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Best talent ever on ‘Dancing With The Stars’? Season 24 starts with a bang

Written By | Mar 20, 2017

SAN DIEGO, March 21, 2017 – When you have the best “Bachelor” contestant and “Real Housewife” ever competing on Dancing With the Stars, things are off to a great start.

Then there was the unicorn, and Charo bringing the crazy. America, at the risk to Tom Bergeron’s safety, please keep the Cuchi Cuchi on the show for a while.

The pairings of the celebrities and pros on this season’s show are hard to judge after just one week, but they seem exceptionally good with everyone clicking right out of the gate. The judges saw excellent performances but they held the scores pretty tight with most in the five to seven range. It’s only a matter of scale, not skill.

No one goes home in Week 1. Here is how the leaderboard stacks up.

Not a surprise, Simone Biles and Sasha Farber received the highest score of the night for their Tango. Photo: ABC

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles followed in the footsteps of Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman and Shawn Johnson right out of the gate with a Tango judge Len Goodman described as a perfect blend of performance and dance, crisp and clean and “the dance of the night.” Carrie Ann Inaba complimented her technique, elegance, and power. Pro partner Sasha Farber worked wonders with Terra Jole last season. He must think he hit the jackpot. It received all eights for 32 points.

The revelation of the night thought was the competition in second place, NFL running back Rashad Jennings. Pro Emma Slater must be elated finally drawing a partner who can take her straight to the finals (sorry Rick Perry, Redfoo, and Billy Dee Williams). She’s never placed higher than fourth. They danced a sizzling Cha Cha to Bruno Mars’ “24 Karat Magic” and it was magic. Rashad said he was nervous, but it hardly showed behind the swagger and the confidence. He’s another Hines Ward and Emmitt Smith in the making. They scored 31 points.

Nancy Kerrigan’s Viennese Waltz was everything you could ask from the former ice skating champion. Photo: ABC

Tied for third place are Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev, who performance a lovely, graceful Viennese Waltz; Heather Morris and Maks Chmerkovskiy, who showed off beautiful lines also dancing a Viennese Waltz; and the surprising former Chicago Cubs player David Ross and Lindsay Arnold, who delivered an entertaining Quickstep with good content and a light-hearted approach. The three couples received all sevens, for 28 total points.

Chicago Cubs veteran David Ross pulled off a surprisingly light Quickstep with LIndsay Arnold.

Sitting just one point back with 27 points was the first couple to dance in Season 24, Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy. They delivered a Quickstep full of energy and sass. Their score would have been higher if they had danced later in the show, but it’s not so important in Week 1. This is a couple to watch.

Nick Viall might be the best “Bachelor” competitor ever on Dancing With The Stars.

Tied with 24 points are the reality TV stars, Nick Viall from “The Bachelor” and Erika Jayne from “Real Housewives. Nick is paired with the returning Peta Murgatroyd and their Cha Cha showed he’s got some promise to stick around. Erika and pro Gleb Savchenko danced to one of her recent club hits. Erika exudes confidence and strength. If she keeps up the good work the style will follow. She and Gleb are well matched.

Yes, Erika Jayne and Glev Savchenko’s routine included a unicorn. Photo: ABC

Now we get to the bottom third of the leaderboard. Professional bull rider Bonner Bolton won praise from the judges for his obvious core strength and athleticism, but he’ll need to loosen up to win style points for his routines. He’s given pro Sharna Burgess plenty to work with. They scored 22 points for a country western Cha Cha which entertained and will keep him around.

Charo brought the Cuchi Cuchi and the Cray Cray in her Salsa. Everyone but Tom Bergeron wants more. Photo: ABC

Bearing in mind Charo is 65 years old (or so one bio claims; another says 75!), the woman delivered a high voltage Salsa. Pro Keo Motsepe has a tiger by the tail though. Charo has made a career of being outrageous and she shows no signs of stopping now. For the sheer entertainment value, fans will keep her around. Latin styles will be fun but her real test will be ballroom. A Charo Waltz, anyone? She received 21 points.

Who wasn’t waiting for this moment? Once Mr. T gets the choreography right, watch out. Photo: ABC

Mr. T and pro Kym Herjavec did not disappoint with their “A-Team” Cha Cha. Mr. T attacked the dance exactly as you might expect, but there were too many choreography mistakes to ignore. The judges encouraged him and the fans will be on his side. The score was 21 points.

Witney Carson’s clever choreography helped Chris Kattan, and he needed it. Photo: ABC

Even though comedian Chris Kattan and Witney Carson’s Cha Cha to the infamous club hit “What Is Love?” from his movie “Night at the Roxbury” didn’t score high for dance content, Witney gave it some clever choreography and playing up the comedy will only help. They scored 17 points. We have seen much, much worse. Michael Bolton or Kenny Mayne, anyone?

Week 1 Leaderboard:

Simone Biles and Sasha Farber, Tango, 8-8-8-8 = 32 points

Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater, Cha Cha: 8-5-8-8 = 31 points

Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev, Viennese Waltz: 7-7-7-7 = 28 points

David Ross and Lindsay Arnold, Quickstep: 7-7-7-7 = 28 points

Heather Morris and Maks Chmerkovskiy, Viennese Waltz: 7-7-7-7 = 28 points

Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy, Quickstep: 7-6-7-7 = 27 points

Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko, Salsa: 6-6-6-6 = 24 points

Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd, Cha Cha: 6-6-6-6 = 24 points

Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess, Cha Cha: 6-5-5-6 = 22 points

Charo and Keo Motsepe, Salsa: 6-5-5-5 = 21 points

Mr. T and Kym Herjavec, Cha Cha: 5-5-5-5 = 20 points

Chris Kattan and Witney Carson, Cha Cha: 5-4-4-4 = 17 points

Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite couples via phone during and up to 60 minutes after the end of the “Dancing with the Stars” broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at and on Facebook is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and closing at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Tuesday evenings.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.

Copyright © 2017 by Falcon Valley Group


Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.