Tonight, the women take the stage with their partners on the continuation of the ninth-season premiere of Dancing With the Stars. Just to freak them out a little, the female pros start off the show with a group dance to "She's a Lady."
Like last night, the stars will dance once with their partner, then do a "dance relay" with three other couples.
Debi Mazar is partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Debi is thrilled. They're doing the salsa first. During the performance, Debi's clearly having a fantastic time, but you can still kind of see her thinking through the moves. Still, it's lots of fun. Host Tom Bergeron points out before the judging that he noticed she did the "Tom DeLay flirting with Bruno thing." Hahahaha! I bet he loved that joke. Head judge Len Goodman says her feet were flat, which led to a lack of hip action, but it was fun and energetic. Bruno Tonioli says she has a lot of potential, and that she can shake her, um, shoulders so well. Carrie Ann says she didn't have a lot of connection of the character to the dance and that she could see her concern about the moves on her face. Scores: 6-5-5, for a 16/30.
Melissa Joan Hart is hoping to prove that even though she is best known as Sabrina, the Teen-Age Witch, she is a grown-up now (and has two kids). She's partnered with reigning champ Mark Ballas, and their first dance is the Viennese waltz. It's very sweet, and unlike Debi, any nerves Melissa has are not showing on her face. In the rehearsal footage, we saw her working on her posture, and it was definitely an issue here and there during the performance, but overall, they did a nice job. Bruno asks if she is nervous, and she says yes. He says it was "prim, proper and adequate," but it lacked some magic, and her rising shoulders "ruin the line of the dance." Carrie Ann says she created a few distinctive moments, but she wasn't connected with the beat of the music. Len hated the "sweet and sickly" start, but he thought their hold was good, liked the movement, but, "your footwork was no good." Scores: 6-6-6, for an 18/30.
Mya says she's tapped since she was a little kid, but never done ballroom. Her partner is Dmitry Chaplin (from SYTYCD!). In rehearsals, she seemed worried about picking things up, but in the performance? Well, that tap-dancing must have helped some because they look confident and comfortable, and the dance looks more complex than most of the ones we've seen so far this season. Carrie Ann: "Way to set the bar! Mya, that was gorgeous!" Len says he was upset about how much time they spent not in hold, and boy is he. He can't get over the choreography. Bruno is not amused and starts yelling over him, saying it was "artistry in motion." Len points at Mya, "You are a fantastic dance." He points at Dmitry: "You have let her down." Yowza! Scores: 8-5(!)-8, for a 21/30
Kathy Ireland, one of the "hardest-working moms in show-business," is partnered with Tony Dovolani for the season. She says that even though she used to be a model, she is not coordinated at all, as she reveals when she tries to do shoulder-shimmies and moves her arms and hips instead. (That's what I do when I try; thankfully, that doesn't come up often, and never on national television.) During the performance, she's game and working hard, but she definitely has some moments of gangliness. Len says she has the potential to develop, but that this lacked energy and was "far too careful." Bruno says she can sell most anything, but not this salsa. Also, he calls it sexless. Carrie Ann says Kathy has great posture, but she needs to let go and shimmy it up and work on loosening up. Scores: 6-5-5, for a 16/30
Natalie Coughlin, Olympic champion swimmer, is paired with Alec Mazo, and their first dance is the salsa. In rehearsal, Alec learns that Natalie's concentration face is intense, scary and involves her biting her lip. He works on getting her to chill out and smile. During the performance, she alternates between the smiley face and the intense face, but overall, she's got energy and hip-action, though parts seem a bit slow. Bruno calls her the million-dollar mermaid and says she started out well and has what it takes, but that she has the tendency to freeze during the performance and then catch up. He tells her to work on sustaining the performance. Carrie Ann says athletes have historically done well on the show and that she knows how to move her muscles and use her body, but she needs to watch her musicality. Len says he is bewildered because the salsa is sexy and steamy, but these gorgeous girls keep coming out and not knocking his socks off. Carrie Ann says he's just getting old. Scores: 7-6-6, for a 19/30
Macy Gray is next, and I can say without a doubt that I am expecting a massive train wreck. She says she signed up because her mom was really excited about the idea, so she agreed. She's partnered with Jonathan Roberts, and their first dance is the Viennese waltz. In rehearsals, she is very all over the place and wants to revolutionize the waltz. "Not in the first week," Jonathan tells her. Hee. She is just so loosey-goosey, but during the performance, she kind of gets it together. My reaction, though, isn't, "Wow, she's such a great dancer," but, "WOW, Jonathan is an amazing choreographer." I think he managed to work with her strengths and give her a few moves where she could be more free and feel comfortable. Basically, I thought it was going to be truly awful, but it was pretty OK. Carrie Ann: "Macy, that was fascinating. There is something fascinating to watch about you. Your technique ... I can't even go there. When you perform, there is a such a natural genuineness to you ... that it was beautiful in its own bizarre way." Len says says she showed vulnerability and charm and that if he was at home, he would be voting for her. Bruno says she is endearing and that "it was like watching a child take its first steps into a scary new world. What's happening here? Who am I? What am I doing? ... Reach out and touch!" (He sings the last part. I can't explain how funny that was.) Backstage, Samantha interviews them, and Macy says she's just so glad to get the first dance out of the way and that she "busted my cherry" (strangely, the censors bleep this by canceling out the word busting). They cut to the judges, and Carrie Ann is DYING laughing. Scores: 6-5-4 (Carrie Ann and Bruno can barely say the numbers.) Going into the break, Tom says, "By the way, Macy's going to have a little dance jubilee after the show." Laughing ... too ... hard ... can't ... type. I pause to recover, and man, he looks proud of that line! Hey look, it has turned into a train wreck, just not during the dance like I was expecting.
Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough are standing there in open-mouthed shock going into their intro. They are doing the salsa for their first performance. Joanna steps up with energy and hip-action and is having fun for sure. She seems to lack a little precision, but eh, it's the first week, the energy way more than makes up for it. Len says he is happy because "at last we've seen a hot, smoking salsa." Bruno says it was what a salsa should be and that Derek's choreography complemented his partner. Carrie Ann thought it was hot and loved her confidence. Scores: 8-8-8, for a 24/30.
Kelly Osbourne interviews: "I think the best way I could describe my dancing right now is ... crap?" Her partner is Louis Van Amstel, who is determined to turn her into a lady. Their first dance is the Viennese waltz, and their performance is lovely. Kelly is smiling glowingly the whole time, and the dance is very smooth, at least to my eye. Sharon is crying her eyes out in the audience, and she runs over to hug her mommy and Ozzy. Bruno says he can't believe his eyes, that she is transformed. Carrie Ann says her parents should be very proud and that she has chills. Len says it was the best Viennese waltz of the night. Scores: 7-8-8, for a 23/30.
Then, it's relay time.
The first group is Natalie and Alec, Debi and Maks, Kathy and Tony and Derek and Joanna, and their dance is the foxtrot. It's so quick, it's kind of hard to judge, but the judges still have to rank them for score. I'd say Joanna, Natalie, Kathy and Debi; the judges say: Joanna, Natalie, Debi and Kathy. Joanna is so excited that she accidentally hits Debi when she goes to hug Derek. Whoops!
The second group is Kelly and Louis, Macy and Jonathan, Melissa and Mark and Mya and Dmitry, and they're doing the cha cha. That train wreck I was expecting from Macy came out here, big time. Mya, Kelly, Melissa, and Macy are how the rankings come down, which sounds right to me.
So who stood out to you tonight?
(Photo of Mya in rehearsal courtesy of ABC)