‘Dancing with the Stars’: Are the judges already playing favorites?

03.17.14 5 years ago 4 Comments

When the show kicks off, Tom Bergeron makes it abundantly clear that it's out with the old “Dancing with the Stars” and in with the new. Buh-bye, Brooke Burke-Charvet, hello, Erin Andrews (hate to say it, but it's already an improvement)! See ya old musical director, hello shiny new one! Look at these new singers! Check out our new band! Okay, we get it. After this many seasons, why not distract us with a nip and a tuck?

But what I'm worried about is whether or not the judges could have used some freshening up. Either they're not paying attention, or they're showing their hands too early. At least one score seems unnaturally low in the season premiere, and while I understand the need to create tension, I'm not sure we need to start in week one. 

After Jason Derulo sings (and dances — hey, someone who can work with the theme of the show!), we cut straight to the chase. We've got a lot of couples we need to meet. In case you don't know who they are, don't worry. Lots of goofy costumes and props (and Ewoks) are on hand to help!

NeNe & Tony
The Background: NeNe wants to have fun! She pretty much swans around the place, trying to make Tony laugh. She proclaims that the ice skaters are her biggest threat, while I would argue that most viewers of this show don't necessarily know who she is would be the real problem.
The Dance: This is not bad at all. Sure, some of it seems stilted, and she's performing more with her face than with her body, but she seems to have some natural talent. 
The Judges: Len thought she got the party started, but it needed more hip action. Still, well done. Bruno thinks she has so much to give. Carri Ann thinks her personality is big, and she wants her to dance bigger.
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 7

James & Peta
The Background: He's known for being a member of Big Time Rush, but that's not the important part. No, he and Peta went on a date once, but he never called. This seems to unnerve her a lot more than it unnerves him. He says he'd take her on another date, but they need to be professional. Yeah. This is going to be weird, but awesome to watch. 
The Dance: It's a foxtrot, and it looks pretty good. His arms aren't bad, but his feet need work. But really, first time out? Not awful at all.
The Judges: Bruno thought he put in a lot of effort, but his footwork needs work. But still, very, very good. Carrie Ann has a big time crush on him. Gross. She thinks he has a natural elegance. Len thought he did a good job. 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 7

Danica & Val
The Background: Danica thinks Val is way cooler than she is. He thinks she's very bright, though, so that's cool, maybe. She wants to find her womanliness, and she's on the show hoping to take a journey. 
The Dance: Hey, she seems pretty womanly to me. She needs to loosen up a little, but a lot of this looks very strong. Hey, she kissed Bruno at the end! Total woman points for that! 
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought Danica handled Val's energy, but her mouth was too expressive. Wow, that's gotta hurt — your mouth BOTHERS ME. Len thinks she held Val too tight, but she made a good first impression. Bruno thought she was exuberant and warm. Danica admits that she didn't mean to kiss him. Don't worry, Danica. It meant nothing to him, I'm sure. 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 8

Shawn & Karina
The Background: He's known for playing hockey, and he might kill a judge. Just kidding, possibly. Karina thinks he's hilarious. He's so deadpan! And violent!
The Dance: This is a contemporary dance, but it mostly looks like Shawn walking around Karina. 
The Judges: Len thought the lifts were terrific, but it needed finesse. Bruno thought he was powerful and connected, but the links were jagged. Carrie Ann thinks he's fascinating to watch, but he has to learn to point his toes. 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 6  Bruno – 7

Billy Dee & Emma
The Background: He has arthritis in his back and he's had two hip replacements. But Emma thinks his commitment is fantastic! Did you know he can imitate a Wookie? Yes, yes he can. 
The Dance: There's a “Star Wars” theme, which is already goofy. But oh, this is not great. He's just kind of walking around. He's almost 80, and while I admire his pluck, this is not really selling the golden years. 
The Judges: Bruno thought he was too dainty. Carrie Ann thought he was very relaxed, but he needs to work harder. Len thinks he's 77, so he did a good job. There are Ewoks in the audience! Ewoks! 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 5  Len – 5  Bruno – 5

Meryl & Maks
The Background: She's thrilled to get Maks! She thinks he's a good looking guy. He wants to marry her. He may finally have found a partner to whom he can be nice. Here's to Maks not making his partner cry this season!
The Dance: Lotta shtick in this first week, isn't there. Once we get past the Olympics-themed opening, it's all kinds of wow. Oh my God, she's amazing. Like we didn't know that would be the case, but still. It's going to be either her or Charlie for the win.
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought it was very nice. Len thinks she's good on wood. Bruno thought she was the queen of spins, but wants her to watch the back of her legs. But come on, she was great, right?
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8  Bruno – 8  — Hmm, not the greatest scores. But maybe they don't want to give out anything higher than an eight in the first week. 

