Dancing off the Edge

with Jenny T. Partridge

Dancing With The Stars – Season Eight – Premiere Night #1

Posted by ctanglefoot on March 10, 2009

The injuries that plagued last season showed up before the season of Dancing With The Stars could premiere, taking two competitors out of the running and throwing two replacements in to the fray. 

First out of the dancing was pop/folk singer songwriter Jewel, who was to have made Dancing With the Stars history along with her pro-rodeo husband Ty Murray who’s also in the competition. Breaking both Tibia Jewel had to bow out last Thursday, leaving her replacement, reality star/Playboy Playmate Holly Madison to fill Jewel’s shoes. Madison and her professional partner, newcomer Dimitri Chaplin, had three days to practice.

As Jewel’s departure was announced and her replacement rumored, Nancy O’Dell of TV’s Insider had to drop out of the season with a torn Meniscus tendon in her knee.  O’Dell goes under the knife Thursday to repair the rupture. Jilted on national TV last week by the Bachelor that shan’t be named here, Melissa Rykroff, was announced as O’Dell’s replacement – she and her professional partner had approximately 48 hours to learn and rehearse their waltz, keep that in mind it becomes important later on.

Season nine of Dancing With The Stars sports several new professional dancers, Chelsea Hightower and Dimitri Chaplin; the recently engaged Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff; and the first mixed couple (meaning a pro and a celeb) in Julianne Hough and her boyfriend country singer, Chuck Wicks (who are competing together. The season also will have a dance off between the two lowest vote getting couples on elimination night.

So how did the competition unfold in night one? To be honest I missed the opening number because of work…

Lil’ Kym and Derek Hough opened the competition with a cha cha. The recap clip showed a stiff Lil’ Kym (but it was just a five second clip.)  The judges awarded them straight sevens for 21 points on the night.  Those points will be combined with next Monday night’s competition points and the viewer votes from both night, before the first elimination night on Tuesday, March 17th.

Belinda Carlisle and Jonathan Roberts waltzed. Lovely dance with nice up and down movement.  But her feet were heavy and there was no polished movements in her feet and toes. The judges scored them 6 – 6 – 5 for a total 17 points.

Lawrence Taylor and  Edyta Sliwinska cha cha’d for their first dance of the competition.  He was a little stiff, but better than I expected.  Ending was a bit awkward. The judges scored them 6 – 5 – 5 for 16 points.

Steve-O (Jackass) and Lacey Schwimmer danced a waltz. His feet were a little fast, not a lot of up and down waltz movement, strange start, but really not a bad dance.  The judges scored them 6 – 5 – 6 for 17 points.

Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke, first I have to say his name is pronounced Je-illes, I’m going to have problems with that, cha cha’d for their first dance.  Nice hips, good chemistry, but maybe a little to relaxed. They are definitely working on hot – back stage rumors say these to are hot for each other, but that is just a rumor.  Nice fingers and toes. The judges scored them straight 8’s for 24 points and the leader board for the first week.

Chuck Wicks and Julieann Hough waltz. Nice lovely lines, nice foot work, weird chemistry for two people in love (he kept looking up and away.) Some of the footwork was a bit too fast, but it was tight foot work. The judges scored them  6 – 7 – 7  for 20 points.

Holly Madison and Dimitri Chaplin drew the cha cha. Remember 3 days only to practice, not bad for limited time. But she does move like a model, and her nervous laugh – argh.  The judges scored them straight sixes for 18 points.

Ty Murray and Chelsea Hightower danced a Cha Cha.  Kind of a stiff dance from him, but he had the twirling of his partner down pat. Maybe Bruno said it best, “It was like an Army drill, left, right, left.” The judges scored them 5 – 4 – 5 for 14 points.

Shawn Johnson is the youngest competitor ever on Dancing With the Stars and is partnered with Mark Ballas they drew the waltz.  She has delightful polished movements in her hands and feet, but she also has “gymnastic arms” too fast instead of drawn out elegance. Beautiful body attitude, lovely smile but she needs more emotional connection to the music and her partner.  The judges scored them 8 – 8 – 7 for 23 points.

Steve Wozniak and Karnia Smirnoff Cha Cha’d. He gave it his all. Not elegant, not really good…at all, but he was exuberant and joyous. The judges gave then 5 – 4 – 4 for 13 points and the bottom of the leader board.

David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson Waltz. Lovely, wonderful lines, he needs to work on his shoulders and chemistry with Kym.  Nice footwork.  The judges scored them 6 – 7 – 6 for 19 points.

Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy Cha Cha’d. She gave it a good go, but I think nerves made her get lost in the number. He was a little bit stiff and had small movements. On the other hand she looked great.  The judges scored them straight sixes for 18 points.

Melissa Rykroff and Tony Dovolani waltzed. Remember they only had 48 or so hours to get their routine memorized and refined. It was 48 hours well spent. Watch out she has the potential to be very good in this competition if tonight’s waltz is any indicator.  Very nice lines. The judges scored them 8 – 7 – 8 for 23 points.

Again, tonight’s scores and viewer votes will be added to the judge’s scores and view votes from next Monday night’s second night of dances.  Tuesday night the voting will reveal which two couples made it into the bottom round. Those two couples will have a dance off with the loser being crowned the first to leave season 9 of Dancing With The Stars.

Until then,




One Response to “Dancing With The Stars – Season Eight – Premiere Night #1”

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