Recap: Dancing with the Stars Season 23 “Premiere”

Dancing With the Stars Season 23 "Premiere" ABC/Eric McCandless
Golden girl Laurie Hernandez was one of the highlights of the DWTS Season 23 premiere.

Tonight, each celebrity put his or her best foot forward and performed a Jive, Foxtrot, Cha Cha or Viennese Waltz. It was a “getting to know you” week, where no couples were eliminated, so everyone will be back for Week’s 2’s competition. I always think it’s nice to give everyone more than once opportunity to shine, I imagine that first week jitters would be pretty intense, especially for the celebs who aren’t used to performing live.

Emmy_AwardsBefore we get too far into this season, congrats to the dedicated camera people at DWTS for their Emmy win in the categogy, Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Series category. The Award was revealed at last night’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards and was awarded for last season’s episode, “The Finals, Part 2.” So congrats to:
Charles Ciup, Technical Director
Brian Reason, Camera
Hector Ramirez, Camera
Nat Havholm, Camera
Jeff Wheat, Camera
Bert Atkinson, Camera
Bettina Levesque, Camera
Adam Margolis, Camera
Damien Tuffereau, Camera
Easter Xua, Camera
Mike Malone, Camera
Rob Palmer, Camera
Ron Lehman, Camera
Keith Dicker, Camera
Mike Carr, Camera
Ed Horton, Camera
Dyan Sanford, Camera
Freddy Frederick, Camera
Chris Hill, Video Control
Ed Moore, Video Control

Last week, we posted a poll, asking fans to vote for who they thing will win this season, and Olympic Cutie Laurie Hernandez flip-flopped away to the top of the podium with over 85% of the votes. Not only does her natural athleticism make her a surefire contender, but she’s got a lot of fan support too! And that’s how dance couples win, but having fans vote for them. So if you want to make sure that your favorite couple stay in the competition, you’ve got to vote! Online and Facebook voting instructions are below, but the easiest way to make your vote count is to pick up your phone and call. Make sure to link to the Season 23 voting phone numbers so you’ll be able to vote for your favorite dancers all season long.

Dancine With the Stars Season 23 "Premiere"
The Griffith Park Observatory became the beautiful backdrop for one of the biggest opening numbers in DWTS history! ABC/Eric McCandless

Season 23 kicked off with sparkle and stardust (and helicopter cameras!) and another spectacular opening number that left me feeling “On Top of the World!” The stunning number was choreographed by Mandy Moore, and shot with the pros at Griffith Park Observatory. Each year, the show outdoes itself. And in recently announced news, Julianne Hough officially rejoined the judges panel (I thought this was already public knowledge, but apparently not) alongside head judge Len Goodman, and dancers/choreographers Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba. I’m glad to have her back; her enthusiasm is contagious.

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough 1-800-868-3408
Dancing the Jive to “Can’t Stop Dancing” by Becky G
Marilu is so funny and gorgeous, and she’s a smitten kitten over her partner Derek (aren’t we all?!?) She’s a foxy member of the “amazing legs” team and will be a joy to watch all season long.
Len: Full-on, full out and full of vitality!
Julianne: It was quick, you footwork was super sharp … Great Job!
Bruno: I love to see someone take the stage like a trooper!
Carrie Ann: Damn guuurl!!
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 7, Julianne 6, Bruno 7; Total 27 out of 40.

James Hinchcliffe & Sharna Burgess 1-800-868-3405
Dancing the Foxtrot to “Live Life” by Zayde Wølf
Honestly, I didn’t know who James was before he was announced to the cast of DWTS, but he seems like a nutty clown and he will work well with Sharna the jokester. And he looks pretty cute in a teal suit.
Len: James, I’m telling you, that was knockout, it really was!
Julianne: That was a calm, graceful, smooth breath of fresh air.
Bruno: You — first lap, first class!
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, Julianne 7, Bruno 8; Total 31 out of 40.

Calvin Johnson Jr. & Lindsay Arnold 1-800-868-3403
Dancing The Cha Cha to “That’s What I Like” by Flo Rida feat. Fitz Lunchmoney
Everyone likes Megatron, He’s talented and now what he’s broken Jerry Rice’s receiving records, he’s gunning for a mirror ball trophy of his own. He’s long legged and is paired perfectly with long-legged Lindsay!
Julianne: You guys are so fun to watch!
Bruno: Forget Megatron, he’s Cha Cha Tron!
Carrie Ann: You have that footballer magic that they always bring.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 7; Total 26 out of 40.

