Well, we’re back! Another season of Dancing with the Stars is upon us! A whole new crop of those we must call “stars” will take to the ballroom floor in search of that elusive piece of reality-TV glory that is the Mirror Ball Trophy. Who will win? Who will stumble? And who will make us throw things at our TV?

Honestly, I have no clue at this point. But that’s why we watch!

Until there’s anything new to recap, however, feel free to peruse our site for lots and lots of other Dancing with the Stars content, lovingly posted by myself for your edification and pleasure.

  • Perhaps you would like to look at photos from the DWTS rehearsals? We’ve got those! 
  • Maybe you need to know more about Chaz Bono or any of the other stars? You’re covered!
  • Or perhaps you’re just trying to keep everybody’s name straight? No problem!

Good? All caught up? Then let’s get to the recap!

Lots of spotlights for this new ballroom! Maybe it’s my image, but does it look to anyone else like Tom and Brooke are standing in front of a green screen?

And wow, they all have to walk out practically on top of each other? That seems even more likely to cause disaster than usual. Or maybe that’s just my fear of falling down stairs speaking right now.

OK, am I an idiot, but what is the hand signal being given by half of the performers? It’s like a new, DWTS gang has been formed or something.

Tom just referred to the season 13 cast as the “most talked-about” stars ever. Are they?

Hmmm, I guess Ron still gets to be Ron Artest for dancing. Not Metta World Peace? Boo! Anyway…

Ron Artest and Peta Murgatroyd
Dancing the cha cha

My Comments: I wanted a little more explanation of the name. Oh well. Ron/Metta actually comes out with some moves! Granted, they’re not terribly ballroom-like. Thus, I have no idea if this is even a passable cha cha. He looks awfully good though. Assuming there are actual ballroom steps happening in there, this guy could be a contender in season 13. Great start for the season anyway. (heehee… MettaPeta)

Judges’ Comments
Len: “It’s the same old shimmying-about stuff… Your footwork was atrocious.” “It was all sizzle, no sausage.”
Bruno: “Oh, Ron the Dance-a-Tron has landed with power and flair.” “Go for it, Dance-a-Tron!”
Carrie Ann: “Now we know who the wild one is going to be. You’re sort of eccentric and sexy.” “It works on the dance floor.” “But it was kind of wrong for all the technical reasons.”

Scores: 5+4+5 = 14

Well, I guess the judges weren’t so impressed.

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the Viennese waltz

My Comments: It’s so hard to not see Rob Kardashian as a frat boy. Can his dance change my perception? Well… It would probably help if Rob didn’t look like he was going to burst out laughing throughout the performance. At least Cheryl is matching his big smile. This is hardly graceful, but honestly, Rob isn’t half bad. Especially considering that this could be one of the hardest styles for a guy like Rob to pull off. I’m am surprisingly impressed by that. Who knew the Boy Kardashian had talent beyond genetics? 

Judges’ Comments
Len: “I’m not impressed, but I’m not depressed. It was OK, and OK will get you through a couple of weeks.” “You have to come out and just let it go!”
Bruno: “You were going around like a little duckling, petrified.” “You have to take control and you have to feel the music. I didn’t feel any musicality at all.”
Carrie Ann: “I don’t know what Bruno’s thinking. When I watch you, I see potential.” “You have to let it flow a little bit more.”

Scores: 6+5+5 = 16
Some seriously stingy judges this season.

Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas
Dancing the cha cha

My Comments: Did you get that, everyone? She’s not a bitch. I suppose if I had ever watched The Hills or Laguna Beach, I might catch that reference. As it is, oh well. Kristin definitely has an advantage of looking right for the dancing. She seems a little too stiff in her movements, but they do seem to be precise and fast in a way that we haven’t otherwise seen tonight. The performance isn’t the best, but it’s a good start.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “It was bright, it was lively, and there’s lots going on.” “You came out and you sort of went into your shell a little bit.”
Bruno: “You know I love a bad girl. A bad girl with good hips that can give hot action.” “When you do your turns, you are unsteady.”
Carrie Ann: “You have the body to ballroom dance, girlfriend. And your hair-ography was working!” “You have great quality, you have great movement.”

Scores: 7+6+6 = 19

Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani
Dancing the Viennese waltz

My Comments: I guess Chynna is reasonably good, since Tony let her start alone. If nothing else, she’s got pretty good balance in that music-box spin. This is, quite frankly, not the most exciting or interesting dance, but Chynna does seem to be doing very well with it. I can’t imagine that the judges won’t be impressed. And hey, she’s married to Billy Baldwin! (Random…)

Judges’ Comments
Len: “It wasn’t the best first dance I’ve ever seen, but, I’ll tell you what: it was close.”
Bruno: “You look like you were stepping out of a dream and straight into my heart!” “The talent is there, my darling.”
Carrie Ann: “That was gorgeous! You are such a graceful dancer.”

Scores: 8+7+7 = 22  

Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus
Dancing the cha cha

My Comments: Tristan is adorable. Let me just get that out there right now. This will color absolutely everything I say about this couple from here on. As for Nancy… well… Nice opening behind the anchor desk there. Compared to the two women before her, Nancy isn’t moving that much. But, taking away the comparisons, she’s actually doing pretty well. Frightening thing — she’s got more movement going on than Kristin did. This is hardly perfect, but it’s better than I would expect from what’s been said.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “Dancing’s a seesaw, and you’ve got to get balance.” “It was all, for me, a little bit underwhelming.”
Bruno: “Nancy, I had no idea you were so lavishly gifted.” “I tell you now, Nancy, you’ve got the moves… but you don’t seem to believe in yourself.”
Carrie Ann: “You’re so cute. I think you might be the happiest contestant I’ve ever seen when you’re dancing out there.” “Work on remembering the choreography.”