Candace & Mark
The Background: She was on “Full House,” and she loves to dance. She loves her faith and her family, and Mark is now a member of her family. Aw, shucks. She wants to feel beautiful, but wants to be modest. Oh, and she has history with Danica. 
The Dance: Huh. Some of this is really good, actually. Some is hesitant, sure, but really, not bad. 
The Judges: Len thinks she can dance. Bruno thought it was dramatic. Carrie Ann was shocked at how good it was. She wants to work with her. 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 9  Len – 8 Bruno – 8  — Wait, she got a 9 and Meryl didn't? Yes, Candace was good for a housewife, but Meryl was great. Are points awarded for “given your background as a former child star, we're surprised you didn't completely suck”? Because this seems unfair to me. 

Cody & Witney
The Background: She wants to know if he's single. Because, you know, she's single. Too bad he's not single. Oh, God. Stop. He finds her hips distracting. Because he's not single! Gosh, is ABC trying to manufacture rumors for Radar Online or what? 
The Dance: He's very tall and thus comes across as a little gangly and not entirely in control of his extremities, but this is still okay. 
The Judges: Bruno thinks he's a natural, but his basics need work. Carrie Ann feels old watching him, but thinks his upper body is great. His feet are flappy. Len thinks it was full of energy, but his technique needs work.
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 8

Drew & Cheryl
The Background: He wants to inspire people. Oh, Drew, we have a double amputee this season, so you need to angle for the token funny guy slot. He wants to challenge himself and be graceful. 
The Dance: This is passable, but pretty dull. I like the Monopoly board, though. I know this isn't a great dance when I'm actually amused by the dumb props. 
The Judges:  Carrie Ann thinks he's the crowd pleaser. Len thought it was watchable. Bruno thought he did content. That's a thing, I guess. You did content, Drew!
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 7 

Amy & Derek
The Background: She doesn't have legs, but you really can't tell. She had bacterial meningitis at 19, and now she's medaled in the Paralympics! Derek thinks this is his biggest challenge ever on the show, and I think he's right. 
The Dance: I'm so fascinated by her prosthetic feet I could barely pay attention. Those legs move shockingly well! 
The Judges: Len won't judge her any differently, and he gives her a gold medal in the cha cha cha. Bruno thinks she's Wonder Woman. Carrie Ann is in shock and she's weepy. Pull it together, Carrie Ann! She does not want your tears! 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8  Bruno – 8 

Diana & Henry
The Background: She's the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, and she's also the number one fan of “Dancing with the Stars.” Funny, she likes the show but seems to have no natural dancing talent. She hates high heels! Waah!
The Dance: She seems so stiff. I just can't believe she's an extreme swimmer. This is right up there with Billy Dee's performance. 
The Judges: Bruno thinks she didn't do badly, but she needs to smooth it all out. Carrie Ann thinks she's a slowly opening flower. Emphasis on slowly. Len thinks she'll make it with a little more finesse. He thought it would suck more, basically. 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 6 Len – 6 Bruno – 6 — Don't you love it when the judges offer encouraging comments, then level a contestant with the horrible truth of what they really thought with the number scores? 

Charlie & Sharna
The Background: Sharna comes thisclose to saying, I'm going to the finals, suckers!
The Dance: Of course this is incredible. And yes, Candace can suck it. If he doesn't get more than one nine, I will know this show is rigged. 
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought it was poetry in motion. Len thinks it was a good dance for Charlie in week one. Bruno thinks Charlie's attention to detail is incredible. 
The Scores: Carrie Ann – 9  Len – 9 Bruno – 9 — Okay, that's more like it. 

I'm still not sure why Meryl got docked (sure, her legs are still in ice skating position, but come on!  She's an ice dancer!), but judges, I'm watching you. 

Who are you rooting for? Who do you think will go home first? What did you think of the season premiere?

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