By Dawn Fallon:
With a mix of celebrities more eclectic than usual, Season 23 of Dancing With The Stars will be more eventful than any other. We’ve got a football player, IndyCar driver, a couple of olympians, a couple of old farts, a few celebrity has-beens, a grown-up child star, and for the very first time, a “little person”.
Marilu Henner started the competition with her signature ponytail and a Jive (YIKES!). But with the expert guidance of her winning partner, Derek Hough, they tied for second place. Marilu is definitely a contender, proving at 64 years old that age is just a number in your head. IndyCar racer, James Hinchliffe, surprised everyone with his Foxtrot skills, and he and Sharna Burgess sparkled in some of the best costumes of the evening. Football giant Calvin Johnson didn’t let his size 15 feet get in the way of literally tossing and throwing tiny Lindsay Arnold around the dance floor in a pretty decent Cha Cha. Even with the ridiculous height difference they made a competitive showing on opening night. By far the most gratitude shown all evening was flowing in tears from Maureen McCormick’s eyes, before, during, & after her gorgeous Viennese Waltz. The pleasure of watching her dance was quickly stomped with the close up of her face. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, please don’t let the network cake your face so heavily. Don’t they know everyone is watching HDTV? You look like a well-worn handbag, bless your heart (as we say in the South).
Kenny “Baby Face” Edmonds (who??) dazzled in a blue velvet blazer to ‘get out of his comfort zone and make his mom (rest in peace) proud of him’. He was clearly out of his comfort zone. I’m not sure where he was exactly, but he looked a million miles away. That smile is not going to win the competition, so he needs to step it up a few notches in every way. Ah, Amber Rose. Pairing with Maks was genius. The sexual tension is thick, if only she could get that look off her face that says she’s about to LOL. She talks a good sensual game, but fell short on the dance floor with her emotional disconnect. Plus, that booty has got to be in the way. Who knew Vanilla Ice was still rappin’? What corny decision maker had him dancing to Ice Baby? Regardless, his street dancing style was a hit with the audience and judges, even thought it was just a cleverly disguised Cha Cha.
Where Amber left off in sexual tension, Jana Kramer from Friday Night Lights brought it all and then some with her sultry Viennese Waltz with the he’s-so-hot-he-must-be-fake Gleb Savchenko. I’m sweating just thinking about it. The Janet Jackson costume malfunction after the dance was so distracting I didn’t even hear the judges comments. Jake T. Austin (child star grown up) has been paired with a first-season pro, so he can’t get gone soon enough. They looked like a 12-year-old trying to keep up with his teacher. Governor Rick Perry showed up got get some free ballroom lessons in preparation for his daughter’s wedding. Period. It’s too bad the talented Emma Slater’s stint this season will be short. Little person, Terra Jole, stunned with her abilities, especially considering she’s six weeks out from giving birth. Even though her instant chemistry with her very talented partner, Sasha Farber, paid off, her days are short (pun intended). Ryan Lochte – really? I guess some members of the audience felt the same way as two of them rushed the stage during his critiquing. Fast security saved the night and no one was hurt. Too much drama for this show. The crowning performance of the night was gymnast Laurie Hernandez and Val kick-ass-and-take-names Cha Cha. It’s almost unfair to the rest of the celebrities to make them compete against Val and a gold-medal winning gymnast. They can’t lose!