SAN DIEGO, March 16, 2015 – The competitors are back in the ballroom for Season 20 of “Dancing With the Stars.” Viewers saw the 12 couples vying for a special gold Mirror Ball Trophy to celebrate 10 years of competition. They range from a 14-year-old actress to a disabled veteran athlete to a 70-year-old legendary R&B diva. Throw in a few singers, a model, a Bachelor and a Shark, and everyone can find a couple to root for.
Head judge Len Goodman told the audience the judges would be scoring a little tougher at the start of this season to give the couples room for improvement. After much deserved criticism about inflated scores the last few years, we applaud this good decision.
Who impressed and who didn’t in week one?
Best Dance Skills:
Leading the pack are Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy. With proud parents Bruce Willis and Demi Moore looking on from the front row of the ballroom, they established themselves as the odds-on favorites. Val hasn’t won in eight seasons and he’s hungry for the prize. Their Foxtrot had elegance, speed, great posture and wonderful chemistry. Yippee-ki-yay…
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker did a solid job, coming in just one point back. They drew the Jive, one of the toughest possible assignments in Week 1. They had plenty of snap, energy, and timing. The bit of sloppiness can be overlooked and should only get better as the season goes on. Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough (who is Riker’s cousin) were one point back in third with a sizzling Foxtrot. They may have lost points with illegal lifts but it doesn’t matter, they aren’t going home any time soon.
No one had a dry eye after the Cha Cha Cha from Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess. Dancing without a knee joint and without his left arm prosthetic, Sharna’s choreography worked around the obvious limitations. This pair have sizzling chemistry and Noah’s strength from his triathlon training covers for any stiffness and the learning curve. Carrie-Ann dissolved into tears earlier than any other season, and we can’t even blame her.
Robert Herjavec of ABC’s “Shark Tank” is not the most talented dancer, but he is the most enthusiastic about being on the show and seems to be having more fun than anyone except perhaps Redfoo. One thing for sure, he’s a LOT better than fellow Shark Mark Cuban. He and Kym Johnson are a perfect match. They scored 28 points for a lively Cha Cha Cha.
Patti LaBelle oozed class and confidence in her Foxtrot with Artem Chigvintsev. She has earned being a diva, and putting herself out there for judging at age 70 takes some nerve. She became emotional after her performance, and passion will go a long way.
Fun Fun Fun
Michael Sam drew the best song of the night, “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars; he and partner Peta Murgatroyd made the most of it. Michael has good energy and a lot of potential, but a big learning curve. Chris Soules may be the best “Bachelor” competitor among those who have been on the show over the past 10 years, but he’ll also have a big performance learning curve.
If you didn’t laugh hard enough at Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovoloni’s “Physical” Cha Cha Cha complete with leotards, legwarmers and Thighmasters, you have no appreciation for the 1980s. There’s no denying how phenomenal Suzanne Somers looks at age 68, but she will need to look good while moving a little more in the weeks ahead. Her fans are going to keep her on the show a long time.
Lackluster and Leaving?
Redfoo and Emma Slater and Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe are tied for last place. Redfoo is a lively stage performer but his ants-in-his-pants sloppiness didn’t help his Cha Cha Cha. Here’s hoping he can calm it down when he gets to dances like the Foxtrot. You have to feel for Keo. Charlotte seems to have a good work ethic and great atttiude, but she was tentative and has a lot to learn. Unless fans get behind them, it might be the second year in a row Keo goes home first.
There are no Tuesday results shows in the first few weeks of thes season. Producers say they may bring them back later, but for now voters get 24 hours to cast their votes. The first results will send someone home next Monday night.
“Dancing With the Stars” returns with more competition and the first results on Monday, March 23. 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network.
Week 1 Scores
Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: 8-8-8-8 = 32 points
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: 8-7-8-8 = 31 points
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough: 7-7-8-8 = 30 points
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: 7-7-7-7 – 28 points
Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd: 6-6-7-7 = 26 points
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: 7-6-6-7 = 26 points
Chris Soules and Witney Carson: 7-6-6-7 – 26 points
Willow Shields and Mark Ballas: 6-6-6-7 = 25 points
Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev: 7-6-6-6 = 25 points
Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovoloni: 6-6-6-7 = 25 points
Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe: Jive, 6-5-5-6 = 22 points
Redfoo and Emma Slater: 6-5-5-6 = 22 points
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 www.ABC.com 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 +
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