OK, folks, I don't know if I am ready for this season of Dancing With the Stars, but like it or not, it's here. Season 10, in all its wacky glory.
Tom Bergeron welcomes his new co-host Brooke Burke. She already seems more comfortable on stage than her predecessor Samantha.
As the stars come down the stairs, Pamela Anderson appears to be sprinting for some reason. Then, as they pan across the stars, Kate Gosselin waves and mouths, "Hi, kids!" Immediately thereafter, Pam caresses her partner's face and makes bedroom eyes at the camera. That was awkward!
Chad Ochocinco says he has no dance experience "except in the endzone." He's excited to dance and not get fined. His partner is Cheryl Burke, who describes herself as the "former two-time Dancing With the Stars' champion," which makes me laugh. They do the cha-cha, and I see Bruno eyeballing his feet, but I can't tell whether his footwork is any good. He's got swagger, though (not so shocking!). Side note: I really like Cheryl's dress. It looks like a cute, regular dress you might see at a party or an event, taken up a notch, instead of some vomited-sequins abomination that you would only ever see at a dance competition. Anyway, head judge Len Goodman says he came out and attacked it, but he is a rough diamond who needs some polishing. Bruno Tonioli says he has a huge, huge, huge talent, sense of music and rhythm, but he needs to hit harder. Carrie Ann Inaba says he has some "raw something" going on. She wants to see more extension and for him to not forget his choreography in the middle. After the performances, the couples now report to "the Celebriquarium," an interview area that is open to the audience instead of backstage. Scores: 6-6-6, for an 18/30.
Shannen Doherty says she is doing DWTS for her dad, who loves the show and is recovering from a major stroke. She's paired up with Mark Ballas. During their practice, she says she is terrified of being judged and that she will develop hives if she gets too nervous. Their first dance is the Viennese waltz. You can see her thinking her way through it, but she still handles it fairly well. Bruno says it was a very tough piece of choreography, especially for week one. He says that she was swinging her arms around "like a primate," but that it was an achievement to do that dance. Carrie Ann says she started out in her head, but she opened up through it. But, she says, she sees something in Shannen. Len says she portrayed "ease and elegance" throughout, but she needs to work on her posture and footwork. Scores: 6-6-6, for an 18/30.
Erin Andrews is paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy this season. She tells him that she asked for Tony. Ha! In the rehearsal footage, she's having a major problem with being a perfectionist and stopping herself over and over. They dance the cha-cha, and she kind of alternates between looking fairly comfortable on stage while making eyes at the camera and getting stuck in her head and thinking too much about the steps. Carrie Ann calls her "a nice surprise." She likes their chemistry and her good moves and wants her to watch her soft legs. Len calls her a funky monkey and says she did a good job. Bruno says she is bringing zest and vitality, and has a few things she needs to work on. Scores: 7-7-7, for a 21/30.
Jake Pavelka is paired with Chelsie Hightower. Vienna AND GIA are in the audience. Um, OK. When Chelsie and Jake first meet, he gives her a rose. Dude, you are not the Bachelor. They do to Viennese waltz to "Kiss From a Rose to the Grave." Can we drop the rose business already? Their performance is OK -- it's always a little tougher for the guys in the early ballroom rounds because they have to at least look like they're leading. Len says Jake did well and did most of the dance in hold, but he's got to work on his posture. Bruno says he needs to calm down and not "Bachelor it up." He's concerned that if he doesn't relax a little, when it comes time for them to do the rumba, "What are you going to do? Kill her? Eat her?" Yeah, I don't know what happened there, either. Carrie Ann says she was really impressed by his lines and his "bravado." But, she says, work on the posture. Scores: 7-6-6 for a 20/30. (Another side note: The audio tonight is so inconsistent.)
Niecy Nash says she was always the chubbiest girl and that she got kicked out of a dance performance in eighth grade and never went back. She's paired up with Louis Van Amstel. She tells him that she loves her "jiggly parts," and she doesn't want to lose them during the show. Love her already! They cha-cha, and it's fun and on point, but it seems to lack a little energy compared to a couple of the other performances so far. Not sure if Louis didn't go for as ambitious of choreography or perhaps the music was just a little slower. But totally entertaining. She gets a standing ovation and actually almost starts crying. Bruno says it alternated between sassiness and "born-again virgin" territory. Wha? Carrie Ann says she was boogying and had simple and clean moves, plus her personality. Len says it was clean, clear and precise, but uneventful. He says she's a bubbly character, but this was a flat cha-cha. Scores: 7-5-6, for an 18/30.
