Season 15, DWTS, week 1

Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) is back for a jamb-packed competition among some of the strongest dancers from all prior seasonsl. Championship Judge and ISTD Examiner Phillip Stephens provides a professional critique of the performances.

Date added to ADN: Tuesday, Sep 25 2012
Originally Published: Tuesday, Sep 25 2012
By Phillip Stephens

Dancing With the Stars – Season 15, Week 1

This is “The Best of The Best” out of the previous 14 seasons, where 13 “all stars” are vying for a chance at the coveted Dancing With The Stars Mirror Ball

Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson – Cha Cha

Nice opening. Parts of it looked a bit hectic, but Joey definitely has rhythm and timing. His floor presence is still strong.

Len – Loves watching Joey dance, even though he displays strange posture at times and his footwork is off now and then. Bruno – Needs better posture for Cha-Cha. Carrie Ann – Great Showman, good way to start off season 15. 6.5+7+7 = 20.5

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough – Foxtrot

They displayed precise movements with good lines and nice timing. She and Derek look good together. They move smoothly from one pose to the next. This was a very dynamic routine. It will be difficult to top this one, but we have 11 more to go.

Bruno – Thought she was a “floor scorcher”; Carrie Ann – Thinks this performance is what “All Star” contests are all about; Len – It didn’t feel or look like a Foxtrot to him. (I get so bent out of shape over comments like this one because that routine went with the music and embodied as much Foxtrot as possible within the bounds of that music.) 8+6.5+7.5 = 22

Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel – Cha Cha

It looked like she tried too hard and so was not as controlled as I’d like. She was off balance in several spots. Some good lines and lots of energy, but it didn’t look as calm as it should.

Carrie Ann – thought she was on fire, but she over dances things and gets off balance; Len – Clean and precise, it needs finesse; Bruno – Could have been cleaner. 7.5+7.5+7.5 = 22.5

Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower – Foxtrot

He has a great personality and makes good lines. His posture is not so good for Foxtrot and some of the closed work positioning is a bit weak. Overall, a good performance.

Len – A joy to watch, mostly. A few incidents throughout; Bruno – Noted that he did mess several things up; Carrie Ann – Would like to see more body contact. 7+7.5+7 = 21.5

Pamela Anderson & Tristan McMannis – Cha Cha

Her timing was very ragged in places and both of them looked like they didn’t have adequate time to go see hair and makeup. The routine fit the music. She needs a lot of polish in her feet, ankles, knees, hips, arms and hands, but has potential.

Bruno – Good performer, but not enough work in the routine to receive praise; Carrie Ann – She’s living the drama, but it needs a lot of polish; Bruno – like a kid on a bike when you take off the training wheels. It was a bit shaky but she didn’t fall off the bike. 5.5+5.5+6 = 17

Melissa Ryecroft & Tony Dovolani – Foxtrot

Quite a showy entrance and that “showy” theme carried thru to the body of the routine. Melissa looks relaxed and in control of all she’s doing. A very strong performance.

Carrie Ann – Exquisite lines, but needs more body contact; Len – a bit too theatrical for him, but great lines; Bruno – Agrees with Carrie Ann about body contact and also wants to see a stronger frame in closed hold. 7+7+7 = 21. (These scores seemed low for such a strong performance. If they only took off because her closed hold was a bit weak, they sure took off a lot!)

Apolo Anton Ono & Karina Smirnoff – Cha Cha

Good body positions over his feet and lots of precision in the moves. Nice “funk” and they were able to maintain the feel of the Cha-Cha while dancing to this particular piece of non-Cha-Cha music. Apolo looked as if he were relaxed and having a good time with the routine.

Len – Thought it needed more hip action; Bruno – Thought arm extensions were exquisite and thought positioning on the feet was off at times; Thought he had great hip action. 7.5+7+7.5 = 22

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroid – Foxtrot

A good fit. Both tall, long lines, nice rhythm. He looks strong and in command on the floor. His closed position is quite strong and his upper body posture remained erect even though he was in closer contact than any other Foxtrot performers tonight.

Bruno – Liked the finesse and thought it was technically good; Carrie Ann – Thought it was super; Len – liked the mix of steps and thought Gilles had a nice sophistication about him. 8+8+8 = 24

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas – Cha Cha

Bristol looks much better now than when on the show before. She seems more confident as a person and as a dancer. Her smile looked genuine. She made some very nice lines and had good contrasts in timing.

Carrie Ann – Seems most improved liked her confidence level; Len – looked more confident. Used her legs well. Arms need work; Bruno – Needs more focus and power. 6.5+6.5+6.5 = 19.5 – a bit low for how well she performed

Drew Larche & Anna Treybunskaya - Foxtrot

Looks too tense in his topline and forgets to look at his partner in lines and checks. Not a very fluid performance, and it looked a bit like he had a pole up his backside, but the audience did seem to like it.

Len – Liked it, but thought it was too hard and hectic; Bruno – Synchronicity with Anna made Bruno think Drew danced with her for a long time; Carrie Ann – Liked the shoulders down and long neck, but thought his posture was too rigid. 7+7+7.5 = 21.5

Kelly Monaco & Valentine Chmerkovski – Cha Cha

Nice crisp leg actions, good timing good arm lines. I like the quick contrasts between when she’s moving and being still. She looked confident except for one moment before the end.

Bruno – Hotter than ever. She’s never done Cha-Cha before, and yet looked as if she has; Carrie Ann – Liked the chemistry between Kelly and Val; Len – Liked the choreography and the performance, but she needs to keep shoulders down when stressed. 7+7+7.5 = 21.5

Kirstie Allie & Maksim Chmerkovski – Foxtrot

Right into dance position and right into “proper” dancing. Kirstie is quite a nice performer. I do wish she’d have confined her hair for this dance as it detracted from the overall polish of the performance. In contrast to that, Max looked very well put-together. Overall, I think she could have done much better.

Carrie Ann – Thinks she puts her whole body into the performance, but felt like something was missing; Len – Gotta lift the rib-cage. Needs refining and better quality of movement; Bruno – Likes the performance quality, but needs more technique. 6.5+6+6.5 = 19

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke - Cha Cha

A good clean beginning. Emmitt has excellent body rhythm and looks confident and in control on the floor. He has a powerful presence. His upper body posture is a bit lax, but, otherwise, he is a terrific performer with a lot to offer.

Len – Ya can’t teach flair. This was the last dance of the evening and definitely the best; Bruno – Liked it a lot; Carrie Ann – Thinks he was born to dance. 8+8.5+8 = 24.5

For me, the departing dancer could be a toss-up between Drew Larche and Pamela Anderson. Drew may improve with time, but he just looks like a stuffed jacket to me and, unless that changes drastically in the Latin dances, I see no reason to keep him on the showl. Pamela needs so much work to catch up to the other dancers that I don't know where to begin to describe her weaknesses. But who knows? Viewer votes may keep both of them on and get rid of better dancers.

About the Author: / 713-248-2299

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.

smalladnseal.png Contributing Member

The Dance Place
Houston, TX 77056

Related Topics

Inspired by Pop Culture

So, you think you can dance? Well, get Dancing because you're the Star. Don't be the one who lives your life in fear and half lived. Get inspired and dance with the rest of us. It's time to get out of your corner, Baby, Shall We Dance?