cha

My comments: Yes Tristan. Yes, you are the hot one. Meanwhile, Gladys might just be the funny one.

More disco cha-cha! Gladys isn't shaking quite enough for a cha-cha, but she does seem to be dancing and has most of the steps. A few mistakes seem to be there, but they hardly throw her. If there's a major criticism here, it's that the dance didn't look very Latin. A good dance, but the style was a bit off. But only a bit.

Judges' Comments
Len: "There's a naturalness about your dance." "It oozed rhythm."
Bruno: "The legend has got the moves!" "You are a star! A real one!"
Carrie Ann: "That one made me want to get up and dance!" (she did)

Scores: 8+7+8 = 23

Such a popular score tonight...


Off to the final dance of the night now, from...

Jaleel White and Kym Johnson
Dancing the foxtrot

My comments: They're totally going to have an Urkel dance at some point.

I can't hate any dance that begins with leaping and skipping. So it's good that I don't have to hate this. Strangely, we have another male dancer who doesn't look silly doing the foxtrot. What's up with that? He's just a little off perfect, but every tiny defect is made up for in soades by an incredible performance. And there really wasn't much in the way of flaws there.

What's going on tonight?!?

Judges' Comments
Len: "I loved the routine." "It had elegance, it had sophistication." "Without doubt, this is the best first show of any season!"
Bruno: "I thought I was watching the great Gregory Hines. And as compliments, it can't get any better."
Carrie Ann: "Jaleel, you are the icing on the cake!" "Smooth, smooth, smooth!"

Scores: 9+8+9 = 26


OK, so apparently everybody in Dancing with the Stars season 14 can dance. When my least favorite performance came from my favorite person on the show, you know the competition is going to be fierce.

And they're all back again next week! See you then!



Want even more Dancing with the Stars? Check out the BuddyTV Dancing with the Stars Insider on Facebook!

Who was your favorite dancer? Who was your least favorite? Who looks to be the first elimination? Who will go all the way? Leave your comments below!

(Images courtesy of ABC)




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