Television

Dancing With the Stars: Season 21 Premiere

dancing with the stars
We’re back for a new season of Dancing with the Stars, and I’m here to guide you on the journey toward the Mirrorball Trophy! Now, I will fully admit that this is my first season of this show, so I don’t know all the ins and outs, nor do I know much about any of the pros. In fact, the only one I could pick out by name is Derek. But I will try my best to review the show properly and do it justice.

Now, when I saw the cast for this season, my prediction was that Alexa and Nick would do well. Nick has previous dance experience with the Backstreet Boys, and while it’s not ballroom, he knows how to learn choreography quickly. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen Alexa dance, but she’s a talented actress and singer, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see that she’s an excellent dancer too. I also figured that Tamar could be good because of her background in music as well.

Besides Nick, whom I love, because yes, I am a total boy band fan, the person who really interests me is Bindi. I don’t know much about her, but she seems so bubbly and upbeat, so I think she could go far if she can turn that positive energy into great dance moves.

On the other end of the spectrum, my prediction was that Paula and Chaka probably wouldn’t make it too far, just because they’re older and may not be able to move as quickly. In Chaka’s case, I hope I’m wrong, because I think she’s awesome. Gary Busey is a total wild card. He’s absolutely insane, but he’s had success on the Apprentice, so he may surprise us here too. Who knows.

But let’s get down to the actual show itself.

 

VICTOR ESPINOZAVictor Espinoza

Once we’re introduced to all the stars, the competition starts, and jockey Victor Espinoza is first to go. He’s quite a bit shorter than his partner, Karina, so this could be interesting, but he seems like a sweet guy, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him last a few more rounds. His biggest problem is apparently his short-term memory because he’s had so many concussions, being a jockey. They danced the salsa, and the judges liked the performance, though Carrie Ann said there was no actual salsa. Bruno made a comment about the grinding Victor did in his performance but said he needs to concentrate on basics and on staying on time. I thought the performance was okay, but he seemed a little stiff and awkward to me. But then, that’s not surprising for the first week. He’ll make it past this round, I think.

Scores from Carrie Ann, Julianne, and Bruno: 5, 5, 5

 

TAMAR BRAXTONTamar Braxton

Tamar is a singer and talk show host and wants to get back into the swing of things after having a baby. She’s dancing with Val, and from the get go, it’s pretty clear that they both want to be the boss. Yet they seem to get along pretty well, despite the power struggle. I think they’ll end up pushing each other to work harder rather than hold each other back, which is good to see. Bruno said their quickstep was high volume and high class, and she blew Carrie Ann away. Julianne loved her elegance and femininity. I thought she did really well. She looked great, and she seemed to know what she was doing, which is impressive, since this was a really hard dance to do.

Scores: 8, 7, 8

 

CHAKA KHANChaka Khan

Chaka has her Grammys, and now she’s going after the Mirrorball! Her partner, Keo, seems super excited to work with her. I don’t blame him! To work with a diva, a queen like her is amazing. Their Cha Cha was a little stiff, and Carrie Ann noted that she seemed to have had so much fun that she forgot some of her dance moves, but the judges showered her with compliments anyway. Bruno did remind her that her foot placement was wrong though, so she’s got to work on that. She looked a little nervous and overwhelmed, but Keo was great with her, leading her through dance like the pro he is. I’m hoping she’ll be able to stay another week or two.

Scores: 5, 4, 4

 

 

HAYES GRIERHayes Grier

Hayes is a Vine star that I admit I’ve never heard of before, but he’s adorable. He says he wanted to do the show to entice someone to let him take them to prom, which is also adorable. Emma, his partner, is a good teacher, and their Cha Cha was pretty good! I thought he was a little bit awkward, but he was mostly able to keep up with her. The judges seemed to like him too, though Julianne said he needs to work on his core, and Bruno said he needs to be sharper, to hit the moves instead of throwing them away.

Scores: 7, 7, 7

 

 

 

ANDY GRAMMERAndy Grammer

I didn’t know much about Andy except that he sings one of the catchiest songs on the radio at the moment, but after seeing him on the show, I really want to see more of him. He’s so cute and sweet, having joined the cast to dance for his mom, who passed away six years ago. She loved dancing, so this makes him feel closer to her. So sweet. He and Allison danced the fox trot, and he moved pretty well! He looked comfortable, and in my opinion, he had great chemistry with her. Julianne agreed with me about their connection. Carrie Ann did not, though she liked the performance too. Bruno thought he was good, but that he needs to work on his footwork and on being smoother with his moves.

Scores: 7, 7, 7

 

 

PAULA DEENPaula Deen

Paula is definitely a bit of a weird one, but she’s entertaining. She says it’s been fifty years since she’s done any kind of organized dancing, so she wants to push herself to learn. Her problem, according to her partner, Louis, is that she gets distracted easily, and I think it kind of showed in their dance. She danced the quickstep relatively well, as far as I can tell, but it was hard to see her footwork under the long dress she had on. The judges could see though, and Carrie Ann commented that she’s got potential, but that she’s got to get her feet under her and keep up. Julianne could see that Louis was definitely leading her, as she was holding onto him for dear life. They told her to just let go and go for it. When she got her scores, you could see how upset she was with herself, so it may prompt her to work harder next week, if she makes it through the double elimination.

