Season 15 of "Dancing with the Stars" was officially kicked off on Monday, September 24. In this first performance show, the thirteen pairs would dance either a cha-cha or a foxtrot and fans would see the judges using for the first time the newly-introduced half point system.
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson were the first to take the stage, dancing the cha-cha. Len Goodman pointed out that the singer's "posture was a bit dogy," but "overall, spectacular start!" Carrie Ann Inaba agreed, "That is the way to start off the all star season." He got 20.5 out of 30 with Len giving the first half point (6.5).
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough came up next to dance the foxtrot. Carrie Ann had nothing but praises for the performance, "The posture, great footwork, I loved it." Bruno Tonioli said that "stylistically it has to be a little more defined," while Len commented, "It did not feel like a foxtrot." The retired gymnast earned 22.
Dancing the cha-cha, Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel apparently did it better than Joey and Kym as they got 22.5 from the judges. "So far it was my favorite dance," Len commented at the time. Carrie Ann advised her "to be careful sometime you over dance," and Bruno said, "You went for so much some time the dance could have been cleaner."
Len said Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower's foxtrot "was a joy to watch," although the auto racing driver made a few mistakes. Carrie Ann gushed, "Your charisma and charm are so great. I would like to see more body work that will help with your lead in." The judges gave him 21.
Pamela Anderson, meanwhile, had to work harder, so Bruno said when commenting on her cha-cha with Tristan McManus. Carrie Ann chimed in, "You have a booming body, and we want to see you get the right technique." The actress got 17, which was the lowest score of the night.
Dancing the foxtrot with Tony Dovolani, Melissa Rycroft returned "stronger and sexier," according to Bruno. Carrie Ann said she had "the most exquisite lines... But you have to have more body contact," while Len "liked it." The reality TV star earned 21.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff's cha-cha was deemed a "bronze medal" performance by Len. The judge claimed, "It need a little more hip performance. But you came out and sold it." In contrary, Carrie Ann called his hip action sexy, and Bruno gushed, "You completed the task." The speedskater earned 22.
The judges later agreed that Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd did a good job with their foxtrot and gave the couple 24 points. "I loved the mix of steps. It had great balance to the routine. You add sophistication to the routine, that you always want to see in the foxtrot," Len commented. Carrie Ann added, "I missed you, that was gorgeous."
After Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas danced the cha-cha, Len and Carrie Ann said the daughter of Sarah Palin showed a great improvement. Bruno said, "You have all the elements," but added that she needed more power and focus. The TV personality got 19.
Drew Lachey danced the foxtrot with Anna Trebunskaya, and the judges thought he needed to be more relaxed. "I like it but it was all a bit hard and hectic. You are a nice dancer," Len said, before advising him, "Just relax more and soften up the arms." The 98 Degrees member earned 21.5.
Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy performed a sexy cha-cha. "You never did this dance before and you were a stunner! Well done," Bruno commented. Carrie Ann added, "Apolo is not the only one that got a whole lot sexier. You to have so much chemistry." The judges gave the actress 21.5.
Kirstie Alley, meanwhile, didn't show a superb quality of movement that Len wanted to see in her foxtrot with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Bruno and Carrie Ann agreed with the former saying, "I loved the look and the drama. I appreciated that but you have to get the technical part too." She got 19 points from the judges.
"The best for last" was the exact way to call Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke's performance. Len called their cha-cha "great," while Bruno said, "That was the essence of the Cha Cha Cha. Fantastic!" The former NFL player got 24.5, leading the scoreboard with only 0.5 gap with Gilles.
When "DWTS" returns on Tuesday, one pair will be sent home.
Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel's cha-cha:
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff's cha-cha:
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd's foxtrot:
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke's cha-cha: