In the past, Dancing with the Stars has survived Bristol Palin, Cloris Leachman, even Kirstie Alley. Can it survive a stunt-free season of just great dancing?
That’s what fans got Monday night in the 14th season premiere. Judge Len Goodman called it, “without a doubt, the best first show of any season.”That was probably because there weren’t any prima donnas or show boaters, no Kate Gosselin exploiting eight kids in order to tilt the vote.
The 14 new contestants all put in solid efforts, with Jaleel White, as host Tom Bergeron noted, all but erasing any notion of his clumsy Urkel character from Family Matters.Trouble is: Do viewers watch this show for class acts or car wrecks? DWTS is slipping in the ratings, as noted by the fact CTV has bumped the celebrity talent competition over to CTV Two in favour of hotter reality show The Voice. The 14 new contestants may be talented but many viewers were probably left asking who the heck half of them were or, at least, who they used to be. You know Dancing with the Stars is slipping when the big star who is saved to last in the introductions is Urkel.
First up on Monday night’s premiere was Extra host Maria Menounos, who has a laugh that could annoy Fran Drescher. Nimble host Bergeron cracked that hearing it could spawn a new “non-alcoholic drinking game.” (Hey, ABC is owned by Disney.) She told her partner, three-time champion Derek Hough, that she plays hockey like a dude, but “has boobs.” This was a cue to switch over to Monday’s night’s Leafs game, where the Leafs were playing like a bunch of boobs.
Menounos and Hough earned straight 7s, a typical score on this night.
Next up was soap star Jack Wagner. Dressed in a turquoise dinner jacket, Wagner and his red-haired Russian dance partner, Anna Trebunskaya (together they’re #Team Wagannbuns!), put on a “wunnerful” Lawrence Welk-style number, earning a 7-8-7. The crowd at the CBS Television City Studio thought they should have scored even higher.
Last season’s winner was actor and Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff: 20
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 21
Roshon Fagan and Chelsie Hightower: 23
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 20
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 26
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus: 23
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 24
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 21
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani: 24
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy: 23
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya: 23
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 26