Season 23 officially kicked off on Sept. 12, at Griffith Observatory in LA — and proved this season was going to be quite the adventure. So who has great potential and well… who doesn’t? Here we go!
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough kicked off the night dancing the jive to “Can’t Stop Dancing,” and let’s be honest, it was appropriate to kick it off with Derek! Len Goodman even loved it, calling it fabulous. Bruno Toniloi did point out that it was a lot of steps for a first week — but she did amazing.
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess did the Foxtrot to “Live Life,” in matching turquoise head-to-toe — and it was very classically stunning. Len said it great, calling it “knockout” after expecting nothing since he was a race car driver, not a dancer. Julianne Hough also called it a “beautiful fresh air.”
Calvin Johnson, Jr. and Lindsay Arnold danced the Cha Cha to “That’s What I Like,” and Megatron wanted to prove the world he actually could dance. Julianne pointed out he has a very infectious smile, and for night one, he brought his A-game! Carrie Ann Inaba admitted he has work to do, but it’s there.
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev danced the Viennesse Waltz to “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman,” and of course, as always, he was perfection. She actually really impressed me; while she was a little stiff, she really had the moves down. Carrie Ann gave great advice: trust Artem a little more. Oh, and her Brady Bunch mother, Florence Henderson was there to show support (yes, I was crying).
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker did the Foxtrot to”Deed I Do” after he revealed he was on the show to honor his mother. Everyone agreed that it was a classy performance, and while he has a lot to work on, the musicality is obvious there.
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy kicked off with the Foxtrot and while she admitted she didn’t feel like a princess, she sure looked like one. Julianne reminded her that she is a princess and should keep smiling!
Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson danced to “Ice Ice Baby” to the Cha Cha (not sure that the Running Man is the Cha Cha) and well, it was very contemporary and the choreography was played up for his skills. However, he had a smile from the start and was very positive. Len was right saying there wasn’t enough cha cha cha!
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko took on the Viennese Waltz to “Dangerous Woman,” after she explained that the show is quite the healing process for her after a recent split from her husband… and let’s just say, that is quite the way to heal. Bruno called it raunchy and sexy, and we have to say we agree. It was intense!
Jake T Austin and Jenna Johnson did the very fast jive to “Kiss You,” and well, it was a little too quick for a first dance; I was actually impressed by him with the difficulty of the dance. He had great energy and definitely has rhythm. Also, dare I say it — they may have some chemistry outside of the show, too.
Rick Perry and Emma Slater took on the Cha Cha to — what else? — “God Bless Texas.” Honestly, he gets an A for effort; he clearly did try very hard. However, it didn’t include much dance. It was “pedestrian,” as Len put it, but he did say, hey at least he tried!
Terra Jole and Sasha Farber danced the jive to “Stuff Like That There,” and she could not have had a bigger smile on her face through the entire time. The star just had a baby a month ago, and her energy was so impressive. Carrie Ann raved that she “didn’t see a little person,” but instead a big star, and Len added that she’s delivered twice this month! Aww.
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke danced to “Call Me Irresponsible” — naturally, she made a joke that it was perfect for him. Ryan came out for his “second chance,” and he actually did make a great impression — I thought his attitude, positive presence, and footwork was on point. However, something scary happened and forced the show to cut to commercial. Watch the whole, scary event go down here.
Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy finished the show, on top, dancing the Cha Cha to “American Girl.” And it’s not surprising that well, they stole the show. Val was glowing through the whole thing, and it was insanely good.
Who was your favorite?