The celebrities and their dance pro partners just wanted to “feel the heat with somebody” as Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars premiered with a bang. I loved the song choice of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”, but I wasn’t crazy about seeing them come out of the limos and stepping onto the red carpet. The dance number felt a little lackluster for being the 400th episode, as well as the season opener.
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Quickstep
Normani looked light as a feather for her Quickstep, and what a bold choice for a first dance! Len felt it was a bit long-winded but admired their energy and commitment, with Bruno echoing that sentiment, saying it was crackling with energy. Julianne thought it set the tone perfectly and admired her precision. Carrie Ann loved her teasing, sexy lines but told them that Normani needs to let Val lead more and do more of the choreography.
Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev, Viennese Waltz
Leave it to Artem to go shirtless at the ice-skating rink! Set to Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman to Me”, Nancy and Artem’s Viennese Waltz was full of grace. Nancy looked positively radiant – I loved her sparkly blue dress. Julianne said it was an honor to watch her dance and admired her gorgeous arm extensions while noting her footwork could show improvement. Bruno called it warm and comfortable, comparing it to a cashmere shawl. Carrie Ann thought it was a beautiful first dance, saying it was easy to watch, while Len said it was expressive and called them a pairing with great promise. I would concur.
Chris Kattan & Witney Carson, Cha Cha
I’ve loved Chris Kattan since his days on Saturday Night Live, and it was a treat to watch him dance! His neck injury didn’t seem to hold him back when it came to busting out his signature A Night at the Roxbury dance moves to Haddaway’s “What Is Love”. Seeing the dance troupe echoing the signature head shake will easily be the highlight of the night for me! Bruno called it the perfect interpretation of a Cha Cha with a hangover and hopes he’ll be back next week. Carrie Ann loved the goofy, bad dance moves and said it was the best male lift she’s ever seen. Len said it wasn’t up to standards but told him to come back stronger next week, while Julianne told him to own who he is and focus on the choreography. I thought the judges were unnecessarily harsh in their scoring for a first week performance. Why were they sabotaging Chris Kattan?
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess, Cha Cha
Sharna and Bonner look really good together, don’t they? He handles himself well for someone who probably has very little dance experience. After their cowboy-inspired Cha Cha, Tom quipped, “This was how the West was won.” Carrie Ann was left temporarily speechless (as was every housewife in America), finally gathering her composure long enough to say they oozed chemistry. Len called it a work in progress but said he can see great potential. Julianne said he needs to trust himself more and he’ll nail more steps with precision. Bruno told Sharna she’s in for the ride of a lifetime but cautioned Bonner to work on his timing and improving the flat footwork.
Charo & Keo Motsepe, Salsa
I mean no disrespect, but was I the only person who thought Charo was dead prior to now? She still looks and sounds like her Charo self. “Cuban Pete” was a perfect song choice, and she came out with more pluck than most contestants in their 60s have on this program. Len felt the same way, saying it an action-packed performance but cautioned her to work on her technique. Julianne wants to hang out with her, saying it was everything she expected it to be and more. Carrie Ann called it high voltage, saying her turns were spectacular.
Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd, Cha Cha
Man, Peta lost that baby weight fast! I never watch The Bachelor because I find them all annoying, but Nick looked like a natural for the program. Julianne told him to work on his footwork and to make his arm extensions bigger, while Bruno said he looked like a “puffy pop idol” but his hands were too much like vulture’s claws. Carrie Ann said everything was executed nicely, but it was a bit too disjointed. Len felt it was a good first effort, but pretty much said the same thing about his arm and legwork appearing disjointed.
Heather Morris & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Viennese Waltz
I had no idea who Heather Morris was until I saw her and realized she used to be on Glee. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Heather and Maks looked cute together. Bruno likened them to Beauty and the Beast, while praising the simplicity and beauty of the dance. Carrie Ann felt she was hiding some of her personality in the choreography. Len called them a match made in heaven, while Julianne thought it was elegant and full of youthful exuberance.
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold, Quickstep
I don’t follow sports at all, but I was excited to see that they included a Chicago Cubs player on DWTS. David has a great personality and I think his enthusiasm will be enough to keep him around for a while even if his dance moves aren’t the best. “Go! Cubs! Go!” did a wonderful job of setting the mood. Carrie Ann said it was fun and one of her favorite dances of the night, while Len thought the holds and Quickstep content were good enough to take him to first base. Julianne proclaimed him light on his feet and made a prediction that he’ll go far this season, while Bruno likened him to a giddy teenager on spring break. Maybe it was just me, but I was a little underwhelmed.
Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko, Salsa
Gleb really impressed me last season so I want to root for him, no matter how annoying his partner is this season. Len thought it was full of flair and confidence, but said it was a little bit too raunchy for his taste. Julianne liked the sensuality but thought it was a little lacking in traditional Salsa content. Bruno and Carrie Ann loved everything Erika put into it but felt the transfer of weight from one foot to the other was a bit unstable at times in her high heels. Personally, I thought it was a hot mess. And did anybody else think it was a little vain that Erika came out dancing to one of her own songs (“XXpen$ive”)?
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater, Cha Cha
Good for Emma finally getting a youthful partner who might take her to the finale! Julianne praised him for nailing all the technical aspects of the Cha Cha. Bruno said it was the revelation of the night, calling him “cool as a cucumber,” while Carrie Ann told him to bring on the swagger. Len called him out for being ahead of the music in places, saying he has to judge the dance and not the charisma. It was enough to give him the second highest scores of the first night.
Mr. T & Kym Herjavec, Cha Cha
Mr. T certainly still knows how to make an entrance! When he broke through the wall to meet his partner Kym, I couldn’t contain my glee. A ballroom Cha Cha set to the theme from The A-Team? I think I’ve seen just about everything on this program now. Bruno told Mr. T that he’s still the “King of Bling” and said it was enough to hook him for next week. Although Carrie Ann noted he made a lot of mistakes, she commended him for coming out and doing it the Mr. T bad-ass way (and they didn’t even have a chance to bleep out her saying bad ass). Len said the “T” stands for tenacity and trying his hardest, while Julianne told him he’s the heart of what this show is all about. It was oddly spectacular. I pity the fool who doesn’t vote for Mr. T! Especially since he had the second lowest scores of the night.
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber, Tango
Olympics champion Simone Biles looked at ease dancing a Tango with Sasha set to Tritonal x Cash Cash’s
“Untouchable”. Carrie Ann aptly named them the power couple this season, saying it was “crunchy and yummy.” Len called it crisp and clean, proclaiming it the dance of the night. Both Julianne and Bruno admired her poise and technique. Unsurprisingly, her scores earned her the top of the leader board status for week one of the competition.
And that wraps up another sequin-filled premiere of Dancing with the Stars. Who do you think will be the first star eliminated, and who do you think will take home the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy? I’m predicting Charo will be the first eliminated. As to who may take home the trophy, it’s too early for me to call. While part of me would be delighted if Sasha Farber took home his first trophy, I get a little bored with how many gymnasts have won this program. It should prove to be an interesting season full of surprises.
What did you think of the premiere? Who is your favorite? Who do you think deserves to go home next week? Tell us in the comments below!