Dancing with the Stars came back with some surprisingly good couples and higher scores than expected. Let’s rewatch and analyze.
Even with a cast that, at first glance, doesn’t seem designed to inspire, Dancing with the Stars has been on television for 27 seasons. This show is a well-oiled machine, and these professional dancers do their very best with the partners they’re given.
That all being said, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli all seemed to be in very good moods as the night started, only for things to look a bit more up-and-down as the night went on.
But there were some clear winners and clear losers on last night’s premiere, so let’s dive back into Dancing and make some predictions about who’s going to go home tonight.
Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber (19: 6, 7, 6)
Wearing costumes that called back to her famous leotard from the Olympics, Mary Lou and Sasha had a cha cha to kick off season 27. With “Treasure” as her song, she came up with a big smile throughout the performance, although there wasn’t necessarily a huge wow moment for her. “You’re pretty nifty for 50, I’m telling you,” Len said, but of course, he had some comments on her footwork, and Bruno and Carrie Ann both praised her precision.
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson (20: 7, 6, 7)
Milo Manheim’s pre-show package was absolutely a ringer, because he came out with a lot of personality and smoothness in his opening cha cha. For someone who’s only 17, he’s got a lot of charm — but perhaps a touch of teenage tendency to gangle about him. He brought the crowd to its feet, though, and Bruno finished his comments by saying “you are great.”
Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe (18: 7, 5, 6)
Moving from cha cha to foxtrot, Evanna Lynch was quite smooth in her debut, and as a partner, Keo Motsepe seemed honestly excited to be working with her. That elevated the entire routine, and the comments were comparatively minor about simply being more aware of her hands and the like, despite a 5 appearing in her scores.
Danelle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev (18: 6, 6, 6)
There was a hesitancy to the opening section of Danelle Umstead’s foxtrot, but once she got onto the dance floor, she had a grace to her movements. Both are understandable — as emphasized in the show, she is blind. But skiing requires a lot of body control, and it was clear that it translated to dancing. “It was classy,” Bruno said, and Carrie Ann praised her bond with Artem Chigvintsev.
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess (20: 7, 6, 7)
A jive on week 1 of Dancing with the Stars just seems cruel. Add in an opening solo section with troupe dancers, then bring those troupe dancers back, and you have practically guaranteed no more than a passable jive, because the difference between Bobby Bones and the pros was apparent. At least he had some time to celebrate successfully getting through the jive? “Exquisitely demented,” Bruno said. Len went last, and he damned with faint praise about “attack[ing] the dance.”
Perhaps the judges saw more charm than this reviewer did.
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke (22: 7, 7, 8)
With plenty of chemistry and fluidity, Juan Pablo Di Pace came out with a salsa that shows he’ll likely live up to his Fuller House castmates — if not surpass them. The smoke from the machine was still dissipating as the judges continued commenting, which seems like fate casually noting that that was, er, toasty.
“Well, I’d pay for that,” Bruno said.