Skip to main content

Dancing With The Stars recap: who got a great start from the gate in week 1?

Written By | Sep 14, 2015

SAN DIEGO, September 14, 2015 – “Dancing With the Stars” brought its mix of Season 21 celebrities to the dance floor for their first steps toward the Mirror Ball Trophy.

Several couples got a great start right out of the gate, with a few surprises. Several couples will need help from the voters to avoid elimination next week.

Never bet against Derek Hough. The six-time champion and partner Bindi Irwin danced a jive full of spirit, energy, and skill. They scored 24 points. Tying them were former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and partner Sharna Burgess, whose Cha Cha started a bit rough but came on strong thanks to Nick’s experience as a performer.

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy were a delicious surprise, dancing a Quickstep full of verve and style. They are close in second place with 23 points.

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy made a stylish first impression with their Quickstep in Week 1. Photo: ABC

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy made a stylish first impression with their Quickstep in Week 1. Photo: ABC

DWTS producers were smart to book the first married couple competing against each other for Season 21, and they turn out to be very evenly matched and competitive. Carlos and Alexa PenaVega seem to embrace the head to head aspect of the competition, and they both performed the same dance in Week 1, the Jive. This week, they both showed promise, with Carlos a little smoother and being rewarded with one more point, 23 points to his wife Alexa’s 22 points.

The big surprise of the night: “American Hero” Alek Skarlatos. Just a few weeks ago, he was just a college student and National Guardsman on a train in France with friends. Tonight, he danced a stylish Foxtrot with partner Lindsay Arnold. The same “go for it” mentality that allowed him to take action against a terrorist was on display, and he also seemed to be enjoying this crazy ride. He also scored 22 points.

Internet star Hayes Grier has great potential, and his fans should keep him on the show for many weeks with partner Emma Slater. Singer Andy Grammer is also safely in the middle of the pack with Allison Holker, who did such a great job with Ryker Lynch last season. Both scored 21 points.

Paula Deen didn't serve up a tasty dance with partner Louie Van Amstel in Week 1. Photo: ABC

Paula Deen didn’t serve up a tasty dance with partner Louie Van Amstel in Week 1. Photo: ABC

Then we have the couples who struggled, and it’s going to be up to voters to decide who stays and who will be the first to go home.

No, Gary Busey did not have the lowest score. He and Anna Trubunskaya got through their Cha Cha Cha and Gary enjoyed every moment. You can’t take your eyes off him, and he’s going to stick around. They scored 15 points. Triple Crown winning jockey Victor Espinoza shows more promise than expected, and he had plenty of hip action, but needs more skill to stick around. He and pro Karina Smirnoff danced first, and that’s always a handicap. They also scored 15 points.

Chaka Khan had a spectacular entrance from the ballroom ceiling, but once she got down to earth it didn’t go that well. She and partner Keo Motsepe received 14 points for their Cha Cha. Dead last is Real Housewives of Atlanta reality star Kim Zolciak Bierrmann, who struggled horribly with nerves. She and partner Tony Dovoloni scored 13 points.

Three months from now, don’t be surprised to see Nick and his pro partner Sharna Burgess vying against Derek and Bindi for the Mirror Ball Trophy in the finals. You read it here first.

Who’s going home first? Vote in our poll and let us know.

“Dancing With the Stars” returns with a recap show including new behind the scenes footage on Tuesday, September 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network. The competitors all return for Week 2 on Monday, September 21, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, and one couple will be eliminated Monday; in a Tuesday show next week, a second couple will be eliminated.

[polldaddy poll=9077479]

Week 1 Scores

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Jive, 8-8-8 = 24 points

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Cha Cha Cha, 8-8-8 = 24 points

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy: Quickstep, 8-7-8 = 23 points

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Jive, 8-8-7 = 23 points

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas: Jive, 7-7-8 = 22 points

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Foxtrot, 8-7-7 = 22 points

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker: Foxtrot – 7-7-7 = 21 points

Hayes Riley and Emma Slater: Cha Cha Cha, 7-7-7 = 21 points

Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya: Cha Cha Cha. 5-5-5 = 15 points

Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff: Salsa, 5-5-5 = 15 points

Paula Deen and Louis Van Amstel: Quickstep. 5-5-5 = 15 points

Chaka Khan and Keo Motsepe: Cha Cha Cha – 5-4-4 = 13 points

Kim Zolciak Biermann and Tony Dovoloni: Salsa, 4-4-4 = 12 points

Voting information: Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite couples via phone on Monday nights during the show and up to one hour after the end of the DWTS broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at and on Facebook at 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 © 2015 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.