Dancing With the Stars Season 23 "Premiere"
Gushing girl. ABC/Eric McCandless

Maureen McCormick & Artem Chigvintsev 1-800-868-3409
Dancing The Viennese Waltz to “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” by Mary J. Blige
Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! How Maureen McCormick 60?!? She is so ageless, and delightful, and grateful and vulnerable. “This is such a dream!” she gushes after a dance that was pretty, but has plenty of room for improvement. She looks at the world with such a joyful eyes and it’s obvious that there are good things to come from this sweetheart.
Bruno: Relax more into it, elongate those lines.
Carrie Ann: I love your vulnerability; I think it will serve you well in this competition.
Len: I love your enthusiasm, it needs refinement.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 5, Julianne 5, Bruno 6; Total 22 out of 40.

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds & Allison Holker 1-800-868-3402
Dancing the Foxtrot to “Deed I Do” by Ray Charles
Babyface is such a debonair gentleman and he’s always looked like the coolest cat in the club. And Allison is such a creative choreographer that I’m sure she’ll find elegant ways to make her partner shine.
Carrie Ann: You’re so right at home in the ballroom!
Len: Style with a smile. You’ve got plenty of razzle-dazzle.
Julianne: It was timeless, it was classic, it was just like you.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 7; Total 26 out of 40.

Amber Rose & Maksim Chmerkovskiy 1-800-868-3401
Dancing the Foxtrot to “Here” by Alessia Cara
Amber is going to have to work beyond her former exotic dancer persona. She’s a sexy woman and that will come easily for her, but the more traditional ballroom dances will be a challenge. In this first dance, I thought she looked a little wooden and uncomfortable.
Julianne: Make sure you use your facial expressions the same way you’re using your body.
Bruno: There’s a lot more to you than I expected; but you disconnect.
Carrie Ann: You’re stunning. You have this incredible confidence.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 6; Total 24 out of 40.

Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) & Witney Carson 1-800-868-3413
Dancing the Cha Cha to “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice
Rob has a tough schedule because he’s still touring (really?!?) but he’s in it to win it and he’s got a fierce partner who demands excellence. Vanilla Ice’s album was the first cassette tape I ever purchased, and if I remember the music video correctly, he had come pretty sweet moves.
Len: I loved watching that dance because it was terrific. But there wasn’t enough Cha Cha Cha.
Julianne: That made me so happy!
Bruno: That was an “Ice, Ice breaker!” You’ve still got it.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 5, Julianne 6, Bruno 7; Total 25 out of 40.

Dancing With the Stars Season 23 "Premiere"
Sex and sass. ABC/Eric McCandless

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko 1-800-868-3406
Dancing the Viennese Waltz to “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
OMG, Gleb is smoking hot and Jana Kramer is gorgeous. They have instant chemistry and they’ve brought sex and sizzle to the ballroom. That was one of the hottest waltzes in DWTS history. Especially for week 1
Bruno: That was the raunchiest, sexiest, hottest Viennese Waltz, I’ve ever seen!
Carrie Ann: You don’t have to work on sexiness any more. Check!
Len: I wasn’t transported to old Vienna. It was all too dramatic.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 8; Total 27 out of 40.

Jake T. Austin & Jenna Johnson 1-800-868-3404
Dancing the Jive to “Kiss You” by One Direction
Jake is looking to show a more mature side, but that may be difficult because he and his partner are so young and adorable! They look like teens at a dance. Hopefully Jenna can muster up some mature choreography for her former Disney-star partner (or star-tner?!?). And the youthful nature of the 1D song is still veering towards tween territory.
Julianne: You guys are the cutest things I’ve ever seen.
Bruno: Go, my darling, go for it!
Carrie Ann: I know there’s something really great going on there, and I can’t wait to see it next week.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 5, Len 6, Julianne 5, Bruno 6; Total 22 out of 40.

Dancing With the Stars Season 23 "Premiere"
Awkward … In a dad way. ABC/Eric McCandless

Rick Perry & Emma Slater 1-800-868-3410
Dancing the Cha Cha to “God Blessed Texas” by Little Texas
It’s pretty charming that Texas Governor Rick Perry is using this experience to get ready for his daughter’s upcoming wedding. He’s adorkable. And he’s not afraid to make fun of himself; which is good, because he’s not a good dancer.
Len: It was a little pedestrian at times … but goon on ‘ya!
Julianne: When in doubt, go full out!
Bruno: Work on your timing.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 5, Len 5, Julianne 5, Bruno 5; Total 20 out of 40.

