Dancing with the Stars 2010’s much-anticipated Fall season premiered yesterday featuring an all-new — and shockingly talented — group of celebrity strutters. While a few hoofers, including Dirty Dancing alum Jennifer Grey and singer/actress Brandy, confirmed preseason predictions by rising to the top of the leaderboard, a few others including teen activist Bristol Palin, Disney’s Kyle Massey, and NFL star Kurt Warner surprised ballroom attendees with some unexpectedly fancy footwork. Here’s a peek at the good stuff we didn’t expect entering DWTS season 11.
Dancing with the Stars 2010 premiere surprise #1: Bristol Palin. There’s something about conservatism that connotes stodgy, dodgy moves. (And I say that as a conservative!) So it’s no surprise that Carrie Ann Inaba wasn’t alone in having low expectations for Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars. Although the teen mom and partner Mark Ballas didn’t offer up a spectacular performance, it was, as head judge Len Goodman succinctly noted, “acceptable”. And acceptable is huge, particularly when we look back at the sea of less-than-acceptable performances of seasons past. Kate Gosselin, anyone? Master P? Her hip action was nearly “pro” (per Bruno Tonioli), and once her nerves let up a little, she looked substantially more comfy and ready to rock. Bristol may not win, but she’s already shown some cajones by going up against Jennifer Grey and Brandy, so that’s a victory of sorts in and of itself.
Dancing with the Stars 2010 premiere surprise #2: Kyle Massey. This guy came out of left field for me. He wasn’t even on my radar as a DWTS season 11 contender prior to the premiere. In fact, I had him pegged as week one’s eliminee. But I was wrong, wrong, wrong because this Disney kid can dance, man. He and partner Lacey Schwimmer offered up a spirited, super cute (and age-appropriate) Cha Cha Cha that left the judges clamoring for more and prompted Carrie Ann to dub Kyle her “first crush” of the season. He’s charismatic, he’s fun, and he can move, so if Kyle can do ballroom styles and his likely limited fan base can get out the word, he may have a shot at going far in the competition. Who’da thunk it?
Dancing with the Stars 2010 premiere surprise #3: Kurt Warner. I expected the genuine smile and the ease of demeanor from this NFL superstar. What I didn’t expect was an Emmitt Smith-like grace on the ballroom floor that prompted Carrie Ann to call him “a graceful quarterback”. It wasn’t perfect, but he and partner Anna Trebunskaya looked natural and comfortable, and those are two essential performance elements for anyone looking to excel on DWTS. I cringe a little thinking about Kurt tackling a fast-paced Latin number, but hey, he’s already proven me wrong once.
Here’s a look at the complete Dancing with the Stars 2010 premiere judges’ leaderboard; the first mark for each contestant is from Carrie Ann, the second from Len, and the third, Bruno, followed by the couples’ total score for the week. Be sure to tune in tonight to see which celeb is the first to get the boot.
DWTS season 11 week one leaderboard:
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough – 8, 8, 8 = 24
Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – 7, 8, 8 = 23
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer – 8, 7, 8 = 23
Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke – 8, 7, 7 = 22
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya – 7, 5, 7 = 19
Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani – 6, 7, 6 = 19
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas – 6, 6, 6 = 18
Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas – 6, 6, 6 = 18
Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower – 6, 5, 5 = 16
Margaret Cho and Louis van Amstel – 5, 5, 5 = 15
Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff – 5, 5, 5 = 15
David Hasselhoff and Kym Johnson – 5, 5, 5 = 15
Dancing with the Stars 2010 Fall Season Premiere, September 20, 2010, ABC