Last night’s premiere had the predictable front-runners, a couple of nice surprises, and some expected duds.
While there was some fun to be had, the season premiere lacked the punch of seasons past. Maybe I have been watching the show for too long, maybe it is the cast, but something about this season is not nearly as exciting to me as it has been before.
I feel like it is the cast. There are a couple of good surprises like Bonner Bolton, David Ross, and Erika Jayne. Everyone else is so obviously good or bad, it takes the fun out of guessing who is going to be left standing at the end.
But enough of my complaints. Let’s get to the recap. Going from lowest to highest scores (as always):
Chris and Witney (Cha-Cha) – Keeping with the theme of predictability, Witney has never heard of her partner. Are there people she has heard of? As for the dancing, well at least there was a lot of comedy in it. Having broken his neck 20 years ago in a stunt gone wrong and multiple surgeries needed to correct it, the SNL alumni was stiff and awkward in his “interpretation of a cha-cha-cha with a hangover” as Bruno put it. It was not good to watch and I imagine his dance next week won’t be much better. Hopefully he can improve some, but I don’t feel too optimistic about it. I do want him to stick around. He is entertaining and doing what he can. Score: 17
Mr. T and Kym (Salsa) – Much like Chris Kattan, Mr. T’s performance was unsurprisingly not good. The big man has serious issues with moving gracefully, but there is some credit in how hard he is trying. The TV star could, in all likelihood, improve. He won’t be on the level of the ringers, but he can become enjoyable to watch. I can admire a person who takes on a challenge to prove that not trying is worse than trying and failing. Score: 20
Charo and Keo (Salsa) – Speaking of high entertainment. The comedian/singer/dancer/entertainer does not lack vigor in her performance on the ballroom floor or in rehearsals. Good thing she has the young and energetic Keo as a partner. Charo could be a dark horse if she can get down the technique. She does need to take her act down a notch in order to stay long enough to earn the dark horse reputation. Score: 21
Bonner and Sharna (Salsa) – Sharna is in love (that blush after meeting him) and I might be a little too. The pro bull rider is smoking hot and has some moves. He also has some smoking hot chemistry with Sharna. Like Kattan, Bonner is also dealing with the aftermath of a neck breaking injury that happened a year ago. It was pretty obvious the nerves of the first show got to him, but Bonner managed to pull out a decent performance. He just needs to keep moving his hips like he does. Score: 22
Erika and Gleb (Salsa) – To keep her pro partner motivated, the reality star promised Gleb a Lamborghini if she gets the Mirror Ball trophy. Like her song says “it’s expensive to be me.” While the salsa has some high points, there is much room for improvement. Her chemistry with Gleb is very enjoyable. Erika is going to be a wild one on the show in the best kind of way. While I’m all for her embracing her sexuality, I do hope she goes out of her comfort zone and try tapping into some elegance. Score: 24
Nick and Peta (Cha-Cha) – Having finally found a woman who said yes to his marriage proposal (third time was really the charm), Nick is trying his hand at dancing. This is a man who is in no hurry to return to software sales. The latest Bachelor star was much better than I expected him to be with some respectable hip action and decent chemistry with his pro partner. Nick also displayed more personality in his introduction package than I have seen in him in all of his appearances in the dating reality show. Score: 24
Normani and Val (Quickstep) – While the singer opened the show with a good dance and has some suitable chemistry with the reining pro champion, there is something very bland about Normani. I like the group Fifth Harmony enough, their music is catchy, but it also sounds like everything else on the Top 40 radio stations. Not being a hater here, it is just copycat artist make for dull entertainers and she will end up in the middle of the pack every time. Normani needs to find a way to be surprising. Val needs to push beyond the safe and typical moves used in each dance and create something fun if he wants to stand out and continue on. Also, I don’t believe her claims of passing out during rehearsals. If it actually happened, then the producers would have shown it to up the drama. Score: 27
Nancy and Artem (Viennese Waltz) – It was pretty obvious the Olympian ice skater is not going to be the next Meryl Davis, but there is a lot of potential in Nancy to go far in this competition. There was some stiffness and awkwardness in her movements, but I feel like that was more due to nerves than anything else. Like Bonner, now the first show is over and she knows what to expect, Nancy is going to be a powerhouse. Let’s hope Artem gets to create some fun choreography and show off what could be one of the more engaging parings of the season. Score: 28
Heather and Maks (Viennese Waltz) – Another ringer. Yes, her style of dancing she was trained in is very different from ballroom, but the foundation of how to move is there. It was unshocking how elegant her waltz was. What saves this couple from becoming too boring in how good they are is Heather’s chemistry and potentially entertaining partnership with the personality heavy Maks. The two of them together could have some spectacular dances. Score: 28
David and Lindsay (Quickstep) – In a night of tedious predictability, the reigning World Series Champion was a truly great surprise. My father was a catcher for a semi-pro ball club for many years and I have seen the effects of crouching behind a plate for those years has on his knees. It is amazing to me David can move like he can being 40 and playing 14 years in the MLB. The quickstep is no joke. His proficient dance skills are fun to watch, but it is David’s sparkling personality makes him easy to root for. Score: 28
Rashad and Emma (Cha-Cha) – Another sparkling personality that will be sure to entertain for many episodes, the NFLer came out of the gate with a strong routine. I don’t think he was as good as the judges made him out to be. His scores were a bit too high for the performance. I think they were dazzled by the charisma he just oozes. There is some stiffness in his movements which I find is typical of the football players who come on the show. I have no doubt Emma will work that out of him and earn those high scores. Scores: 31
Simone and Sasha (Tango) – Raise your hand if you were shocked at how fantastic the GOAT Olympic gymnast was. No one. Buller. Buller. Score: 32
Normally I do this when the full cast is announced, but I’m still figuring out how to balance life, school, and writing. So, we are doing the predictions now.
First to go: Chris Kattan – Like I said, I want the comedian to stick around, but that first dance was just not good. It was a little painful to watch the judges scramble for nice things to say afterwards. I don’t think he is getting the sympathy votes either.
Obvious Mirror Ball Trophy Winner: Simone Biles – She is amazing, she is sweet, and she is well loved. Simone is going to get all the votes and that is fine. It makes the show a little lackluster when it is evident who the winner will be. Especially when it is clear from the first episode. Last season we all knew it was going to be Laurie Hernandez, but Calvin Johnson and James Hinchcliffe gave her a good run for her money and kept it interesting up until the final. Heather and Rashad could do the same here, but I’m not feeling that same excitement so far.
Hopefully week two will have a some more surprises in store for us as we start going into the themed dances.
What did you think of the premiere for DWTS season 24? Who was your favorite of the night? Were you a little unimpressed with the cast so far? Or do you completely disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below.