Dancing with the Stars Recap: SMIZE

Dancing with the Stars Recap 2020: Episode 1

The ballroom is weird, y’all. Straight up weird. 

COVID continues to suck the life out of everything I know and love, but that won’t stop me from recapping my favorite shows even though fundamental pieces of the puzzle are missing. Hence the weird comment above. 

First of all, my beloved Tom Bergeron is gone and he’s taken Erin Andrews with him. They’ve both been replaced by host extraordinaire Tyra Banks and her massive scarlet red ball gown. My hope is that she brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the stage. She only bugged me a few times during the two hour premier of season 29. 

I’m counting that as a victory. 

Second of all, the ballroom may swell with the sweet sound of Whitney Houston’s “Dance With Somebody,” but it is void of actual people. What ABC has introduced is a very annoying crowd track that is roughly two clicks too loud. There’s cheering and applauding and hissing and booing. I have to say that the fake crowd was more distracting than Bruno’s silver hair.

Speaking of judges…

Len is stuck in stodgy old London and can’t hop on a plane due to stupid COVID. Therefore, ABC has replaced him with Derek Hough. We all know how I feel about the Hough clan. The year 2020 continues to not giveth and always taketh away.

Carrie Ann, Derek, and Bruno are safely seated twelve feet apart from each other at the judge’s table. Thankfully they all gathered in the makeup trailer during quarantine and insisted on having their hair dyed to match. 

Once Tyra makes a wardrobe change into a sensible hot pink and crimson silk suit, the show is ready to begin. Cannons are full of ribbon confetti. Fake crowds clap in anticipation of a stellar season. And the British announcer guy we all love is crying in his martini as he watches from his couch with Tom and Erin because he wasn’t invited back either.

This is Dancing with the Stars!

AJ and Cheryl
“Blinding Lights” by The Weekend

You know AJ as one-fifth of the Backstreet Boys. Clearly a man now, AJ thanks all the fans for cheering him on these last thirty years. I’m so happy that this show has found a new way to make me feel old! 

Cheryl is excited to dance with AJ because that one time Sharna danced with her own Backstreet Boy, the audience L-O-V-E-D it. Unfortunately AJ is going to need a little more work in the foot department than Nick did back in the day. Even Cheryl’s silver bedazzled jumpsuit and the laser light show couldn’t keep the judges from eyeing AJ’s unpolished flicks and kicks. He’s not the leader of the pack, but he’s definitely a contender. Especially with Cheryl as a partner.

Chrishell and Gleb
“Raise Your Glass” by P!nk

Chrishell is one of the leads on the Netflix docs-series Selling Sunset. She and Gleb together look like one of those old Calvin Klein ads for unisex perfume. Wardrobe assistants smother her in gold glitter. She looks like an Oscar statue. And she dances like one. She’s very stiff and rigid. Is this nerves or does our girl need some oil in those joints? We don’t know. What we do learn is that Derek is bowlegged and feels a camaraderie with the blonde bombshell because she’s pigeon-toed. This revelation has nothing to do with anything. Charishell will have to step it up big time to make it out alive in the next few weeks.

Vernon and Peta
“All of Me” by John Legend

Vernon is a big-time football player with a Super Bowl Champion ring in his jewelry box. When he throws a football at Peta for meeting her the first time, I am overjoyed that she catches it even though mom always says, “Don’t play ball in the house.” I’m am also overjoyed by Peta’s choice of workout clothes. An acid-washed jean romper just SCREAMS rehearsal studio dancewear, right? 

Peta changes into a lilac billowy gown for the show. Vernon wears a suit to match. They sort of foxtrot and sort of stare at each other without moving (fast forward to the 0:43 mark below) during their number in order for the non-existent audience to believe that all Peta wants is all of Vernon. Or vice versa. There was so much smoke. So much botox. And so much tenderness wrapped in elegance. Vernon is a force and his smile is to die for.

Anne and Keo
“Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa

Anne Heche is the actress Anne Heche you remember for something odd she did once upon a time when she was young. Since consistency is key, Anne flies her freak flag and Keo pretends not to be concerned. Especially when she whips off her overcoat to reveal tiny red booty shorts and a blank tank top. FYI: Anne is 50-years-old and is keeping it TIGHT. 

