So the premiere is over, and what did we learn tonight?
I must admit, tonight's cast was surprising and disappointing for so many reasons.
Nicole Scherzinger, to the judges' surprise, emerged as the one-to-watch, displaying positively gorgeous style and polish in her Viennese waltz with Derek Hough. Hmmm. It couldn't possibly be all the thousands of hours she's been dancing entire life? If one more celeb with dancing experiences says that their training never prepared them for ballroom... She has set quite a high bar for the rest of the pack.
At the other end of the spectrum, astronaut Buzz Aldrin proved that not every senior is a Cloris Leachman. He is a true American hero, but as the judges pointed out, he danced like he still had his moon boots on. A welcome sight was his very slimmed-down pro partner Ashley (DelGrosso) Costa. She was the consummate pro out there, slowing down as needed to keep the pace with Aldrin as best she could. His score of 14 might be way too much to overcome next week.
Niecy Nash surprised everyone with her sizzling cha cha! Rock on. Bruno and Len pretty much hated it, but then, they also thought Jake Pavelka's waltz was great.
Which brings us to "Bachelor" Pavelka. Not much twinkle in those toes as far as I'm concerned. Partner Chelsie Hightower looked positively smitten with him. Sigh. But he did manage to get a score of 20, which puts him in a great spot in the pack heading into week 2.
Erin Andrews and her mile-long legs were the perfect match for Maks Chmerkovskiy, and their cha cha wowed both the audience and the judges, especially Len Goodman who called her a "funky monkey."
Evan Lysacek and his partner Anna Trebunskaya had about as much chemistry out there as Kate Gosselin and her ex. Somebody tell them the Cold War ended decades ago! His Viennese waltz was much more graceful than Jake's, but still, for an Olympic figure skating gold medalist, Carrie Ann was right, he needs to connect with the audience and not just "skate past."
Chad Ochocinco and partner Cheryl Burke kicked things off on a fiesty note with their groovin' cha cha, as the 6-time Pro-Bowler proved he's got plenty of moves both on and and off the field.
Which brings us to Shannen Doherty and her Viennese waltz tribute to her proud papa seated in the audience, as he recovers from a stroke. It was the night's most emotional moment; but she needs to move past all the personal stuff if she wants to continue on. Her moves proved to stiff for the judges who awarded her an 18.
And talk about a major league faux pas! What was Edyta Sliwinska thinking with her lousy choreography for "All My Children" hunk Aiden Turner? Sliwinska's biggest downfall in the past has been her uncanny ability to forget the choreography is not about her, but about her partner. She managed to twirl and strut and kick and flip and dive and bend as Aiden stood there providing her with a spray-tanned background. Aiden was promptly rewarded with a 14 for, well, um, not doing very much dancing.
The two most anticipated dancers of the night, Kate Gosselin and Pam Anderson were saved for the end of night one of competition. Gosselin was surprisingly not too good, with moves that were very rigid and not very polished. She and Tony Dovolani earned a 16.
Pam Anderson proved she's still got it, and nobody but nobody can work their hair better than she can. Kudos to Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno for their HIGHlarious turn at mimicking Anderson's tress finesse when they revealed their scores. La Pam walked away with a 21 for the night. Not too shabby.