Evan Lysacek says he has been criticized as a skater for being too technical and not having "any dance ability." He looks very graceful on stage during their Viennese waltz. Carrie Ann cheers for him: "You are good!" But she says he needs to work on his toes and connect more with the audience. Len says he has great artistry and musicality, but he has clumsy feet and needs to work on his chemistry. Bruno says he has the grace of a swan, and he thought it was wonderful. Scores: 8-7-8, for a 23/30.
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin is paired with Ashly Costa. Buzz tells her his only dance experience is going to "hops" at the academy. They have to take on the cha-cha, and honestly, it's a little hard to watch. Ashly is just dancing around him and clearly giving him cues, but on the good side, he's having a great time. But I don't think the mirrorball trophy is in their future. Len says he remembers watching him walking on the moon and their remarkable bravery. He again commends him for his bravery, but he can't give him marks for bravery. Bruno: "How can I possibly criticize a hero and a legend?" "Thank you," Ashly says. But, he says, he still has to do his job, and Buzz looked like he had moon boots on. Carrie Ann asks if they had a little "moonwalk" during the choreography, and Ashly cops to it. She says this show inspires people to do things they would be scared of trying, and he was a big inspiration tonight. Scores: 5-4-5, for a 14/30.
Nicole Scherzinger says she danced with the Pussycat Dolls, but it's not an unfair advantage because ... it's a challenge? I'm sure that made sense to her. They dance the Viennese waltz and look largely like they've been doing it for ages. Bruno calls it a performance "of startling finesse." He is "astounded." Carrie Ann says she just set the bar for season 10. "I haven't seen a routine out of the gate like that ever," she says. Len says if you look past the facade, their technique was totally lacking. The other judges think he is crazy. Scores: 9-7-9, for a 25/30.
Aiden Turner is on All My Children, which I don't watch, which makes him the only star on this season I couldn't recognize on sight. He is partnered with Edyta Sliwinska. Their first dance is the cha-cha, and before anything else, I have to say: Edyta's dress is INSANE. She is wearing skin-colored bra top and panties and ... some white fringe. That is about it. After the dance, Tom looks at her and says, "We're about one gust of wind away from an FCC fine." Seriously. When she first took off her coat, I thought that one of her breasts was hanging out of the dress until I realized it was covered, but not really disguised. Anyway, the dance. I don't really know what to say about it because I was worried ABC was going to end up with said fine! Carrie Ann says she liked the gusto and the approach, but it was disjointed and didn't go anywhere. Len says he has a dancer in there somewhere, but it was all obscured by a lot of things he hates. Bruno compares him to Kenny Maines. Yikes! Scores: 5-5-5, for a 15/30.
Kate Gosselin says she is best known as "a mom of eight who just happens to be on TV." Oh, yes, it was totally organic and the camera crew just fell from the sky. Tony Dovolani is her partner. He has a heart-to-heart with her about how she is not communicating with the performance that she wants to be on the show. She says it's hidden under her insecurities. "So, for all the moms out there, this one is for you!" They dance the Viennese waltz, and it's a little uneven. She has a few moments where she just beams, and that's good, but others, she's a little stompy. But putting aside all the hoopla that surrounds her, I feel like she definitely tried really hard and she didn't embarrass herself too much (except for maybe a couple of awkward moves). Len says her big stumbling block was she looked nervous and didn't dance with any fluidity. Bruno says the technique was terrible, but you need to learn to perform. "It looked like Tony was pushing a shopping cart around the stage." He tells her to assume a persona, and when he gets booed, he declares, "I am right!" Carrie Ann says Kate is very different from a lot of the other people on the show because she isn't a performer or an athlete, so this is entirely new. She says Kate had "a sweet vulnerability." Scores: 6-5-5, for a 16/30.
Pamela Anderson is paired with new pro Damian Whitewood. She says she is starting from zero and has no dance experience whatsoever. She seems sure she can't do it, but Damian says she has potential. When the performance starts, though, she shows she knows one thing: how to assume a persona, like Bruno was talking about. She works the stage like crazy, though the dancing was kinda all over the place. Bruno says he can only think of sex, sex and more sex. Carrie Ann says she was waiting the most to see Pam. She says Pam was having fun and was "fully engaged. ... It was a little much." Len says overall it was a mess. Scores: 7-6-8, for a 21/30.
During the recap of the night's performances, the graphic with Pam's scores keeps showing up on the screen. That's a little weird. Anyway ... what did you think of the night's dances and antics?