The dance is set in space (I think) and is pretty good (I think) and I’m still amazed by her body. Although her moves were clean, something was off. It felt very mechanical. I think once she shakes out the cobwebs, she’ll do fine.

Jeannie and Brandon
“Tell It To My Heart” by Taylor Dayne

Jeannie is the sideline reporter for the mini-golf show “Holey Moley.” Yes, that is a real thing. She’s spunky, feisty, and is excited for Brandon to toss her around like a rag doll. I found it strange that she rehearsed in a short overcoat, but that could have been because she wanted to keep her body under wraps since Anne just dropped a mic with her own overcoat unveiling. 

Jeannie and Brandon’s dance was straight out of D-TV from the cult classic Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. They even salsa’d their way around the floor in head-to-toe florescent green costumes. Of course Jeannie straddled Brandon’s neck midway through the number so he could spin her around like a human helicopter. Dreams do come true, kids!

Jennie is good. She has a great personality. If Brandon can choreograph her some decent routines, she will definitely be on the short list. As long as she keeps her tongue inside her mouth. I don’t know what that was about, but I implore her to stop. 

Jesse and Sharna
“Part-Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder

Some of us, like me, know Jesse as the hot gardener from Desperate Housewives. Others, like my mom, know Jesse as one of the attractive men on several Hallmark Channel movies. Either way, he is extremely handsome and half of America wants him to ask Sharna out on a real date. Tell me I’m alone in this scenario. Spoiler: I’m not.

Jesse and Sharna wear black and white houndstooth outfits and quickly step their way around every inch of the ballroom. The chemistry was there. During a quickstep. Which is unheard of in the world of dance. And this is their first performance. THESE TWO ARE CERTAINLY GOING TO GET TOGETHER AND I’M HERE FOR IT. 

Let the record show that I have said this about Sharna’s last three partners, excluding Bobby Bones.

The one tiny thing I would suggest Jesse tweak is his smolder. 

Calm down, everyone. I do enjoy a good smolder and I believe Jesse does it well. However, this was a fun, flirty quickstep and Jesse’s face needed to be a little more playful. And he needed to press his shoulders down. His big, broad, masculine shoulders. 

Skai and Alan
“Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj

If there is ever a need for an actual person to pose as a pocket person, I’d suggest you call Skai. This Disney kid actress is adorable with a capital A. She’s bubbly, polite, eager, and can dance her little heart out. Alan is probably counting his lucky stars right now that he landed such a talented partner. 

The height difference is slightly distracting, but I think Alan will be able to correct that to the best of his ability in future dances. Skai is one to beat. I’m not sure if old fogey watchers will vote for her over, oh I don’t know, Jesse Metcalfe, but I may be wrong. 

Kaitlyn and Artem
“Stupid Love” by Lady Gaga

Kaitlyn is the bachelorette from the ABC reality show, The Bachelorette. You may have heard of it. She thinks Artem is the be all, end all, which I think is so cute. Although her dance wasn’t memorable, in my opinion, the judges loved it. I do remember her fabulous yellow fringe dress, red eyeshadow, and sparkling smile. Even though I think she is great, I believe her score was one or two points too high.  

Nev and Jenna 
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra

Have you ever heard of the term “catfishing?” You can thank Nev for that. He was the original recipient of a catfish scheme and has gone on to make a career of it. At least a career well-known enough to land him a spot on Dancing with the Stars with one of the more sought after professionals. Way to make lemonade out of lemons, Nev!

Nev is a big nerd and Jenna loves that. The man can also dance. Jenna wisely cast them as an old Hollywood couple and they endeared themselves to the judges with every step. It was smooth. Old school Classic. Like Vernon, Nev has an infectious smile. I think he will do great things. 

Johnny and Britt
“Buttons” by The Pussycat Dolls

Johnny Weir is the figure skating champ from about a decade ago who has more hair than I do. Johnny admits that it’s going to be hard sharing his stage with another performer, but once he meets first-time professional Britt, he relaxes a bit. 