Scores: 5, 5, 5

CARLOS PENAVEGACarlos and Alexa PenaVega

This married couple has decided to join the cast together and compete against each other. They obviously love each other very much, and though they wonder what it’ll be like to work super closely with others, they are clearly very supportive of each other, though they’re also quite competitive as well.

ALEXA PENAVEGACarlos and Whitney danced the jive, and he’s really good. He’s really able to move, though that’s not really surprising, seeing as he’s had to learn choreography while with Big Time Rush. Julianne thought that he was the most natural dancer they’d seen so far tonight, but that he needs to just let go and give it. Bruno told him his kicks need distinction, and Carrie Ann liked his musicality.

Scores: 8, 8, 7

Alexa and Mark were also very good. Bruno thought she was hot and sexy and he liked her footwork. I’d actually thought the music seemed to be getting away from her a bit, but hey, that shows how little I know about dancing. Julianne liked her precision too, so I’m doubly wrong here, and that’s okay.

Scores: 7, 7, 8

KIM ZOLCIAK BIERMANNKim Zolciak Biermann

The real housewife is a football wife and a mother of six, and she says her biggest challenge is going to be letting go, which I actually find a little surprising, considering she’s on camera pretty much 24/7 on the Real Housewives of Atlanta. If she can’t let go, does that mean she’s holding back 24/7 as well? I’ve never seen the show, so I don’t know much about her. She definitely couldn’t let go during her salsa performance. She looked good, but she really didn’t do much. She sort of let her partner Tony do most of the work, and the judges definitely noticed. They all basically told her that she’s got to let go and just give it her all, and she tried defending herself by saying that it was strange dancing with someone who wasn’t her husband. Now, I’ve seen bits and pieces of this show before, and this doesn’t seem to go over well with the judges or the audience. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the first one to go next week.

Scores: 4, 4, 4

BINDI IRWINBindi Irwin

Bindi is absolutely adorable. She’s full of energy and positivity, which I think could take her far in this competition. She and her partner, Derek, seem to get along really well together, which also helps. Her jive was really good. As far as I know, she doesn’t have any dancing experience, but I guess playing with crocodiles with her dad has made her really quick on her feet, because they seemed to fly across the floor. All the judges absolutely loved her, as did the audience. No one really had anything bad to say about her performance.

Scores: 8, 8, 8

 

 

Gary BuseyGary Busey

Oh man, here we go. Gary is crazy, so you never know what could happen when he’s on TV. His first rehearsal with partner Anna was rough, and I was actually a little touched by his vulnerability when he asked her if he was slow at learning the dance. He seemed to tear up a little when she explained to him that learning to dance is like learning a new language. It made me root for him a little. The dance was pretty rough, in my opinion, and it was clear she was guiding him through his dance moves, but they seemed to work well together. She seemed very patient with him, and as a result, the judges were all positive in their comments, telling him it wasn’t Cha Cha, but it was entertaining.

Scores: 5, 5, 5

 

 

ALEK SKARLATOSAlek Skarlatos

No one had heard of Alek until a few weeks ago, when he and two others saved a whole train from being massacred by a gunman, but now, everyone knows who he is. I think he’s adorable. He’s clearly humbled by all the attention he’s getting and all the opportunities he’s been given because of what he’s done. He says he’s never danced before, but now he’s competing for his two friends on the train as well as for himself. During his foxtrot with partner Lindsay, I thought he looked a little overwhelmed but comfortable at the same time. He was smooth and graceful in his movements, and the judges loved him. Carrie Ann thought it was one of the best performances of the night, which seemed to blow Alek away.

Scores: 8, 7, 7

 

 

NICK CARTERNick Carter

And now, finally, the star that I, for one, have tuned in to watch. I’m sure I’m far from the only one. When he meets his partner, Sharna, she goes a little fangirl on him, which I think is adorable. I understand completely. Nick says that he’s always felt a bit insecure with his dancing, and that he’s managed to hide behind the rest of the Backstreet Boys for years. Personally, I think he’s being a little too hard on himself. I’ve seen some of those moves. Some of them are very impressive. Their cha cha was impressive as well. I actually thought that a few of the moves reminded me a little bit of the moves Jordan Knight from NKOTB does, which isn’t surprising, since they’re friends, and they’ve toured together. I thought he and Sharna had a great connection, which just made the dance that much more fluid. Also, apparently he popped the button on his pants, but I didn’t notice at all, even on second viewing. Carrie Ann thought he was a little weak at first but then snapped into it, and Julianne and Bruno both loved the performance.

Scores: 8, 8, 8

So that’s it! Nick and Bindi have the top scores of the night, and Kim has the lowest, followed by Chaka. Now it’s up to the fans to vote to keep the stars they want to stay on the show! Two celebrities are going to leave the show next week, and I definitely think that Kim will be one of them. The other? I’m not sure. I hope it’s not Chaka. I want to see her compete for another week. I won’t be upset if Paula or Victor leaves after Kim. As for who I think will win? I think Bindi’s really got a shot, if this first episode was any indication. And, of course, Nick will most likely do well too, especially with the number of BSB fans out there. I’m excited to see what happens next! I’ll see you in a week!

– Rebecca

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