Scores: 5+5+6 = 16

David Arquette and Kym Johnson
Dancing the Viennese waltz

My Comments: Ooh… Dramatic beginning. Since the only other male star we’ve seen do this dance was the super-stiff Rob, I’m not sure the bar is high. But David looks pretty good dancing out there. I could be wrong, but David seems to be having a great time, and there are definite performance skills. Not the best dance of the night, but it was far, far from the worst.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “You came out straight into the dance, and I was very, very impressed.” “I’ll tell you what: you’re a dancer.”
Bruno: “You did look the part, the romantic leading man… and then you got entangled in the goddess.”
Carrie Ann: “You did get a little lost in the dance. And, you know, I really liked it.” “All you need to do is relax a little.”

Scores: 6+6+6 = 18  

So Courtney Cox showed up. I guess they don’t hate each other.

Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the cha cha

My Comments: So many accents… Nice bed, Elisabetta. Not that those are the things I’d wear to bed. It’s a bit of a slow start. Elisabetta looks nice but kind of unsure of herself. What there is of the dance looks good. Still, it doesn’t do much for me. I don’t know if it’s not enough dancing or a lack of performance, but it just seemed a bit flat. Not bad, just kind flat.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “I didn’t like the bed.” “Once you got going, I didn’t mind it too much. But then it got very brittle.”
Bruno: “I liked the bed. You were very good in bed, Elisabetta.” “It all fell apart the moment you were left in your own devices.”
Carrie Ann: “You’re very good in Val’s arms… But, when you’re alone, you fell apart.”

Scores: 5+5+5 = 15

Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the Viennese waltz

My Comments: It’s safe to say that Maks and Hope kind of like each other. They certainly start out pretty. Maybe Hope is a little bit harsh in her movements for this kind of dance, but it doesn’t look half bad. Maks is keeping the dance fast and close, which can’t be hurting. It also makes for a surprisingly intense and exciting version of the Viennese waltz. Overall, I liked it a lot.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “Good hold, good posture, lovely movement. Rotation was all there. You just need to get… more feminine in your movements.”
Bruno: “You’ve got a great drive, great attack, great musicality. Now you have to learn control.”
Carrie Ann: “What was really impressive was the body contact in the hold.” “You guys were connected like glue and that was wonderful.”

Scores: 7+7+7 = 21

Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya
Dancing the cha cha

My Comments: Whatever the results of this dance, Carson is definitely having more fun than any five contestants. Wow. He has very long arms. This is a very “disco” cha cha. Which is weird. Not bad, just kind of weird. This is actually one of the sillier dances ever performed on Dancing with the Stars. Trust me that this isn’t a complaint — I like silly. We need more silly. I doubt that was amazing, but it was more fun than anything else tonight.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “There was elements of Jagger, swagger and stagger.” “You were such great entertainment.”
Bruno: “You’re redefining camp as an art form.” “Two for the price of one, Mick… and Bianca… And worth every dollar!”
Carrie Ann: “That was my favorite dance of the night!” “I cannot get over all the sparkle that’s happening out there!” “Technically speaking…”

Scores: 6+5+6 = 17

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the Viennese waltz

My Comments: You’re kidding — the Army doesn’t emphasize waltzing skills? And the man is obviously a performer. Wow. This is actually a very beautiful dance from J.R. Like really, really beautiful. It takes a rare man to be able to dance a waltz without looking silly. J.R. doesn’t look silly at all. That was just plain lovely.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “For me, J.R. stands for ‘just right.'” “The best performances of the night, you were right up there.”
Bruno: “I can’t wait to see the Latin, because you did very, very well in the waltz.” “Right on top tonight.”
Carrie Ann: “I was absolutely touched by your performance. You’re able to bring emotional quality to your dance on day one?”

Scores: 8+7+7 = 22

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough
Dancing the Viennese waltz

My Comments: Ricki probably needs to talk about more than losing weight in the competition. That gets old. Pretty beginning there, heading into the spinny bit. Ricki doesn’t look totally confident in her movements, but she’s pretty close, considering that this is only the first dance. Her performance almost seems casual — nerves are probably not going to be Ricki’s problem in the competition.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “I don’t want to be picky, Ricki… But I don’t know what was going on with your feet.” “Overall, I enjoyed it very much.”
Bruno: “You looked like the cat that got the cream — you enjoyed every moment.”
Carrie Ann: “Ricki, you looked like a little princess out there.” “It was like you were part of one person…”

Scores: 7+6+7 = 20

Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer
Dancing the cha cha

My Comments: He’s hardly got the body for this. But that’s hardly new for a Lacey Schwimmer partner, is it? I am forcibly reminded of Rob Kardashian right now in the lack of comfort out there. At least Chaz looks like he’s having some fun. Nervous fun, but fun. Not the greatest dance but far from the worst of the night.

Judges’ Comments
Len: “Razzamatazz, Chaz. You really came out with the right attitude.” “Right on time, good footwork…”
Bruno: “So cute and cuddly! I had no idea you were so cuddly and cute!”
Carrie Ann: “I think people have been waiting all night to see you, Chaz. And you did not disappoint!”

Scores: 6+5+6 = 17

And that’s that for week 1 of the Dancing with the Stars performances!

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Did anyone surprise you? Which dancers gave the best performances of the night? Which gave the worst? Who will go home? Leave your comments and predictions below!

(Images courtesy of ABC)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.