“Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars” premiered Monday night with 13 seasoned performers vying for the championship and bragging rights, but judges’ scores reflected their higher expectations.
This is the popular dance competition’s 15th season, but the first featuring past competitors vying in an all-stars format.
For the first time, the three judges awarded scores in half-point increments, for a maximum of 10 points each. The couple with the lowest score after the judges’ and viewer votes are combined will be voted off each week, until the final couples remain to battle for the championship.
Head judge Len Goodman said judges would be tougher on the stars this season because they were not novices and standards would be more stringent.
Joey Fatone: The former N’Sync boy band member’s enthusiastic cha-cha earned modest approval from the judges. “I love watching you dance,” Goodman said at the end of Fatone’s performance. Fatone got 20.5 out of a possible total of 30 points.
Shawn Johnson: Johnson, the retired Olympic gymnast, delivered a light, sweet foxtrot that pleased the crowd but disappointed Goodman. “For me it didn’t really feel like a foxtrot … ,” he said, while adding that Johnson was a good dancer. Judge Bruno Tonioli felt that the routine seemed to be a mix of foxtrot and the cha-cha, but said it had sex appeal, while judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she loved the routine. “That is what all-stars’ season is all about,” she said. She earned 22 points (the audience booed when Goodman awarded a 6.5).
Sabrina Bryan: Bryan, a season 5 fan favorite whose early departure shocked fans, turned in an enthusiastic cha-cha that judges said may have been too enthusiastic. “You are on fire … but you have to be careful ’cause you sometimes overdance,” Inaba cautioned Bryan. Bryan earned 22.5 points.
Helio Castroneves: The season 5 champion’s smooth, swanky foxtrot pleased the ballroom audience, and for the most part, the judges. Tonioli told Castroneves that he had such a bright, engaging stage presence that people were focused on watching his face and not his feet, adding that he “messed up” quite a bit. Goodman agreed, saying “For me, it was a joy to watch, mostly …while Inaba said the racecar driver had charisma and charm but needed to have made more body contact in the routine. Judges awarded Castroneves 21.5.
Pamela Anderson: The actress’ tentative cha-cha drew disappointing reviews from judges. Goodman told her that the performance reminded him of a child who had just had the training wheels removed from a bike. “It was a bit shaky but you didn’t fall over and you got through it,” he said. Tonioli told the “Baywatch” beauty that she needed to work harder. Anderson was awarded 17 points.
Melissa Rycroft: The TV presenter’s fluid foxtrot drew a standing ovation from the audience, but the judges were less enthusiastic. “I liked it, I just thought it was a tad theatrical,” Goodman said. Inaba and Tonioli both said Rycroft and her partner, Tony Dovolani, needed to have more body contact. Rycroft earned 21.
Apolo Ohno: The season 4 champion and Olympic gold medal-winning skater delivered a funky cha-cha that had Inaba smiling from ear-to-ear. ”Is it just me or did you just get 3,000 times more sexy?” she said, praising his hip action and leg work. He earned 22 points.
Gilles Marini: The actor’s stylish foxtrot drew high praise from all three judges. Tonioli said the routine had panache and finesse, adding it was “technically so good. Can I see it again?” Inaba called the performance “gorgeous,” while Goodman said it was “sophisticated.” Judges gave him 24 points, the highest score of the night.
Bristol Palin: The reality TV personality and daughter of former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin showed far more confidence Monday night than she did when she performed on season 11, and judges paid attention. “I vote you most improved since last time we saw you,” Inaba told Palin, whose famous mother, father Todd, and young son, Tripp, were in the audience to watch the performance. Goodman told her she had “great legs,” while Tonioli enthused: “Bristol darling, is it really you?” Judges awarded her 19.5 points.
Drew Lachey: Lachey won the show in season 2 and his airy foxtrot Monday night brought the audience to its feet, and drew largely positive comments from the judges. “I liked it but it was all a bit too hard and hectic for me …,” Goodman said. Inaba and Tonioli liked the performance, but cautioned Lachey against having too rigid a posture. Lachey earned 21.5 points.
Kelly Monaco: The season 1 champion and soap opera star had never performed a cha-cha when she first competed because the show’s initial season was only six weeks long, but tonight her cha-cha wowed the judges. “You were a stunner, well done, Kelly, my darling,” Tonioli told her. He and Inaba told Monaco to straighten her legs more. Goodman said he loved the dance, but told Monaco to lower her shoulders more. She earned 21.5.
Kirstie Alley: The season 12 second-place finisher drew applause from the audience but judges had mixed reviews. Inaba told the actress that she had “the most beautiful, sensual quality” when she danced, but needed to increase the intensity. Goodman told Alley she needed to lift her rib cage. “It needed refining,” he said. “The quality of movement wasn’t superb.” Before she left the dance floor after her routine, she kissed Tom Bergeron on the lips for a few seconds. “That’s for your Emmy!” she told the surprised co-host.
Emmitt Smith: The former “Dancing” champion delivered a rhythmic cha-cha that Goodman declared the best dance of the night. Tonioli told the NFL legend that he was “always a natural with truckloads of charisma.” Smith earned 24.5 points, the highest of the night.
One star will be voted off Tuesday night.
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson: 20.5
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 22
Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel: 22.5
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower: 21.5
Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus: 17
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 21
Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 22
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyed: 24
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: 19.5
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 21.5
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 19
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 24.5