'Dancing With the Stars' Season 23 Premiere Recap: Ryan Lochte's Debut Marred by Protesters, Laurie Hernandez Dazzles

Dancing with the Stars
Time to get out those dancing shoes! The Dancing With the Stars season 23 premiere kicked off in style, with drama to boot. After the dancers performed a visually stunning routine at Los Angeles' famed Griffith Observatory, Erin Andrews and Tom Bergeron
 found themselves having to ad-lib because their teleprompters went down (oops). It turned out, however, this would hardly be the only hiccup during the live show.
This season's cast includes hardcore DWTS fans-turned-contenders Maureen McCormick (who cried with joy basically the entire time), as well as those less familiar with the show, like Vanilla Ice (who didn't know what the Mirrorball was). There are some obvious front-runners, including Olympic gold medalistLaurie Hernandez, and some obvious long shots, like former Texas governorRick Perry. And there is one tarnished Olympian looking to rehab his image after making some poor choices during a guys' night out in Rio — though it's unclear whether he will succeed. Here's how the first impressions played out, from the good, to the bad, to the incident that involved the security team.

The Front-Runners

No surprise here: mega-talented gymnast Laurie and Mirrorball vet Val Chmerkovskiy make quite a pair. Val called the pint-sized athlete "spicy," and admitted he felt pressure this season because she was "an American treasure." For her part, Laurie didn't seem even the slightest bit nervous, noting that she trained 11 years for the Olympics, so only getting about a week to rehearse her dance moves before heading to the ballroom was really no biggie. (We're paraphrasing.) They performed a cha-cha-cha and in addition to showcasing Laurie's athleticism and gorgeous lines, the routine showed her fun personality. The judges went gaga, and in a nutshell, everyone loves her. They earned a 31, tying them for first.
The other couple to earn a 31 was far less expected, however: James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess wowed the judges with their refined fox-trot. Pretty much all of the judges expected the (handsome!) IndyCar driver to be stiff, but he was anything but. Julianne Hough called him a "breath of fresh air," and Bruno Tonioli said he couldn't wait to see James tackle Latin night. It's safe to say he wasn't the only one.
Other notable pairs tonight included 64-year-old Marilu Henner with Derek Hough, and Jana Kramer with Gleb Savchenko. Marilu did a great job (almost) keeping pace with Derek during their jive, and Jana and Gleb basically oozed sex appeal during their Viennese waltz. Considering the fact that he moonlights as an underwear catalog model, and she's a gorgeous country singer who recently separated from her husband, this seems like a match made in ballroom heaven. Both of these couples earned 27s, placing them considerably below the two top scorers, but certainly not out of the running.
Bringing Up the Bottom
No one was surprised that Rick Perry and Emma Slater found themselves at the bottom of the leaderboard at the night's end — including Rick Perry himself. The politician said he was inspired to come onto the show because his daughter is getting married soon, and he wants to have some moves for the dance floor for the occasion. "People are probably watching this and going, 'What a dumbass,'" he said with a laugh. Len Goodman said he found their cha-cha-cha to be "a bit pedestrian" at times, while Julianne described it as "a little crazy." Everyone appreciated how fully he committed to the routine, though, and he seemed happy to just avoid getting any 4s. (They got straight 5s for 20 points total.)
Also near the bottom were Wizards of Waverly Place alum Jake T. Austin andJenna Johnson. It's her first season as a pro, and she and Jake are both pretty young, which shows. Jake was excited that their astrological signs "go together," and she fangirled over him since she grew up watching him on TV. Though they had a lot of energy, his "banana boat-ish" feet — as described by Julianne — sort of killed their jive. They earned a 22 for their efforts.
On the other end of the age spectrum, 60-year-old Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch, was beside herself just to have a shot at the show. Based on the video footage, it seemed that she spent most of her rehearsal crying while she danced with Artem Chigvintsev. Apparently, dance has always been one of her "biggest insecurities," and she was really out of her comfort zone being in the ballroom. Former Brady Florence Henderson costar was there to lend her support — and also cried. After their Viennese waltz ended, Bruno urged Maureen to stop crying and "smooth her footwork."
Someone Call Security
There's no doubt that Ryan Lochte was one of the most anticipated contestants this season. The shamed swimmer used his video introduction to admit he'd recently been in the news "for the wrong reasons." For her part, partner Cheryl Burke was determined to "help Ryan find his way again" and chose the song "Call Me Irresponsible" in an effort to put a playful spin on his recent scandal. Their actual dance was fine — not amazing, but not a trainwreck. When it ended, Bruno said he felt like he'd just watched a "condensed season of The Bachelor" and suggested maybe Ryan's limbs weren't used to "dry land" just yet.
Carrie Ann Inaba was next to offer her critique, but just as she started saying Ryan had a "long way to go," protesters stormed the dance floor and began making a scene. Carrie Ann did her best to shut them down by politely repeating, "Excuse me," but that worked about as well as you'd expect with protesters who just rushed out in front of TV cameras on a live show. Though it wasn't clear to viewers at home, security rushed in to apprehend the anti-Lochte crew, and ABC abruptly cut to commercial.
When they returned, Ryan said he was "a little hurt" by the protest but insisted, "I came out here, and I wanted to do something that I'm completely not comfortable with, and I did, and I came out here with a big smile, and I have the best dance partner."
Tom thanked the security team for "staying in shape," and Ryan and Cheryl received their scores, which added up to a respectable 24.
Rounding out the middle were Amber Rose andMaksim Chmerkovskiy, who also nabbed a 24 for their fox-trot, which Amber performed in a bedazzled, long-sleeved gown with a flowing skirt that she obviously abhorred; new momTerra Jolé (who is the first ever little person to compete on the show) and Sasha Farber; Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson, who performed a cha-cha-cha to "Ice, Ice, Baby"; Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Allison Holker, andCalvin "Megatron" Johnson and Lindsay Arnold. Their dancing needed some work, but Lindsay was extremely impressed by the size of Calvin's feet.
Tell Us: Who do you think is going to win this season of Dancing With the Stars? And what did you think of the Ryan Lochte-related melee? 
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. 

Share this:

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2014 Designed by OddThemes | Distributed By Gooyaabi Templates