Terra Jolé & Sasha Farber 1-800-868-3412
Dancing the Jive to “Stuff Like That There” by Betty Hutton
I’ve interviewed Terra before, and she’s a tough and talented woman. Logic would lead me to thing that dancing will be hard for someone of her stature, but she’s always been on a mission to prove people wrong. And Terra gets bonus points for just having a baby! Wow!
Carrie Ann: I didn’t see a little person, I saw a huge star!
Len: You just had a baby, and I’ll tell you what — you delivered twice in a month!
Julianne: You are a firecracker and you were born to entertain!
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 7, Len 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 6; Total 25 out of 40.

Dancing With the Stars Season 23 "Premiere"
Awkward … in a bad way. ABC/Eric McCandless

Ryan Lochte & Cheryl Burke 1-800-868-3411
Dancing the Foxtrot to “Call Me Irresponsible” by Michael Bublé
Ryan’s “Me Aculpa” tour continues … I feel bad that Cheryl has to be paired with this d-bag. I do love the name of his song, because Ryan’s always been someone who is a good athlete, but a kinda bad person. And DWTS has been claiming that the show is all about second chances and redemption, but Ryan’s short-lived show on E! was supposed to be his shot at redemption, but it made him look pretty terrible. But during Carrie Ann’s criticism, there was “An incident,” where protester(s) interrupted the ballroom and DWTS‘ quick-thinking security sprang into action. It was shocking and upsetting for both Lochte and Burke. E-news reported on the incident, and twitter was harsh and speculating that the men wearing Anti-Lockte shirts were “[Fake] robbing him at gunpoint.” Okay, that‘s hilarious, but let’s agree that Ryan is a jerk, and move on. Let’s see if he can dance.
Bruno: I felt I was watching a condensed season of The Bachelor.
Carrie Ann: You brought your best to the ballroom. (Hecklers stormed the stage)
Len: I think people should be proud of you.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 6, Len 6, Julianne 6, Bruno 6; Total 24 out of 40.

Laurie Hernandez & Valentin Chmerkovskiy 1-800-868-3407
Dancing the Cha Cha to “American Girl” by Bonnie McKee
After the scary moment during Ryan’s post-dance commentary, Laurie was a breath of fresh air. She’s just so precious! And fierce! She looks so effortless when she moves and I can’t wait to watch every dance she does. Love! Love! Love! And her mom was so proud of her daughter.
Carrie Ann: I’ve never seen Val so happy!
Len: You went down the proper Latin route, sharp, crisp, clean, plenty of energy!
Julianne: Your leg action and the way you hit your arms was ridiculous!
Bruno: I’m absolutely delighted to see someone with your talent, in this room.
Judges Scores: Carrie Ann 8, Len 8, Julianne 7, Bruno 8; Total 31 out of 40.

Atop the leaderboard are James & Sharna and Laurie & Val. Next Monday is “TV Theme Songs” week and next Tuesday will also feature the season’s first results show, where one celeb couple will be booted from the ballroom.

How to vote for your favorites:
Use your phone. Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite couples via phone during and up to 60 minutes after the end of the Dancing with the Stars broadcast in each time zone. The voting numbers of each celebrity don’t change throughout the season; find the voting phone numbers here!

Go Online. Fans can vote online at ABC.com and on Facebook for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT and closing at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT on Tuesday evenings.

More Dancing With the Stars, Season 23
DWTS Season 23 Cast Announced
POLL: Who will win Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars?
Dancing With the Stars Season of 23 Voting Phone Numbers

1 Comment

  1. James Hinchcliffe is the class clown of Indycar. And seems like a classy guy. At a rain-delayed race in Texas, waiting for the track to dry, James and another hot young driver entertained people on the pit wall and in the stands. Two very accessible guys.
    A few years ago, he took over Danica Patrick’s seat. When they introduced the drivers, you saw Danica from the back, with her long hair and bright green suit. What was she doing there??? As the camera got closer, ‘she’ turned around, and it was James in a wig, beard and all. What a hoot!
    I assumed his personality would work on DWTS, but didn’t expect he could dance so well. He doesn’t have the latin flair of past champ Helio Castroneves, but he’s doing great.
    I hope the finals are James, Calvin, and Laurie (who should win).

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