Unfortunately for ABC, DWTS is turning into Make-a-Wish for Seniors.
For weeks, the network’s been touting all these new changes to the show that were revealed on Monday night, so I hope you all were ready for them! Here they are, in no particular order:
- You get 12 votes per phone line, per e-mail address, and Facebook account. That’s 36 votes, y’all. Oooooh.
- The show will only air one night a week. Ahhhh.
- Couples keep their numbers the whole season. Say it with me now. Ohhhhhh.
- The couples waiting to dance sit on a bench in what’s called “the pit” a/k/a, to the right of the judging table. No longer will there be breathless couples rushing up the stairs to anxiously await their scores. And there won’t be anyone falling down them.
- There’s a new “warmup room,” makeup area, and a bleacher section outside the ballroom where Brooke “The Robot” Burke can “interact” with real people, and by real people, I mean 16-year-old girls dressed for homecoming.
C’mon ABC – It was like they were starting a brand new show instead of launching the SEVENTEENTH iteration of DWTS, with all the screw-ups, accidental walk-ons and general cluster-fuckery that was going on. I have to give ABC props, though. It only mentioned cancer three times in two hours.
First up was Brant Daugherty, who’s apparently an actor on “Pretty Little Liars” and “Army Wives,” two shows I’ve never seen before. He and his partner, Peta, establish that they’re both single early on, so anything can happen. And then Brant talked about his mom for the next five minutes and how she loves to shop at Walmart so that was that. They danced the Cha-cha to “Blurred Lines.” Len loved it, Bruno apologized for being creepy (long overdue), and Carrie Ann told Brant he had “a lot of potential,” which she pretty much says to everyone on Week 1. They scored a solid 22 out of 30.
Next up were Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani who performed a fox trot. Leah Remini is best known for being on “The King of Queens” and, more recently, pissing off Tom Cruise and the rest of the Scientologists by leaving the organization. Tony wore a shiny suit that made him look perpetually wet. Bruno said Leah went all “Miley Cyrus” for a moment, while Carrie Ann said Leah was a combination of “sass and class.” Fun fact: Leah Remini once played Zach Morris’ summer love interest on “Saved by the Bell.” They got a 21/30.
The third pair was Disney Kid Corbin Bleu, who was in “High School Musical” and has Broadway experience, and Karina Smirnoff. They performed a highly sexualized contemporary dance with Karina in a toga and DK sporting an all-white Don Johnson ensemble. Walt Disney would not approve. Carrie Ann said it was “emotion in motion,” Len was impressed, and Bruno marveled over Chicken Corbin Bleu’s tender touch. They got a 24.
After the commercial break, it was Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke’s turn to take the floor. Jack was clearly nervous, but said he’s “not counting himself too short.” Good for you, Jack. Good for you. Cheryl sold him out by saying he was sweating all over her arms. Jack said he was doing the show to raise awareness about MS, the disease he was diagnosed with last year. It was slightly unexpected that the son of the “Prince of Darkness” would dance the foxtrot to “Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag,” but stranger things have happened. His mom, Sharon, apparently was sobbing, but it was a bit like watching the Tin Man cry. (I’m saying she looks like she had some work done.) Looks like Jack’ll be giving sister Kelly (DWTS Season 9) a run for her money. Score: 23/30
Amber Riley (“Glee”) and Derek Hough were the surprise couple of the night, and scored the highest, with 9s across the board for their Cha-cha. Riley says she wants to be a role model for young girls who look like her, which is admirable. Some of her B-team “Glee” cast mates were there to cheer her on. Bruno called her the Tigress of Season 17, Carrie Ann said she “turned that cha cha out” and Derek was so excited, he ripped his jacket. Len was equally impressed, but he managed to keep his shirt on/jacket intact. Score: 27/30
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy: Hoping to cash in on the Ralph Lauren prep vote by adding her husband’s last name, Jessie Spano mentioned that she’s a new mom no less than three times (gotta rally the mommy vote!) Val said he learned English while watching “Saved by the Bell” but confessed he had a crush on Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and that A.C. Slater could’ve kept her.
Jessie Spano said she was making her emotional return to the world of dance, saying she “closed the door to dancing” after “Showgirls” came out, but is now ready for her second chance. She “contemporary” danced barefoot to “Imagine.” Carrie Ann said her dance tonight was great, far superior to her pole work in “Showgirls.” (How could it not be?) Score: 24/30
Bill Nye the Science Guy and his partner Tyne Stecklein were up next. (What’s with all the new people? Are all the pros getting knee replacements this season or what?)
Leading up to tonight, I was most looking forward to Bill Nye’s performance. They called themselves “Hot Knowledge,” which is endearing, because I love when teams give themselves names. They Cha cha’d to “Weird Science.” “We’re going to produce a cha cha experience that will fill you with joy,” Nye predicted. Len was not bowled over, comparing it to a bikini wax – painful throughout and he was happy when it was over. (And how does he know this?) Carrie Ann called Bill N. “the heart of the show” because he was having fun out there, and that’s what the show is about. Give him room to improve, people! He’s not joining the Ice Capades after this. Geez! Score: 14/30
Former football player Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess (another newbie) danced the Cha-cha. The guys at ESPN teased him a bit, and expect him back in two weeks. His timing was a bit off, but he got better as it went on. Score: 17/30
Singer Christina Milian and Mark Ballas performed a contemporary dance. While Mark was trying to teach her the dance, he told her to “walk like you’re shitfaced and a friend is helping you out.” She immediately started crying, which means she was thinking the same thing I was: Is he trying to throw the competition? Ultimately, they turned in a solid performance. And her idol Jenny from the Block was there to witness it. Score: 22/30
Bill Engvall, a comedian best known for The Blue Collar Comedy Tour and his partner Emma Slater (Who?) were up next. Bill has lofty goals: to be the Redneck King of Dancing. They danced the foxtrot to Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” which, from what I understand, is in heavy rotation at all redneck bars. I’m pretty sure his facial expression didn’t change. Carrie Ann told him he needed to be more “smoothy-woothy. Score: 18/30
Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus: These past few months have been a love fest for Valerie Harper, and I’m not saying that she doesn’t deserve all the kudos, because I can’t imagine being 74-years-old, battling terminal cancer, and dancing the foxtrot.
Anyone remember “The Hogan Family” a/k/a “Valerie” a/k/a “Valerie’s Family” a/k/a What’s the Damn Show Called Now? It was my favorite show in the 1980s, mostly because of her cute sons and their colorful sweaters and mini mullets I was seriously crushing over. Remember when she left the show due to “creative differences” and Sandy Duncan and her glass eye had to come in and take over? I’m guessing Peter Pan wasn’t giving her a standing ovation tonight. Just sayin’.
She danced the foxtrot and told Tom Bergeron that “it’s good to be alive, and even better to be dancing.” Carrie Ann got emotional and even crotchety ol’ Len was rubbing his eyes. She earned a 21/30. (Personally, I think she got some cancer points.)
Last up was Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi from MTV’s “The Jersey Shore” and Sasha Farber. Snicole (as Tom B. calls her) says she was “a hot mess” before she got pregnant and now that she’s a mother, she’s making much better decisions. This as she’s rubbing her partner’s chest and calling him a “perv” so, really, nothing has changed. She’s not exactly the “celebrity” I’d choose to close out the show, but, whatever. They did a solid foxtrot, and Len called her a pocket rocket, which sounds about right. Score: 23/30
Who do you think should be eliminated?