Dancing with the Stars recap: Word to your mutha
Dancing with the Stars recap: Season 23, Episode 1
I’m not sure what they put in the water over on the Dancing with the Stars set, but I think week 1 is a little too early to be breaking down into tears on camera, right? These stars are legitimately excited to be in the ballroom, which makes me want to root for them even more. Most are afraid they will look like dorks on national TV. Some are there to make a public statement. The others are creepin’ on Babyface. It’s going to be an interesting season.
For those of you with eagle eyes (or access to any entertainment website), you’ll notice that previously missing dancers have returned to the fold! Or in Tom’s words, “Three of our most popular pros are back! Welcome Derek, Maks and Cheryl!”
I’m sure that bold statement makes Val feel good. He’s been doing this gig for 11 seasons and is still in his brother’s shadow. Oh wait! Val has an Olympic gold medal gymnast as his partner. I think he’ll be fine.
The tans are sprayed, the fringe is swaying and every speck of glitter in Los Angeles has come together to create the makeshift walls of the sky box. It’s time to break it down:
Marilu and Derek
“Can’t Stop Dancing” by Becky G
Marilu completely loses her mind when she finds out that Derek is her partner. She’s 64-years-old and can move like she’s one of the background JV dancers. Color Derek impressed. Marilu’s silver fringe dress makes me almost as happy as Derek’s glittery black jacket. Marilu keeps up with Derek for the most part. I don’t care when contestants dance on pedestals as random audience members cheer around the perimeter like pre-pubescent teens. It just feels weird to me. The judges praise the couple for having lots of energy. Marilu cries tears of joy. Or pain. I have no idea how her knees are holding up.
James and Sharna
“Live Life” by Zayde Wolf
James, the Indy car driver, is absolutely delightful. He survived a big wreck and is living life to the fullest. I applaud him for that mantra. The intro package sets him up to be a goofy class clown type, but he knocks the foxtrot out of the park while wearing head-to-toe green. Len loved it because Sharna kept it classic. If the cameras continue to catch his whimsical personality, I believe James will be here for a long time.
Calvin and Lindsay
“That’s What I Like” by Flo Rida
Calvin is a former football player who has the prettiest teeth and brightest smile. He also has a score to settle. His sister told ESPN that he doesn’t have any rhythm. Challenge accepted! Lindsay puts him in Lions blue with white bottoms — a nod to his football uniform. She wears the same costume but it’s from the naughty section you can find in a back room at Party City. Although her butt cape was unfortunate, the dance was so much fun. His size 15 shoe never tripped Lindsay up. All the judges were surprised by how this big guy can move. Take that sister!!!
Maureen and Artem
“Natural Woman” by Mary J. Blige
You may know Maureen as Marcia Brady. She also happens to be on of DWTS’s biggest fans. She’s never danced before and she thinks Artem is hotter than crap. She cries more than Marilu in her practice sessions. Artem is sweet at first but when the tears continue, he reminds Maureen that there is no crying in ballroom. Except when you meet Babyface. Then you can cry all you want. I get it. Maureen’s crimson ball gown moves beautifully across the floor. She had some clunky moments, but when she ran over to hug CAROL BRADY watching from the front row, all was right with the world.
Babyface and Allison
“Deed I Do” by Ray Charles
Allison just had a kid. She looks better than I did in high school. I’ll leave that detail right here. Babyface is ready to dance for his mom who passed away. Cue the tears. Allison puts the R&B crooner in front of a big band and lets him do his thing. She looks great. He looks great. It’s as if he’s been on the ballroom floor once or twice before. The scores didn’t reflect what I saw, so there must have been something technical going on in the footwork department that I didn’t see.
Amber and Maks
“Here” by Alessia Cara
Anyone who can rock a shaved head of hair is a pretty person. Amber has that quality. She also has a booty. This booty is going to be hard to choreograph. If anyone is up for the task, it’s Maks. Amber detests rhinestones and anything princess-themed. Therefore, the wardrobe department sticks her in a dress that has 20,000 rhinestones so she can look like a princess dancing the foxtrot. She’s miserable. It shows on her face. There are moments of joy when Maks dirties the moves up a bit, but Amber is clearly uncomfortable. I didn’t love it for that reason.
