Football star Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke served up a hot opening for the 10th season on "Dancing with the Stars" Monday -- no doubt about it -- despite a score of only six from each of the judges.
The hype of co-host Tom Bergeron's opening was almost too much to bear with him calling the 11 new stars the "most talked about cast ever" in this "landmark" season. But who cares? This is reality TV, and if it wasn't wildly over the top, who would watch?
But come, on, Ochocinco had all kinds of things going on -- fast and clean foot movement, high energy and a certain action in the hips that I'm guessing NFL cornerbacks would rather see on "Dancing With the Stars" than coming straight up the field at them on a deep pass route. Three sixes from the judges.
As for Shannen Doherty and the waltz -- well, partner Mark Ballas helped a lot. She reached too high, but at least she went for it. And she was really playing the emotion card with her father in the front row. Triple sixes here, too.
UPDATES: Keep checking back, I am updating after each couple tonight -- (commentary included on the use of Kate Gosselin's kids to seemingly hype the home vote for her.)
ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews brought "zest and vitality" to her cha-cha-cha, according to the often snarky Bruno.
By the way, did you see the reaction shot of contestant Kate Gosselin as Andrews ended her impressive number? I wonder what Kate was thinking. She looked just a little stunned at the level of competition, didn't she? Triple sevens here from the judges.
Jake Pavelka, a.k.a The Bachelor, makes me want to gag, but he did OK at the waltz with Chelsie Hightower. Two sevens and a six for Mr. Romance.
And then came Niecy Nash talking about her "jiggly parts" and moving them nicely on the floor with partner Louis. The crowd loved her.
I hate judge Len Goodman who gave her a five. What a peasant that guy is. Anyway, Niecy also got a seven and a six.
Oh lord, Evan Lysachek, the gold medal figure skater, just blew the world away.
"You moving with the grace of a swan," said Bruno. What can I say after that?
Two eights and seven -- highest score yet.
I loved Buzz Aldrin's number with Ashly. What a fascinating cultural moment -- this guy who talked about going to "hops" at West Point" out on the floor at 80. I'll write more tomorrow about how this show can be weirdly profound. And Aldrin gave us one of those moments Monday.
Two fives and a four -- the lowest score yet -- for Aldrin and Ashly.
Nicole Scherzinger and Derek did the best waltz, even if Len, the fool, didn't think so. (I can't believe I am actually getting into this even a little and falling for the phony emotions ABC tries to trigger. But I have Buzz Aldrin to blame for that. I'm thinking if he can have some fun with this, I can, too.)
Two nines and a seven -- top score -- for Nicole and Derek.
Soap star Aiden Turner got ripped by the judges. Come on, they could have been given some points for Edyta's costume -- don't you think? Three fives. Say goodbye, Aiden?
Kate and Tony did the waltz, and Bruno was brutal. He said it looked like Tony was "pushing a shopping cart around the floor." Yikes, what can you say after that?
Kate played the "mom" card harder than ever saying her dance was "for all the moms out there."
Two fives and a six from the judges..
Oh lord, they let Kate play the "my kids" card right before giving viewers the number to vote. I haven't seen them try to hype the vote for one contestant like that before -- putting the kids on right before the voting numbers. Maybe next week the producers will bring the eight kids onstage so they can kneel down in front of the camera and beg viewers to vote for mommy. (I'm kidding.)
But, seriously, I have a feeling ABC is going to do all it can to keep Kate on this show. Don't look for her to be leaving any time soon.
As for Pamela Anderson, Tina Turner lives.
Wow, I'll bet no one danced like that at the West Point hops. Did they, Buzz?
And I thought Ochocino opened hot.
You watch a show like this, and you can't help but think that postmodern American popular culture is almost too weird to believe -- as it reveals itself some nights on network and cable TV.
Should I vote for mommy or the man who walked on the moon?