" Dancing With the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower blogs on season 17 of the hit ABC show. Hightower gives her take on the dances, the judges' scores, and who will be eliminated. You can find her on Twitter @chelsiehightowr.
America, it's that time of year again. The time when we pull out the rhinestones and spandex, we get into our dancing shoes and we bring dancing fever to America's homes. Who would have thought a dancing show would become one of America's favorite's? Without further ado, let's get this season started! Monday night, we saw some great performances, mostly good performances, and only a few that fell a little short. And since I'm the judge of this one, I make my own rules, so I'll be scoring with 1/2 marks and all.
Brant Daugherty: Up first, Peta and Brant are already playing up the "showmance" on their pre-dance clips. Only time will tell if this "fling" is real or fake. Brant looks like he has natural rhythm. He is quite stiff through his legs on his Cha Cha locks. If he can loosen up more and make it more of a fluid movement, he would do a lot better throughout the basics. This couple is a striking pair together and Brant seriously has a winning smile. If nothing else Brant, just get out there and flash those pearly whites and you know you'll have at least one judge behind you. (And I'm not talking about Carrie-Ann!) This routine for me was good! I give them a 7.3.
Leah Remini: Such a fan of hers. I love seeing her on the dance floor with such natural grace and flow. I love the sass she brings and how she attacks the dance like I see her do in her comedic acting. I think she has much more in her though, so I'm excited to see what Tony does with her the rest of the season. Bruno, just a tip - this woman and Miley Cyrus don't even belong in the same sentence together! I'm surprised she held her composure as well as she did. Good job! I give them a 7. 2.
Corbin Bleu: Corbin Bleu, with the e before the u. Starting off with a very ambitious contemporary routine from Karina. One thing I did like, was the energy they brought to the routine. Kudos to the pair for not shying away from dancing actual contemporary movement rather than just filling the routine with lifts. Nice job, Corbin, but I have a good feeling the best is yet to come. This routine was good. I give them a 7.7. Good job guys!
Jack Osbourne: Jack Osborne in the house! How can you not love this guy, he came from Ozzy Osbourne's DNA. He's got "epic" in his blood. And I love that he is doing this for a great cause, MS. What a brave soul he is to enter into such an intense journey under the circumstances. Jack already has a nice topline and has really great rhythm and feel for dance. I think he will do well! I loved this routine from top to bottom. Great job to his partner Cheryl. For me, he is one to watch. This routine was good! I give them a 7.5.
Amber Riley: Amber Riley is already winning over my heart with her humility and humor - and this girl can dance!! Technically the best of the night for me, so far. Naturally good feet, natural body rhythm and hip movement, stepping on straight legs, not losing her connection to the floor. Very impressive! She may be my favorite girl of the season. Very excited to see where her journey goes. No doubt it'll be a good one. This routine was great. I give it an 8.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren: "Saved By the Bell" is a personal childhood staple of mine and Jessie, err Elizabeth, had very nice lines and turns. Very good choreography by Val, he really brought her strengths out. (On a side note, I'm not a huge fan of contemporary for this show, we have world class ballroom dancers teaching and dancing a style they weren't trained in and it doesn't seem to utilize the pros in the best way they can and it is a BALLROOM show. That's all). Either way, I did enjoy this routine. Great job, Val; great job, Elizabeth. I give this a 7.7.
Bill Nye: Bill Nye "The Science Guy," any child of my generation's science hero! Nice to see him on the dance floor. From his introductory swing demonstration, I was expecting big things. He brought some nice energy and nice performance. He needs lines, structure and technique. We'll see if new pro Tyne Stecklein, who is a contemporary dancer not trained in ballroom, can bring that out of him. But on a positive note, he's a legend! His desire and enthusiasm is infectious. Go science! I give this a 5.
Keyshawn Johnson: I understand he has a fear of being in front of people. His courage to come on this show is a notable one and a mark of a world class athlete. His partner, Sharna Burgess, being in all gold was either a smart move and a classic "DWTS" costume distraction or not intentional and just so happened to work very well for them. The times that I did see him, he lacked rhythm and needs to work on his footwork. He was a wide receiver so I expect some fast, agile feet! Hopefully Sharna can bring that out of him throughout the season in, which I have no doubt she will. Great, fun routine. 6.7!
Chrisina Milan: How gorgeous is she!! She has a stunning stage presence befor eshe even starts dancing. Great routine by Mark [Ballas]. This girl has a lot of potential. I saw some flexed feet and bent legs in areas where they should have been straight, but her performance was spot on. She captured the feeling of the dance and I saw some passion in her expression that translated to her body. Great work! I give this a 7.8.
Bill Engvall: This guy surprised me tonight! He wasn't bad! He brought some great energy and attack to this dance. Nice choreography by [Emma Slater]. His topline was pretty good, but his footwork was even better than expected! Your on the right track - keep on the direction you are going! 7.2.
Valerie Harper: I'm going to be the 102nd person to say it, but what an inspiration! Seriously though, this lady is incredible. I almost don't care how she dances. I hope she stays just so we can see her journey and how she handles this process. If she attacks it the way she attacks life, I'm sure we will see some great moments. I loved this routine and her childlike innocence and enthusiasm. I also loved seeing the way Tristin handles all his partners so politely and with such great careGreat job to the both of them! 7.
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi: Snooki, the most controversial figure of the season. What a transformation from her "Jersey Shore" days! She's a 'lil diva. I really enjoyed the performance! She had great charisma and is a natural performer. Good job to the pair of them. 7.7.
Overall, a great premiere night for "Dancing With the Stars." I actually really enjoyed the new format. Faster paced, cutting down time walking up the stairs and shorter interviews. It makes the show go by faster. Great job to all the pros who brought their A game and gave America a fun enjoyable night of dancing. This should be a great season. Let the games begin!
- Brant Daugherty