On tonight’s Dancing with the Stars, we get to see the women dance and we meet the one person on the show who’s more excited to be there than Steve Guttenberg.
Tonight’s episode starts off as every episode does – with Tom Bergeron yelling at us that it’s live, the introduction parade and a recap of last night’s episode. There was also a tag at the end of the women’s reaction, which is essentially "bring it on." When talking to the judges, Len warns that he was in a very good mood last night but he’s feeling a bit grumpy-pants tonight. Maybe it’s because that one singer in the band is wearing a neon yellow dress. She looks like a human highlighter.
1. Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough
Dance/Song: Cha Cha – "Shut Up and Drive" by Rhianna.
Derek acknowledges that the pretty girls tend to get bounced early in the competition. Shannon’s issues are that she’s a tomboy and not used to heels and that she’s a perfectionist. To remedy the heels bit, she’s been doing everything in them including walking the dog and working out. The latter issue has Derek telling her that it’s not going to be perfect on performance night but that’s okay. Well, the good news is that she looks more comfortable on the heels. She has promise but she needs to work on her fluidity and toe points. The music was a bit slow so it seemed somewhat plodding at times but, overall, she shows a lot of promise.
Judges: Len says to work on her legs but keep her dresses short. Carrie Ann is impressed by her confidence and says to improve her flexibility.
Score: 21 (all 7’s)
Before I get to the next dance, let me take a moment to say that whatever high hopes I had for the house band this season have been officially dashed. I didn’t have a single bad thing to say about the music
yesterday and what thanks do I get? A horrible song choice straight out
the gate. They’re killing me and it’s only the first number.
2. Monica Seles & Jonathan Roberts
Dance/Song: Foxtrot – "Bubbly" by Cobie Caillet
Monica is having issues being soft and girly because she’s a tomboy and used to having to crush her competitors. She was having a lot of issues in rehearsals but Jonathon’s managed to really help her along. She’s still having some problems but, seriously, so much better. He’s the freakin’ Dance Whisperer. Monica emoted very well and looked good during the holds however there were moments where she looked unbalanced (the solo spins especially).
Judges: Len and Bruno tell her to support her dance from the center. Carrie Ann commends her on trying and tells her that the basic principles of dance are similar to tennis.
Score: 15 (all 5’s). Harsh but accurate.
3. Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani
Dance/Song: Cha Cha – "Low" by Flo Rida. Seriously? Really? Argh!
Marissa is a super fan of the show and is super excited to take part. Tony’s biggest challenge is to get her to channel her ever-abundant energy and teach her to scale down her dancing (she’s used to playing to a huge Broadway audience so all her movements tend to be exaggerated). Wow. Tony’s all kinds of sparkly tonight. Okay, Marissa’s got to work on her dance face. It’s Muppety like Helio’s was last season. She had a lot of energy and charisma, definitely, and the crowd loved her. Heck, I love her. But the choreography was not so much as there wasn’t much in terms of Cha Cha moves. I blame the crap song. Sure, Tony should know better but there’s only so much you can do with that. Even Julianne has issues with songs like this one. Marissa is the female Guttenberg in that she’s so happy to be there and I also want to squeeze her like a stuffed animal. Especially when she said that she messed up one of the steps because she got all excited when the crowd cheered.
Judges: Carrie Ann, Bruno and Len all recognize how talented she is but tell Tony he needs to give her more content.
Score: 18 (all 6’s)
4. Priscilla Presley & Louis Van Amstel
Dance/Song: Foxtrot – "Feeling Good" by many artists including Michael Buble
Priscilla is doing the show because she’s a private person but feels she needs to get out into the world again. Upon meeting Louie (who’s always kind of creeped me out, honestly), she tells him not to baby her. Priscilla needs some work on her arms and shoulders but she has a natural grace about her. She also emotes very well. Ooo…they actually performed the Death Drop they rehearsed. She was quite good overall, the best so far.
Judges: Bruno says she has star quality and Carrie Ann called her elegant and "the Queen of the Dance Floor." Len also really enjoyed it and they all said she needs to work on her lines.
Score: 24 (all 8’s)
5. Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas
Dance/Song: Foxtrot – a Jazz Standard I assume is called "Can You Imagine"
Kristi’s wondering if people are going to have high expectations for her because she’s a Gold medalists. Her problem, which seems to be fairly common, is getting used to the heels but soon she snaps into training mode and it’s on. One good thing is that she already has good control of her arms and posture. Wow. She was really good. Great frame, great personality…remember how I said Priscilla was the best of the night so far? Wrong. Kristi is.
In the post-dance interview, Samantha Harris brings up that some may
think her figure skating gives her an advantage. She says that it
didn’t as there were a lot of habits they had to break in rehearsal. I
agree because the only advantage it gives her is flexibility and body
control, which anyone who does Yoga or Pilates also has. I think the
advantage for her, and for all the athletes, is the intense focus and
work ethic that they’ve developed over the years.
Judges: Bruno says it was one the best first round performances he’s ever seen, Carrie Ann was amazed at how she made it look effortless and Len wanted to pick on little things he normally doesn’t take note of in the opening round.
Score: 27 (all 9’s)
6. Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez
Dance/Song: Cha Cha – "Get On Your Feet" by Gloria Estefan
Fabian is the only new dancer this year. He entertains me. As does Marlee. I’ve always liked her. Her disadvantage comes from having to occasionally rely on her interpreter to communicate even though she can read lips well (when she’s tired mostly). Well, that and the whole not hearing thing. So she’s come to use Fabian as her music – she interprets his facial expressions, body movements, etc. She’s got surprisingly good hip action, especially for the first performance (better than Shannon Elizabeth). Marlee proved she has the good sense of rhythm she claimed during the pre-taped bio. Her frame is solid as are her leg movements. She’s got a whole lot of potential.
Judges: Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno all agree that she has great fluidity and are impressed.
Score: 22 (7-7-8)
Gutten-ism of the Day: If we can get the leaders of the world to dance together, there would be peace.
I’m pretty impressed by the ladies. Like the guys, there are no real clunkers in the bunch. Kristi, Priscilla and Marlee really were the stand-outs for me. Kristi appears to be the front-runner but I think she may have some trouble with the Latin dances. How about you guys? Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?