Vanilla Ice and Witney
“Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice
Fun fact: Witney wasn’t born when “Ice Ice Baby” was released. She kept throwing out “to the extreme” phrases that you know Erin Andrews told her to say. Vanilla’s real name is Rob. I think it’s important to disclaim that I will always call him Vanilla Ice. Perhaps Vanilla Rob at times? Regardless Vanilla is super scared that he’s going to humiliate himself on the show when Witney tells him they are dancing to the one song that dominates wedding receptions and karaoke bars across this great nation. Which begs the question: Is this like wearing the concert t-shirt to the concert? Moving on. Witney basically copies the “Ice Ice Baby” video with a few cha-cha-cha steps here and there. I was distracted by her cheeks hanging out of the bottom of her costume to really concentrate on what was happening. Len, of course, hated it. The audience, on the other hand, felt exhilarated after being transported back to 1991. I like Vanilla Rob.
Jana and Gleb
“Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
Before we start trying to marry this pair off, I think it’s important we work with all the facts: Gleb is married. I Googled it. Nonetheless, Jana is gorgeous, Gleb is gorgeous, and their dance is Cinemax After Dark. Jana wears lingerie with carefully placed gossamer panels. Gleb wears simple black. He gets all up in her biz. We had one boob grab, one butt grab and one sexy Viennese waltz. Is Gleb the new Chmerkovskiy? Will the Russian give the Ukrainian brothers a run for their money in the hotter than crap department?
Jake and Jenna
“Kiss You” by One Direction
Sweet, sweet Jake. He wants you to know that he is a grown man. Gone is the little tween from Wizards of Waverly Place. He’s the voice of Diego now, for crying out loud. He was also born the same year as his brand new JV-turned-pro dancer Jenna. Plus, their astrological signs totally match up which means they are practically made for each other. I guess that’s why Jake “accidentally” kisses Jenna during their jive. Whoopsie. During the show, Jake looks scared to death. He licks his lips and fake smiles when he messes up, but I thought he did an okay job. He was a little erratic, but I think Jenna can calm him down as the weeks pass.
Rick and Emma
“God Blessed Texas” by Little Texas
Rick’s daughter’s wedding is coming up. What better way to practice for the big event than to learn how to ballroom dance on national TV? Rick says dammit a lot. He likes hip rolls and trusts that Emma can take him from a lump of coal to a diamond. I think that’s ambitious after watching him perform. Bless him. I won’t even get into the random game of “Pass the Corn Dog” which kicked-off their choreography. Instead I’ll discuss how Rick stumbled through the number. Emma had to count for him. There was very little cha-cha and the JV dancers’ Texas attire made me sad. Rick scored a 20 and celebrated like he was in the 30-range. Everyone felt weird by his reaction.
Terra and Sasha
“Stuff Like That There” by Betty Hutton
Terra is the very first little person to dance in the ballroom. It’s going to be a challenge for Sasha. I’m not sure how he’s going to choreograph something in hold like a waltz or foxtrot. I guess we’ll worry about that after the jive. Terra is spunky and full of energy. However, as she pointed out, Sasha’s one step is equal to two or three of hers. She agrees to move bigger while he agrees to move smaller. And it worked. I didn’t like that he jumped over her a few times, but I loved the dip at the end. The judges thought they did a great job.
Ryan and Cheryl
“Call Me Irresponsible” by Michael Buble
Everyone likes to rib Ryan for “being in the media for the wrong reasons” after the Olympics. Cheryl straight up tells him that the song title is perfect for what he’s going through right now. I believe Ryan’s PR people have been working overtime to make sure we know this is a story of redemption. DWTS is going to help Ryan find his way. He may be wearing all white with black piping, but his reputation will be restored, by golly. While he and Cheryl float around the floor, I couldn’t help but notice that his pants were up his crack. Then I realized he wears a Speedo for a living and it probably doesn’t bother him. Ryan did a decent job and even held it together when protestors stormed the stage. One thing we did learn from this moment on live TV is that none of us should mess with Carrie Ann Inaba.
Laurie and Val
“American Girl” by Bonnie McKee
If she showcases her adorable personality along with her natural moves, it’s hers to lose…unless James wins America over. SO EXCITING!!!
What did you think of week 1? Were the protestors plants? How many want to be friends with Erin Andrews? I feel like I’m rooting for half of the cast! I love seasons when I can’t pick a favorite. It makes it so much more fun. Let me know your favorites in the comment section!