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Dancing with the Stars season premiere recap: Back to the Ballroom

The season 12 premiere kicks off with some surprisingly lively foxtrots and cha chas

Posted on

Dancing Petra Nemcova

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

Welcome back, DANCMSTRs, to a twelfth season of Planet Mirrorballus hysteria…and EW.com recaps! I like to call myself the Fringe Fairy, but in last night’s season 12 premiere, Kirstie Alley has gone ahead and better encapsulated my entire existence. There’s no need to beat around the bush anymore, especially now that Maks has been freshly waxed. I’ll just say it. Much like “America’s most outrageous actress,” I, too, am a Dancing With the Stars ho.

Season 12! I think we were all a little worried about the possibly lackluster cast, but last night’s premiere featured the same six crucial ingredients as any other season: sparkles, heels, flashy moves, disaster, Tom, boobs. We needn’t have worried. One of the greatest things about Dancing With the Stars is that it never, ever changes. (Sure, Kym has bangs now, Lacey needs to take a long, hard look at the *root* of her issues, and Brooke thinks she’s Lady Gaga, but these are minor tweaks.) They could put practically anyone on this show and we’d all tune in to see Our Pros do their little dances.

So no worries. You were excited. I was excited. This thrift store in Chicago was pumped. And now that the premiere’s over, I can finally judge the 11 contestants on more than merely the pose, facial expressions, and fringe benefits evident in their promo photos. (Click here for my preliminary rankings based on visual effects only!) Here’s how they ranked after Week 1.

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inaba!

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: 24 out of possible 30 Behold our former Karate Kid, who claims to be 49 but looks like he’s in junior high. Ralph and “Ms. Miyagi”‘s foxtrot was magical through and through, from the big “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” movie sign (will everyone get the chance to have his/her name in bold letters?) to Ralph’s stunning double pirouette to his actual high kick. Bruno tried mightily to imitate that kick while seated, and while this was a triumph in itself, Ralph’s standing version was quite incredible. The showmanship on this guy! I didn’t expect this at all. I expected a creaky, sort of washed-up actor who’d always look a little bummed out that he ended up on Dancing With the Stars. Quite the opposite. (Plus, that’s a horrible way for a DWTS Ho to think. I’m ashamed, don’t worry.) Anyway, the judges loved Ralph, and Bruno hilariously pointed out his “creepy hand.” I’m loving Ralph so far. Are we just gonna call him “Ralph”? That seems weird, but that’s his name. Ralph strikes me as very lovable in a “young Donny Osmond” kind of way. Ralph claims to be just one year younger than Donny was when he won, but we all know that Ralph is lying.

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 23/30 That jungle of giant dangling sequins behind Kirstie and Maks during their cha cha cha was like the ultimate bedroom wall in my loftiest and sexiest ballroom fantasies. Ewww, Annie. The pair was fantastic here, and I think pretty much everyone was shocked. She’s 60! She can move! Until the music started, it really did not seem like either was possible. Now, just the former. Clearly Kirstie, everyone’s favorite actor from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, has met her match in Maks. If she’s willing to train hard and reach beyond her initial goals of “push myself physically and still live” and “stay upright,” they could go far together. If she keeps unleashing lines like “If someone told me to haul ass, it’d take two trips,” then I am willing to put up with (fine, relish) her eventual emotional breakdowns. Sparks will fly! Until then, though, Maks already seems looser and sillier than he did last season with supportive liiiiive audience member Brandy. He’s also evolved into such a profound source of hotness that it’s like he’s willing the camera to move, via the sheer fizzy-lifting power of his bubbly ass.

Kelly Preston in the audience! Friendship! Scientology!

NEXT: Chelsea, Hines, Chris, and Romeo (pretty much a group of strangers if not for Our Pros)