Can you even believe we’re back for Season 27 of Dancing With the Stars?! 27! That seems nuts.  But, it’s real, and we’re here with another crop of “stars” to start another season of spray tans, sequins and real personal growth. That’s right…this show makes you a better person! Let’s get started!

Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber (19) Well, she still has that million watt smile, of course, and her routine and their costumes are red, white and blue to make us all feel patriotic. Not bad for the first one out.  Their cha cha is quick and sharp and makes a nice first impression. Len wants her to work on footwork and not to rush and calm down a bit. Bruno notes her focus and her elasticity. He says she has precision. Carrie Ann says it was sharp and that she’s “still golden” despite some mistakes.

Milo Manheim and Witney Carson (20) The teenage son of actress Camryn Manheim (at least that’s how I’ll think of him for a while) has charisma and hip action! Plus, he’s another one with a killer smile.  His overall performance quality is pretty impressive for 17. Bruno wants him to control his legs a bit more. Carrie Ann says he’s wild, but his posture is fantastic. His long limbs are a challenge to work on but Len calls him a dancer, which is a high compliment on week one.

Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe (18) It turns out Evanna wanted to be a dance student but was rejected from three schools.  She has some ability, obviously. And her foxtrot shows that potential. Carrie Ann wants her to watch her shoulders, but says she has great lines.  Len says it was a dance that didn’t suit her, but she’s a dancer. Bruno wants her to cast a spell with her body. Tom asks Evanna how many references to magic, as a Harry Potter alum, she’ll tolerate, and she’s appropriately sweet about it.

Danielle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev (18) So, Danielle is blind. And I don’t think we’re talking legally blind here.  She cannot see anything. Its’ due to a genetic condition, so I imagine it’s happened over time, therefore she does have a frame of reference if you explain things to her, but man, how scary.  Then again, she skies down mountains and I won’t do that sighted, so she’s obviously pretty brave. Their foxtrot is slow and steady, as it necessarily must be, and Artem has done a commendable job here. Len notes that her shoulders were lifted, and she can work on that.  Bruno says it was lovely and classic, and wants her to work on her shoulders too. Carrie Ann notes the trust needed to do this, and says she did a great job.

Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess (20) They have a jive out of the gate and it’s surprisingly solid, but Bobby’s freakout at the end is over the top, to the point where he falls down while celebrating. Yeah, Bobby needs to take it down about twelve notches. Bruno says it’s exquisitely demented.  Carrie Ann says it was rough around the edges and she loved every minute. Len says he was full of attack, which is one way of putting it, but in this case might result in a restraining order.

Juan Pablo di Pace and Cheryl Burke (22) Their salsa is not bad, but underwhelmed me slightly. I think it was a little bit careful for a style that should be a little more carefree.  Carrie Ann says it has lots of chemistry. Len says it was top rate. Bruno says it was a salsa that gets under your skin. Yes, so does poison ivy, Bruno. I think if Juan Pablo loosens up, he will do well, especially with this show’s fanbase.

Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko (17) Nikki’s initial take on Gleb, who showed up to introduce himself during a set she was doing at a comedy club: “You look like you should be constantly emerging from a pool in slow motion”, was classic. They have a salsa and Nikki is a bit more concentrated on mugging and lip synching than hitting her marks  Len says it looked awkward and too careful. Bruno calls it “not a total trainwreck”, but says the hips were not fluid. Carrie Ann wants to her to concentrate on getting her whole body to work together.

Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten  (21) These two just look damn good together, but beyond that, their jive is pretty good, athletic and quick. However, it seems like whoever was working the camera had a stroke or something, because we watch the last 20 seconds from afar, like we’re in the cheap seats. Bruno said it was great for week one.  Carrie Ann wants her to perform “out” more. Len says it has a lot of attack, which seems to be his go to word for a good jive routine.

John Schneider and Emma Slater (18) A foxtrot to the Dukes of Hazard theme is pretty competent, even if it’s pandering a smidge.  Carrie Ann wants it a little sharper. Len calls it lacking in finesse and quality of movement. Bruno says it was always interesting and you did not run out of fuel.   Ba dum bum.

Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong (23) Their jive is actually kind of sexy, despite Brandon having more than a passing resemblance to Tahj Mowry that I can’t quite get past yet. Len says the performance was top notch.  Bruno calls it fast and dynamic, showing off her personality. Carrie Ann she is a star, and wants Brandon to choreograph routines that allow her to shine more. She’s a sudden favorite.

Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy (18) They have a quickstep and it’s pretty good for week one, especially for a style that requires so much stamina.  She really dances with her face. Bruno says he could hardly keep up with it and that they need to keep the energy and balance steady. Carrie Ann calls her a storyteller, which is a reference to her facial expressions. Len calls it a good, solid performance.

Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson(14) Since I refuse to watch The Bachelor franchise (yes, I have certain standards!), I’ve never seen this man before.  I’m sure he’s fine, but he does nothing for me. And his dance does not help. I just wrote down “Oof, painful quickstep.” Especially since Nancy went right before him and pulled it off. Carrie Ann says he’s not a dancer yet, but he pushes a shopping cart really well, a bit that kicked off the routine for “Grocery Store Joe.”  Len says he likes his personality. Bruno says being able to dance too would be unfair, given all of his other stellar assets. I don’t think Joe is getting a rose, guys.

Demarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold (23) In the grand tradition of NFLers on this show, Demarcus is charming and adorable on top of being athletic. Their cha cha is flashy and quick but he doesn’t look like a world beater quite yet.  Len says he has a fantastic presence and is not bad dancer. Bruno says he’s light on his feet, while Carrie Ann mentions his inner light, which is pretty new age-y, but it’s Carrie Ann so we take it in stride. He’ll be around for a while for sure.

Who will be the first one eliminated?  We have another round of dances on Night Two of Premiere Week before we find out, but my money is on Grocery Store Joe.  At least he got a girlfriend out of doing Bachelor in Paradise, right?  EJ will see you with the results!

 

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