Do you know who else relaxed a bit? The seamstress in charge of costuming. She forgot to give Johnny pants and let him cha-cha-cha in fishnet pantyhose. Whoopsie. 

Here’s the deal: I expected Johnny to be better than what I witnessed on my TV. Fishnets aside, Johnny had a look on his face that read “I’m concentrating.” Every once in a while, when he was moving like an ice skater, he melted into the moment and it was really nice! But when the unfamiliar choreography popped up, he focused hard enough for it to be noticed in his face. He’ll need to fix that for sure.

Justina and Sasha
“Respect” by Aretha Franklin

Justina is an actress you may know from the TV show One Day at a Time. Let me tell you what: Justina is having a ball on the dance floor and it shows! I have nothing more to say. Just watch for yourself and try not to smile when she shimmies over Sasha in his deep-V silky blouse. 

Charles and Emma
“In da Club” by 50 Cent 

Charles Oakley is a basket ball legend. Dancing is not his gift. 

Monica and Val
“My Wish” by Rascal Flatts 
“You keep going until you get it right. And then keep going until you can’t get it wrong.” That’s Monica Aldama’s motto as the coach for the champion Navarro Junior College cheer squad. You know her from the Netflix docs-series Cheer. She’s very competitive and looks strange in royal blue glitter verses her signature jeans and booties. 

I wanted Monica to be better. If I had to guess, I’d say she was going to challenge herself to dance, dance, dance, and dance some more until she gets on Val’s last nerve. If she loosens up just a bit, she’s be an entirely different performer. I call this first day jitters. 

Nelly and Daniella
“Ride Wit Me” by Nelly

Is it weird to dance the salsa to one of your own songs? According to Nelly, the answer is, “Yes.” Daniella is new to the ballroom and she couldn’t care less because her mom used to play Nelly to her when she was a toddler. I AM OLD.

Nelly can move. He halfway proved it on the dance floor. We definitely know he can execute a perfect back flip. I wish he had given it a little more “umph” and I don’t think his score should have been so low. He’ll find his groove. And Daniella will bop alongside him the entire way, happy that she can get so close to people like Val and Peta. 

Carole and Pasha
Paso Doble
“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
SCORE: So very low.

I have nothing to contribute. Thank you. 

What did you think about this episode? Who’s in the lead in your opinion? How did Tyra do? Do you think the fake crowd is as annoying as I do? Sound off in the comments section!

Photo By: ABC.com
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September 16, 2020 12:52 am

Good to have you back, Lincee! I’m mourning the loss of Tom and Erin. When I heard about the new host, I tried to keep an open mind. I was aware of who Tyra Banks was, but have never watched her show. After the promo ads and the first show, I’m not a fan, yet. Not sure I ever will be. I get the impression that she thinks SHE is the star of the show. Uh, nope. You’re just the host. It’s not about you. It’s about the incredibly talented professional dancers and their partners. So at this point I’m… Read more »

September 16, 2020 11:45 am

Glad to see you, Lincee!! During this pandemic, I actually took up ballroom dancing (after things started opening back up). Skai was awesome–tango is not easy. I was surprised that they had Carole do a paso because it is also a difficult dance. The only thing I can come up with is that she won’t be on very long and there was no way that the powers that be weren’t going to have her dance to Eye of the Tiger. I think Chrishell’s dance was WAY too fast for a beginner, which explains why she’s falling out of her turns.… Read more »

Sally H
September 16, 2020 11:59 am

Great to see your post. I think Tyra was too “street” or something -not fun to watch and I miss Tom and Erin the way they connected to the dancers. Skai is going to be the one to watch for sure.

