HOLLYWOOD—The Fall TV season is less than a week away, but “Dancing With the Stars” is already back for more entertainment. The 19th season, yep, 19th got underway on Monday, September 15, as the series attempts to re-energize itself.
Not only do we have a fourth judge in former dancer Julianne Hough joining the panel, we got a dance-tastic opening sequence that parlayed into Antonio Sabato Jr. and his partner working the cha-cha. While Sabato is no fan of being called a sex symbol, Cheryl has plenty of work to do to loosen up her partner on the dance floor, with their 25/40 score.
Lea Thompson later hit the stage with her partner Artem and the flirtation between the two is quite comic. They performed the elegant Foxtrot, and I must say Lea might be one to watch out for scoring a 32/40. That same sentiment could be echoed for “Pretty Little Liars” star Janel Parrish and her partner Val who have amazing chemistry, and showcased that performing their Jive which earned them a score of 29/40.
Chemistry was also oozing with Olympian Lolo Jones and her partner Keo, who is a bit of a comedian, I’ll admit watching their dance was a bit cringe-worthy. There was just a bit too much distance between the two with a disappointing 22 out of 40. Another mishap occurred on the dance floor between designer Betsey Johnson and her partner Tony Dovolani. Props are never a good idea on the dance floor, as a feather boa proved to be disaster for the duo that earned a score of 20/40.
Radio and TV personality Tavis Smiley surprised many with his dance which infused comedy and technique scoring 29 out of 40. A surprise performance came from “Duck Dynasty” star Sadie Robertson and her partner Mark Ballas whose cha-cha surprised quite a few. The duo earned a 34/40 on the scoreboard.
Race car driver Michael Waltrip and his partner Emma fell into the middle of the group with a score of 25/40. “Mean Girls” star Jonathan Bennett and his partner Allison also proved that they are a power duo that can run the tables earning a 30/40, could this be a sleeper couple of the season? Possibly.
Comedy legend Tommy Chong proved that just because you’re older than the rest of the contestants doesn’t mean you don’t have a fighting chance. Chong and partner Peta surprised the judges with their dance that earned a 27/40. Another surprise of the night was action superstar Randy Couture and Karina who earned dazzling critiques from Julianne Hough. She seemed captivated by Couture and his footwork on the dance floor. I’d say with a score of 31/40 he is a safe bet to move onto the next round. Fans of “Dancing With the Stars” may know very little about YouTube sensation Bethany Mota, but she made her presence felt on the dance floor with a 32/40 thanks to the teachings from her partner Derek Hough to their energetic jive.
Hands down the show saved the best for last as “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro blew the competition away with his partner Witney Carson. His dance was flawless in my opinion, I was even tempted to say that Ribeiro could have earned a 10 from one of the judges, but they’d never pull that panel so early in the game would they? With that being said it’s safe to say Alfonso will be the one to beat this season, but let’s wait to see who excels on the dance floor come week two. The first casualty of the season was Olympian Lolo Jones and her partner Keo who got the boot Tuesday night. “Dancing With the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.