What a long, cold, sparkle-less four months it’s been since Bindi Irwin, human equivalent of sunshine, claimed the coveted Mirrorball Trophy. Thankfully, the time has come for us all to dust off that sequin-covered body suit sitting in the back of the closet (or the front, you do you) and get our ballroom on.
Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars has finally arrived and with it, the triumphant return of my future adoptive grandfather, Head Judge Len Goodman. But wait, there’s more: Edyta and her legs are back! Sasha’s been released from Crab Duty to become a Pro Partner again! Geraldo Rivera is… here. So many things!
In fact, the Mandy Moore-choreographed opening dance number in the street’s of Los Angeles gets me so excited for what is to come, that I’m already tearing up. Get ready, people. Your new DWTS recapper is a crier. Thankfully, season 22 kicks off with so many energetic dances that exceed most expectations, there was no time to cry. We’ll save that for “Most Memorable Year” week.
Enough chitchat, let’s see what the new crop of contenders has to offer.
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber
Cha Cha | “Sax” by Fleur East
My knowledge of Kim Fields is more Facts of Life than it is Real Housewives of Atlanta, but from what I can see, she seems to be a delight. The pairing of Kim and Sasha is spot on, and the two click right away. There’s lots of talk about Kim’s “treasure” and what her thighs are saying as they rub past one another, so these two being comfortable together isn’t going to be an issue. The chemistry is alive and real on the dance floor, too. Kim comes out all smiles and sass, and the judges applaud her confidence and ferocity, but want her to work on her foot placement and hip action. Her reaction after scoring a 20 is enough to want to see her make it past next week.
Judges’ Score: 20/30
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas
Fox Trot |“Ain’t Got Far To Go” by Jess Glynne
Paige VanZant is a mere 21 years old and a UFC fighter. She also says things like “beast mode” and there are multiple photos of her covered in blood. All of these things are frightening. On the dance floor, however, Paige is graceful and lovely. Who knew? Not the judges, that’s for sure. Len, Bruno, and Carrie Ann are all blown away by her lady-like spins and elegant lines. She’s a natural, and no one, including Paige, was expecting that. Once she begins to feel a little more at ease in the ballroom, there may be no stopping her.
Judges’ Score: 21/30
Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff
Fox Trot |“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
You may know Doug Flutie as the Heisman Trophy winner, or as one of the NFL’s legendary quarterbacks. I know him from Flutie Flakes. Remember those?! Not surprisingly, as an athlete, Doug is extra hard on himself in rehearsals. He’s used to being the underdog, but he really wants to get this right for his wife and daughter. Doug’s not great. The judges commend his commitment to the dance and were happy to see him work through his stumbles. When Bruno tells Doug that he was fun but that he needs to work on his frame, timing, musicality, and partnering, Karina brilliantly quips, “pretty much everything.” Oh, Karina, you were missed.
Judges’ Score: 15/30
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