Mirrorball Madness is back, baby!

They waste no time going straight to the competitive routines after a brief welcome from Tom and Brooke following the opening number.

Brant Daugherty

& Peta Murgatroyd

Cha cha

Brant describes himself as a "single threat" because he can't sing or dance. Who knew he could be pretty AND funny? They appear to be dancing to the recorded version of "Blurred Lines."  WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH HAROLD WHEELER?

ACK. They've moved the judges' stand to the opposite of the dance floor. This is too much for my measly brain to handle. AND THEN Bruno admits that something he said came out creepy. Up is Down. Black is White. The Ravens will take the field in Green and Gold!

All the judges see good potential in Brant and are overall enthusiastic about his dancing.

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 8; Bruno: 7

By the way, they gave those scores RIGHT AWAY and there was no awkward interview with Brooke. Have my prayers finally been answered? THE GOAT SACRIFICE WORKED. (Teasing, teasing. I wouldn't go NEAR a goat for ANY reason.)

They also appear to have gotten rid of the crow's nest in favor of a "pit" in the form of a couch beside the stage. Kinda low rent, if you ask me.

Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani


Leah's on the show to "lose weight and not look silly." I'll wager one of those is easier to accomplish than the other. She has no idea if she can dance well or not. Well, this is one very public way to find out, dear.

I think it's possible Tony's suit is made of some plastic, reflective material. Perhaps the costume department has also had budget cuts and they've fashioned it out of garbage bags?

Leah gives Bruno some wonderful "side eye" during his comments about the possibility of her twerking. Carrie Ann likes her hand positioning and Len calls it "clean and precise."


Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 7

Oh, we've exiled Brooke to the "warm up room." I should've used a bigger goat.

Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff


My housemate asked me why they asked a chicken sandwich to dance on the show. I tsked her and then looked at Corbin's

page which actually has a disambiguation link to Cordon Bleu.

Contemporary: They're barefoot. The clothes billow. They have a big piece of fabric they run up and down with. Then it's like they're having sex. Oh, wait! Karina's wearing nude-looking dance shoes. HA! I should send her a thank you note.

The ballroom's gone nuts for the routine. Tom makes a big deal over how nervous Karina appears to be and she points out it's her first contemporary routine.

Carrie Ann loved it and says "emotion" a lot. Len liked it a lot too. Bruno liked it well enough  to actually speak somewhat coherently. That's a BIG sign.

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Oooh - they apparently kept Lindsay around from last year but demoted her to the troupe.

Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke
He explains that he's on the show to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis, with which he was diagnosed in May 2012. He's had complications in the past, including blurred vision and numbness, but he's fine now.
He's a bit flat footed and pigeon toed, but he's surprisingly more charming than I'd ever have given him credit for.
Cheryl admits that her pep talk to Jack can't be repeated on live television. Hee. Bruno calls him "joyful, playful, and uplifting." But he's slightly worried about his turns.
Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 7

They seem to have also abandoned putting tweets up on the screen during the show. Instead, they're reverting to the Olde Wayes and will be sharing Facebook comments later in the show.

It looks like most of the cast of Glee is in the audience to cheer Amber along. That's sweet, really.

Tom leans over on the couch to ask Ms Polizzi about her earlier comments to Brooke about now wishing to be referred to as "Nicole" (her given name) rather than as "Snooki" (her nickname.)  Tom asks if he may instead call her Snoocole.  I love him so much. That's not just cute, it's smart thinking because you can start with the wrong name and end up with the right one.

Amber Riley & Derek Hough

Cha Cha

Amber says she's glad to show young girls who have a body more like hers ("not tiny") that you can still do something like this.

It's a sexy routine and she looks like she might have a knack for this dancing thing.

The ballroom is wild for her. Bruno calls her a "tigress" so he likes her. Carrie Ann is going nuts with the "I'm not worthy" bowing. Len's an old fart, literally, but he still likes it. (He claimed to be "perspirating, palpitating, and flatulating.")

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

That's a HUGE score for the first night. Whoa. Oh, wait, there's a tweet. Whew. Those don't cost, ABC, y'all should keep them going.

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren &

Val Chmerkovskiy


Ah, Elizabeth is here for the "new mommy track" version of Dancing with the Stars. She admits to growing up dancing but that it's been a long time since she danced.

It's contemporary so they're wearing nightclothes and dancing to "Imagine."

Carrie Ann says a lot of adjectives followed by "angel." Len calls it lovely. Bruno, who I'd lay even money has "Showgirls" memorized, loved it enough to give her specific, real dance criticism.

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

They show some rehearsal footage where Val admits that while he did learn English from "Saved by the Bell" he actually had a crush on "the other one" - meaning Kelly Kapowski, played by Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.  He makes a valid point when he says it was her last name, Kapowski, that sounded like a name from around where he was growing up. Hee. Ukrainian humor.

