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DWTS Season 14: First dance

Twelve couples perform fox trot, cha cha cha

katherine_&_mark_perform_a_fox_trot_on_the_first_week_of_performance

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After fourteen seasons, it’s hard to believe the folks at Dancing With The Stars could round up a random bunch of “celebrities” for more dancing, but they’ve done it! Some of you may have missed the first go-round of the show because of our weather coverage (and I’m part of that bunch, so don’t get too cranky). I caught the repeat on Saturday, so I was able to see the first performances. If you missed the first dance – or missed my oh-so-witty recap – consider this Christmas in March.

Let’s get to the dancing!

COUPLE: Maria & Derek

DANCE: Cha cha cha

I don’t know a whole lot about Maria, but I do know she’s athletic. Athletes tend to do well in this competition. Oh. She has the craziest laugh. I’m suddenly worried for her health (not because of the dancing). I have no idea how the first ten seconds of this dance went because it was so dark. In the light, I can see that Maria is wearing what may be the tiniest first dance costume in the show’s history! She’s not bad, but she’s really stiff – like she has Barbie’s unbendable knees.

Len said nothing can prepare you for the first dance. He said Maria coped very well. He wanted more hip action. Bruno said Maria is curvaceously delicious. He said her timing was good, as was her hand placement. He said Maria needs to “open up the sex pot.” I’m uncomfortable. He told Maria to think about Sofia Vergara. Carrie Ann thought it was a strong, solid cha cha. She said she wants to see confidence between moves.

SCORE: 21

COUPLE: Jack & Anna

DANCE: Fox trot

I think Jack’s soap experience should help him out. He can use those facial expressions to mask any fear he has on the dance floor. Oh, wait. He’s starting the dance on the ground, kicking his legs in the air. I was about to write him off as a one-dance wonder, then he and Anna started dancing in hold. Much better, but his feet sometimes seemed stuck to the floor. Now, if Jack was the least bit worried about how he’d do, his face certainly didn’t show it. See? Soap acting pays off!

Bruno said it was beautifully acted and danced. Carrie Ann said the dance took her to a happy place. She said Jack can act, sing AND dance. Len said the dance had a lightness about it and a feel-good factor. He said Jack’s posture was poor, he had hap-hazard footwork. Len said he enjoyed the performance.

SCORE: 23

COUPLE: Donald & Peta

DANCE: Cha cha cha

Just watching the tape from his rehearsals, I am naming Donald (and his skinny legs) one of my favorites! Why is he pretending to sing at the beginning? I think Donald has enough hip action for the judges. And hats off to the wardrobe department – Peta’s super-skimpy costume stayed in place (much to the chagrin of some of my co-workers). Donald has Emmitt-esque charisma. I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Carrie Ann said Donald is nothing but charisma and charm. She said he “kicked that cha cha’s booty.” She said it was a crowd pleaser, though she didn’t know how much cha cha was there. Len said Donald’s attitude was good, he had flair. He said Donald lost time. He said Donald’s next dance will need more control. Bruno said Donald is a diamond in the rough. He said Donald was like “a rooster chasing a hen.” He said Donald has the talent, he needs to refine it.

SCORE: 21

COUPLE: Gavin & Karina

DANCE: Fox trot

I’m worried for Gavin. He doesn’t seem the least bit confident that he can do this. I’d watch with one hand over my eyes, but it’s hard to type. Question for you Gavinites (is that what his fans are called?): does he always wear a hat? Because that’s totally distracting me. His footwork wasn’t bad, but he sometimes seemed to be walking through the dance. Meh.

Len said he liked the routine, but he said Gavin was a little bit stiff in his arms and legs. He said the dance lacked musicality. Bruno said Gavin had great charm. He said Gavin has to learn to link the moves. He said Gavin stiffens up at the wrong times. Carrie Ann Gavin has great musical interpretation. She said the flow was nice, but she thought Gavin’s arm was hyper-extended.

SCORE: 20

COUPLE: Roshon & Chelsie

DANCE: Cha cha cha

Roshon is the youngest competitor on the show. That explains why I have no idea who he is. Roshon is a hip hop dancer but that doesn’t seem to be helping him in rehearsals. I’m growing tired of these performances not starting with dancing. Why is Roshon on a lounger? Once he started dancing, Roshon was actually quite good. I liked his Michael Jackson moves – including that moonwalk! Roshon is now on my radar!

Bruno said Roshon “can go on and on and on!” He said Roshon was laser-sharp. He said it was unbelievable. Carrie Ann said it was the coolest spin she’s seen on a cha cha in all 14 seasons. Len said Roshon can dance and the performance level was high. He said technically, it was low. Still, he gave it a “well done.”

SCORE: 23

COUPLE: Sherri & Val

DANCE: Fox trot

I think Sherri may be the biggest (no pun intended) challenge for the wardrobe department. I mean, if they can keep her top from budging, they deserve every award out there – even a Nobel prize. I’m hopeful this funny lady can do an elegant dance. Otherwise, this competition could get serious fast. Her footwork is good. I just wonder why she made so many faces? It’s like when Mark dances and he makes fish lips. Distracting.

