NOTE: HUGE technical glitches in this technological universe delayed this posting!
So much to chat about as "Dancing with the Stars" kicked off season 13. First to the most obvious: it's a whole new ballroom out there. A TRI-level multiplex has replaced our beloved old ballroom! Lots more bells and whistles, lots more camera angles and of course lots more fans. Also, the contestants have been released from that ridiculous "aquarium" of a holding pen that they had to endure last year. Instead, they have their own stately "box" in the theater. The entrances have also been changed due to the loss of the semicircular stair cases on either side of the fabulous orchestra with Harold Wheeler conducting. Instead, the gang makes its entrance via a center grand staircase.
But that's all window-dressing to the night's festivities.
Ron Artest (recently renamed Metta World Peace) kicked things off by channeling his best Dennis Rodman with that new 'do. Too bad his footwork wasn't nearly as exciting as his basketball antics or those of Rodman himself (on or off the court). His cha cha with pro newcomer Peta Murgatroyd earned hims a total of 14 out of 30.
Rob Kardashian, partnered with Cheryl Burke, was shown to be, well, not so gentlemanly during rehearsals, if we are to believe the hugely out-of-context video montage provided prior to their official dance. Ouch. And the sisters, as classy as ever, were on-hand to cheer on their sibling, complete with Chloe heckling judge Bruno Tonioli for his on-target criticisms of Robby's lack of dancing prowess. Class act. Still he outscored Ron by earning a whopping 15 out of 30.
Moving right along, Kristin "I used to be engaged to Jay Cutler" Cavallari proclaimed she had a "rough year." Boo hoo hoo; get over it. She and partner Mark Ballas turned in a not too shabby Cha Cha; too bad the choreography was overshadowed by all that throwback "hairography" as judge Carrie Ann Inaba rightly pointed. Nice touch was her former groom tweeted one and all to support Kristin. "Good luck babe" was the aforementioned tweet. Pass complete. Score: 19
Chynna Philips and Tony Dovolani turned in one of the better routines of the night with their lovely Viennese waltz. "This is a lot harder than singing," Chynna chirped during rehearsals. Score: 22 (for her dancing, not her insightful commentary)
Nancy Grace was just bursting at the seams with joy and determination and a whole lotta other stuff as she strutted her Cha Cha all over the place with partner and pro newcomer Tristan MacManus. MacManus has some moves more familiar to us from pro veteran Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and every bit as exciting to watch. Nancy's moves not so much. Score: 16
That impish David Arquette (fresh-faced and all smiles) delivered a beautiful Viennese waltz that was as entertaining as could be. Sober for 8 months (very way cool!) he and partner Kym Johnson (two-time ballroom champ) are a great match. Tons of chemistry there and that will serve them well. On the sidelines, wife Courtney Cox and their adorable daughter Coco. Score for her daddy: 18.
On to Italy.... as in Elisabetta Canalis (yes, George Clooney's ex gal pal). The Italian actress (though Bruno for some odd reason kept saying she was not used to performing) and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy (Maks' younger brother) had about as much chemistry as oil and water. Could she be more distant and removed from the ballroom? Their Cha Cha lacked, well, cha. Score: a very generous 15
Brother followed brother, and Maks Chmerkovskiy and his partner Hope Solo, the U.S. soccer great, seem to be a good matchup (though Kirstie Alley will be a hard act to follow). Their beautiful Viennese waltz earned them a 21 for the night.
On to Carson Kressley (yes, I'm rooting for him) who just stole the night in terms of entertainment value. His "shopping dance" moves were priceless and as Len put it, it's "Jagger-meets-swagger-meets stagger" and then some. His Cha Cha with pro partner (and best spray on tan of the night winner Anna Trebunskaya) alas only earned him a 17.
It was J.R. Martinez who stole the show with a gorgeous Viennese waltz with his pro partner Karina Smirnoff. The former Iraq war veteran-turned-soap star proved he's a dancing force to be reckoned with. He earned a score of 22 for his fine performance.
Derek Hough is back in the ballroom! Yes, after all his acting success, he's returned to dancing. He and partner Ricki Lake are a great team (and another one to watch) as their pretty and fluid Viennese waltz nabbed a 20 from the judges. NOTE TO ELISABETTA: This is what "chemistry" is all about.
And the last dancer of the night was the one everyone came to see: Chaz Bono. The child of Sonny and Cher turned in a playful Cha Cha thanks to some smart choreography by Lacey Schwimmer. The score: 17
WHEW! So many, ahem, dancers, so much to write.
Tuesday night's results show should be no surprise: Arrivederci Elisabetta!