"Dancing With the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower weighs in on each of the week 1 performances . The "DWTS" veteran knows what it takes to dazzle on the dance floor and gives her take on the dances, the choreography, and the judges' scores. You can find her on Twitter @chelsiehightowr.
The night has come again where we gather around our televisions to celebrate dance as our favorite pros take the dance floor. But the celebrities step into a world completely new to most of them and take on the impossible task of - DUN DUN DUN - learning how to dance!. So, without further ado, let's see how these contestants did.
Click HERE to Read a Full Recap of Week 1
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani: Nene and Tony kicked off the night with an exciting Cha Cha. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with this performance. I saw in her a sense of good natural rhythm and, dang, this woman is sassy! Expectedly, she missed some technique and refinement but for her first performance, it was commendable. No doubt she will develop better technique and skill as the season rolls on. I'm happy to say I enjoyed this routine but possibly Nene's sass even more. Great job Nene!
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: James is a pretty face but the question is, does he have the dance chops? Only time will tell. The standout critique I have for this Foxtrot was that it was missing the fluidity and flow that is so crucial to this classy dance. The movement was slightly choppy. But, I'm going to cut James some slack and blame it on the music. The song was not ideal for a Foxtrot.
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Danika McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Danika and Val are up next with their version of the Foxtrot. Oh, how I loved the good ole' days of Winnie Cooper and "The Wonder Years.'
Wow, I was pretty impressed with this performance. Was it good dancing? Yes it was. But the thing I liked most is that she has charisma and a twinkle in her eye that is unteachable. She is an early favorite of mine. Great job Danica and Val!
Sean Avery and Karina Smirnoff: Candidly, I was a bit anxious about this one considering he is a hockey player. The hockey players I've known have proven to me to be terrible dancers, lol, but I was pleasantly surprised when Sean proved me wrong. His dance wasn't bad. I mean the dude did a switch leap of all things! That's a fairly difficult maneuver for those of you wondering what a switch leap is. Great job Sean!
Billy Dee Williams and Emma Slater: I have some good news and bad news with this one. The good news is we all love Billy Dee. Bad news is he's not a great dancer. BUT I'd say that for the fact that he is getting out there and giving good effort is worth a medal. Billy, just give it a little more energy and work on using those arms! We just want to see a little improvement every week. You got this!
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Well, one thing for sure is this girl can dance!! This was a technically sound performance with quality up to par, plus natural ability. She's got it all. I guess winning a gold medal in figure skating can add to one's ability to cut a rug. I can't wait to see what this pair brings to the floor the rest of the season!
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: What's cool about Candace is her movements are not refined so as to look like she's had formal training but yet are good enough to prove she has a ton of natural ability. Perfect candidate to go all the way in this competition. Well done, Candace and Mark!
Cody Simpson and Witney Carson: Cody did a great job with this dance! He showed natural charisma and confidence. But because he has some natural ability he won't get by without incorporating basic technique in his dances. Witney has a definitive slate of what to work on. You'll get 'em Cody; just keep your steps tight!
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: What a champion this lady is, and a true inspiration to us all. I was incredibly impressed with the product that she and Derek brought to the dance floor tonight. It was dynamic, charismatic and her hip action was seriously good! Amy has sterling courage to face the stiff challenge this show presents! That is not just noteworthy but absolutely inspiring to all who will watch her performances in the coming weeks.
Diana Nyad and Henry Byalikov: Nice job Diana! I enjoyed this whole dance. But I more enjoyed the moments she danced to Henry's side than when she danced in the frame with him. They presented more a flair of freedom than when she was "in hold". If she stretched her top line while in hold and there showed more refinement she'll truly be rollin'!
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: Great to see this legend entertainer on the dance floor. This routine was great from top to bottom. Full of fun!
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: For me, this was the best contemporary dance of the night, full of skill and emotion. A performance well done by both of you. I can't wait to see what you two bring throughout the rest of the season!
Over-all it was an impressive "Dancing with the Stars" seasonal premiere! If the opening show is any indication, and it is, this will be a strong season featuring great dancing!
Good job to all the couples tonight!
- Chelsie Hightower