Carrie Ann said Sherri is the happiest contestant they’ve ever had. She said the transitions were good. She did notice Sherri had a few moments of getting lost. Len agreed. He said Sherri’s dance was “fun fun fun.” Bruno said she made his night. He said Sherri is light on her feet, had good timing and she lights up the room.

SCORE: 23

COUPLE: Melissa & Maks

DANCE: Cha cha cha

Melissa wins the night’s award for most covered and fringed star to dance. Maks also wins the prize for first to show his chest. Melissa is like the opposite of Sherri – her face didn’t make many expressions. I can’t tell if she was having fun or just trying to get through this. I think she barely got through this. Definitely room for improvement. And perhaps a little payback from the judges after Maks’s snippy comments last season (you didn’t think they’d give him the best partner, did you?).

Len said he would have liked to have seen more shaping in Melissa’s free arm and hip action. He thought it was an ambitious routine. He thought she had some great lines. Bruno said “it’s the attack of the woman in black.” He said Melissa can grind it, but her free hand flew away. He said it was an inspiring first performance. Carrie Ann said Melissa had a difficult routine and didn’t miss a step. She said Melissa’s shoulders were too high. She said Melissa needs to be free and let go.

SCORE: 20

COUPLE: William & Cheryl

DANCE: Cha cha cha

He’s called the “Mexican Brad Pitt.” Wrong. He’s WAY hotter than Brad Pitt! My tip to Cheryl: no shirt for William as often as possible. It will get votes! You wouldn’t know William missed a week of rehearsal. He’s not bad. He’s a little stiff sometimes, but I’m fairly certain none of the judges will say he’s not using his hips. Did I mention he’s nice to look at? Just checking.

Bruno stood up and called William “the hottest package of the season.” He said William is overdressed. Oh. My. God. I’m thinking like Bruno now. SEND HELP! Carrie Ann thanked ABC for her job. She said William can dance. She said he’s a good partner. She likes the way he moves. Len said William kept in the spirit of the cha cha cha. He said William was in control.

SCORE: 24

COUPLE: Martina & Tony

DANCE: Fox trot

I have no idea what to think of Martina. Can tennis players dance? I’ve never thought there’s much grace in tennis. Maybe it’s the grunting that makes me think that? If anyone can bring some elegance to a lady Martina’s age, it’s Tony. By golly, I think he’s done it! I can’t tell if Martina’s feet came off the floor when Tony twirled her. I might be wrong, but it’s possible Martina was counting steps. Fun, but not as good as her tennis playing.

Carrie Ann said Martina is beautiful. She said Martina should work on her turns. Len said it was close but not quite there. He said the dance was too careful. He said Martina has to come out and wow it a little more. Bruno said Martina has never looked better. He said she did a good job. He said she needs to extend her moves through her arms.

SCORE: 20

COUPLE: Katherine & Mark

DANCE: Fox trot

Katherine is so cute, I want to put her in a jewelry box so she can pop up and sing and dance when I open it. I’m crazy like that. This is the most elegant performance from a lady tonight. Her arms are lovely. She’s light on her feet. I could watch this dance over and over. She’s REALLY good!

Len said Katherine had wonderful musicality. He liked the detail of the dance. He said he wanted Katherine to lift her rib cage a little more while in hold. Bruno said it was exquisite. He said Katherine’s quality of movement was surreal. Carrie Ann said it was like watching two pros together.

SCORE: 26 (that’s the highest score ever given on week one!)

COUPLE: Gladys & Tristan

DANCE: Cha cha cha

I cannot believe The Pips wouldn’t let Gladys dance back in the day! I don’t care if Gladys messes up because she looks like she’s in it to have fun. That’s my kind of contestant! I love the sass factor here. She has definite musicality. I think Tristan may have been too safe in the choreography. I had fun watching this. I almost put down my laptop to dance along. ALMOST. (Note: if I do this, there will be no video for you to judge!)

Bruno said “the legend has got the moves.” He said she’s a real star. Carrie Ann jumped up and danced. She said Gladys was shaking her tail feather like nobody’s business. Len said Gladys’s dance oozed rhythm and she did a wonderful job.

SCORE: 23

COUPLE: Jaleel & Kym

DANCE: Fox trot

Jaleel wants you to know he’s no Urkel. However, if he makes it to the finale, I’d love to see some Urkel in the freestyle. Just in the first few beats of this dance, I’m going to say Jaleel will make it very far in this competition. He is incredibly graceful! He’s also strong. This is the best fox trot one of the guys has done! If he doesn’t get a few nines from the judges, I’m going to be sad!

Carrie Ann said Jaleel is the icing on the cake. She said his dance was smooth. Len loved the seamless transitions. He said this was the best first show of any season. Bruno said he thought he was watching Gregory Hines. He said Jaleel couldn’t have been better.

SCORE: 26

WOW! What a fantastic first dance from these couples. Some of them don’t have very far to go (so for drama, I expect some to stumble halfway through the competition). I can’t wait to see their second dances! 

You can see the performances online here.


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