Bill Nye &

Tyne Stecklein

Cha Cha

I have a faint hope that Tyne's mom was a huge "Cagney & Lacey" fan and named her after Tyne Daly. (Don't tell me if I'm wrong.)

Bill Nye shows off his swing dancing skills and then quips that successful couples on the show seem to have "sexual tension." Tyne looks horrified.

Ha! They've got him dancing to "Weird Science." He's playing the nerd thing to the hilt. He's, uh, not doing so well.  Affable, but awkward.

Len says it was like being waxed. "Painful while it was happening and lovely when it was over." I snorted at that.  The crowd's booing, but he's not wrong. Bruno says, "This formula isn't going to get you the Nobel prize." Carrie Ann says, "You're the kind of contestant that makes 'Dancing with the Stars' the special show that it is." Does she mean "special" or does she mean "




Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 5; Len: 4; Bruno: 5

Keyshawn Johnson & Sharna Burgess

Cha Cha

Sharna's wearing skin-tight gold leggings and it's weird when I'm so used to all the fringe and frills and sequins. Also, this show has warped me enough that skin tight gold leggings look understated now.

Bruno says it's like having the Empire State Building try to be a Rockette.  He says that tall guys often have a hard time with the fast dances. His timing, technique, and stiffness all come under fire from the judges.

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 5; Bruno: 6

Christina Milian & Mark Ballas


Bare feet and dry ice. And lots of flailing. So much flailing. Flailing = emotion. Let's talk about my emotions regarding Mark's manpris.

Carrie Ann liked the dancing, but says Christina needs to connect with the audience more. Len echoes the sentiments. Bruno tells her to watch her hands.

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 8

Ugh. Brooke interviews fans in the audience. After the commercial, pointless interview time with Brooke and Brant and Jack. Bleh.

Bill Engvall & Emma Slater

Bill balks at the heels. As if a redneck hasn't seen men in cowboy boots, which routinely have heels as high as the dancing shoes.

On to the dance: he's in hot pink


and dancing to "Hot Stuff." Bill, those are more threatening to your masculinity than the heels on your shoes. He's not bad, though. I may have to reverse my preview rankings of the Bills, Nye and Engvall.

The judges are overall enthusiastic and encouraging about his potential.

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 6; Bruno: 6

Valerie Harper & Tristan MacManus


Valerie says to Tristan, upon meeting him, "You're very handsome, young man."  She was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year, but is living past her "expiration date."

I'm glad they didn't start her out with a fast dance. She looks like she's having a lot of fun and her head and neck are good in hold. She's got that "lean way back" thing that the pros do and that most amateurs balk at. I think she may have goofed a couple of steps but it was good overall.

As soon as the dance is over, Tristan, after a hug, steps away from Valerie so she has the spotlight and adoration all to herself. I'm not made of stone - there was a little bit of tearing up here.

Bruno says, "How can you criticize a national treasure?" To which Valerie replies, "You must." Good for her; what a pro. Bruno talks about some of her shoulder issues. Carrie Ann's in tears and gives her some advice about her turns. Len liked it and gives her a few pointers as well.

Judges' Scores:

Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 7

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi & Sasha Farber
Cha cha
Nicole says before she got pregnant she was a "hot mess." She's happy on meeting her pro partner because Sasha is short and she's only 4'9".  
This may be the cha-cha-iest of the cha chas we've seen tonight - as in it has the most traditional cha cha content. That should please Len.
Carrie Ann says it was great and likes her tone and form. Len calls her a "pocket rocket." Carrie Ann is shocked and asks Len if he knows what that is. When he doesn't and asks her to tell him, she says she's not going to say it.  I'll leave y'all to look it up for yourself. (Hint: she's not referring to a small motorcycle.)  Oh Lordy. Does this mean my mom is going to call me to have me explain it to her? Or worse, she DOESN'T call, because she ALREADY KNOWS?? Let's just hope Ma's finally figured out the internet on her own.
Carrie Ann can't stop giggling while Len praises Nicole's footwork. Bruno also compliments her legs, especially for a "non-dancer."
Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 7


  • Amber & Derek: 27
  • Corbin & Karina: 24
  • Elizabeth & Val:  24
  • Jack & Cheryl: 23
  • Nicole & Sasha: 23
  • Brant & Peta: 22
  • Christina & Mark: 22
  • Valerie & Tristan: 21
  • Leah & Tony: 21
  • Bill Engvall & Emma: 18
  • Keyshawn & Sharna: 17
  • Bill Nye & Tyne: 14

Predictions: Three points between last place and next to last place is HUGE. I worry for Bill Nye. He and Keyshawn were really the worst of the bunch, though.  It's possible Bill Nye can rally his internet troops and he certainly has more charisma and charm than Keyshawn.  I'm torn as to which one's going home, but it's definitely one of those two.

WAIT - as the credits roll, Tom thanks Harold Wheeler and we see a brief shot of him. I can call off the Amber Alert.