September 16, 2020 12:54 pm

Thank you for this recap! I HAVE MISSED YOUR RECAPS DURING THIS DUMPSTER FIRE OF A YEAR! We need your humor! And I’m thrilled for your Bach recaps starting again soon! I am so, so, so sad about Tom and Erin. I tried to go into last night with an open mind about Tyra, but she already ruined another favorite show of ours (America’s Got Talent), so it was hard for me to look past. I guess she wasn’t too annoying. Anyway, I wish you had commented more on Carole! I do find it interesting they cast her since my… Read more »

September 16, 2020 1:02 pm

So glad you’re still recapping DWTS Lincee! I knew we would miss Tom and Erin. I think Tyra excels at her own show Top Model, but that’s where that energy is best served. I miss the banter. I think Derek is a wonderful dancer and look forward to not having to guess whether Len is in a sour, grumpy mood. I felt he was just unpleasant at times. I would love to see Johnny, Monica, Nelly, and AJ do well. I’m SO glad Sharna is back! I know Whitney hasn’t been your favorite, but she’s one of mine and I… Read more »

Lisa J
Lisa J
September 16, 2020 1:47 pm

Oh, how I’ve missed you! I agree 100% about missing Tom, the obnoxious fake crowd and the addition of D Hough to the judges table (He has his own dance show, for heaven’s sake!). Carole Baskin has got to go! Poor Pasha. Who did he piss off to get paired with her?

Bettepat Miller Graves
Bettepat Miller Graves
September 16, 2020 2:05 pm

“I have nothing to contribute. Thank you.” — greatness! That was just all sorts of wrong…from the song to the costuming to the (least of it dancing) … I kept thinking, “Poor Pasha! He’s confined in close quarters with a woman who may or may not have killed her husband AND SHE CAN’T WALK, MUCH LESS DANCE.”

Evangeline East
Evangeline East
September 16, 2020 4:16 pm

Hi Linccceeee!!!! I miss Tom soooo much, Erin not so much, I agree with the person who said that Tyra thinks that SHE is the star of the show!! She isn’t!!! I really don’t like her “street” lingo, I like her as a person, but I don’t like her replacing Tom!!! And the British announcer???? Where did he go?? I knew something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Can they please beg Tom and the British guy to come back PLEASE? I love Anne Heche!! I watched her way back when on Another World, and have… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Evangeline East
Dawn Falite
Dawn Falite
September 16, 2020 5:04 pm

Tyra…ummm, NO! Not a fan of the way she ran the show. I like the old format better. Do we know why they got rid of Tom and Erin? The canned audience noise was weird, too. Can we get some normalcy around here?!? I agree that Skai is T-I-N-Y. I looked up her age because I really thought she was about 12 years old. She is 18! I can’t believe it. She was a fantastic dancer though. It seems like some of the pros always get the talented stars and other pros always get hosed. Can I say “hosed” without… Read more »

September 16, 2020 8:42 pm

Agree with everything you said girl, especially about Kaitlyn’s score being too high.

Ash L
Ash L
September 16, 2020 9:39 pm

Long time reader of your Bachelor recaps, but I am new to DWTS. I am THRILLED that you recap it as well!!! Your comments about Johnny and the fishnets had me cracking up. Looking forward to this season! So much talent for sure. 

September 16, 2020 9:39 pm

Great recap! The audience in the background was so distracting! At first I was like is that the other contestants and staff making that much noise and then I realized it was just a sound tract. I missed Tom! He made the show I thought. Tyra just has big shoes to fill and I’m not judging for a few more weeks. She seemed nervous to me. I missed Carol dance which it sounds like I didn’t miss anything. I’m team Jesse- he is one of my most favorite actors on the Hallmark Channel. I want him to be as nice… Read more »

September 16, 2020 11:05 pm

Lincee–It’s so nice to be able to read your commentary again! You pretty much hit it right on for each of these dancing couples. I thought everyone did a great job on Monday night but I could definitely do without the incredibly loud fake studio audience. And I miss Tom and (I thought I’d never say this) Erin, too! Tom was the heart of the show and, in these difficult times, it would have felt soothing and familiar to hear him and see him on our TV screens. Looking forward to hearing what you think next week!

September 17, 2020 4:57 am

I’m old too! I’m old enough to get the D-TV reference

September 18, 2020 11:28 am

I agree with all of your comments! I have to say, I am disturbed at the amount of botox, fillers and whatever other work Kaitlyn and Chrishell have had done. I am not above a little botox, but they have both taken it too far! They are beautiful women who look like wax statues!

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