Time to dust off those dancing shoes, spit-shine your DIY mirror ball trophy (don’t judge my life), and breathe in that sweet, glitter-filled air (but, like, not too hard or you might choke, and we’re just getting started). Welcome back to the ballroom! Dancing With the Stars season 24 is upon us. Season 23 champion Laurie Hernandez was cute and all, but it’s time for her to make way for a new celebrity to claim the top spot in a nationally televised dancing competition. Also known as, the greatest honor any human can ever possibly achieve. Will it be another Olympian, perhaps? A reality TV star? A Charo? Only time will tell.
Normani Kordei and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Quickstep, “Good Time Good Life” by Erin Bowman
You guys, you know I love a good family story, and Normani here delivers immediately: She’s been watching Dancing With the Stars with her grandma since Normani was twelve years old. Grandma even had a little notebook to keep scores! It’s only a matter of time until Grandma is seated in the front row talking about how proud she is of her granddaughter. TEARS WILL FOLLOW. Normani has a tough job to get through on week one — she’s up first and dancing the quickstep. It’s a tall order, but Normani has a lot of energy, and you know performing won’t be her issue. Julianne thought she had great precision in her movement, but Len asks for more body contact and less messing about. Grumpy Len is here and he’s not sorry about it. Grumpy Len is my aesthetic.
Judges’ Score: 27/40
Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev
Viennese Waltz, “She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel
A recapper should perhaps remain unbiased, at least at the start of the season, but this is Nancy Freaking Kerrigan. She makes me cry as soon as she takes the dance floor. Welcome to season 24, folks. We’ll be talking about crying a lot. Nancy is excited to be competing again but stressed when Artem greets her at the skating rink shirtless, while riding on a Zamboni. Does Nancy not know what show she signed up for? Shirtless Zamboni riding is DWTS 101. Out on the dance floor, though, Nancy is a graceful goddess. Of course, the Viennese waltz is the perfect style of dance for her, but still — you can’t knock those arm extensions. Julianne and Carrie Ann both tell Nancy to work on her spotting during turns and to have a little more focus in her eyes (focus on the Artem, Nancy!), but all four judges agree it was a beautiful start to her season. Sigh. Like Nancy, I’m sad it’s already over.
Judges’ Score: 28/40
Chris Kattan and Witney Carson
Cha Cha, “What Is Love” by Haddaway
Chris Kattan, of Mango and Mr. Peepers fame (neither of which his partner, Witney, has ever heard of), has a bit of an uphill battle to fight here on DWTS. He broke his neck not too long ago, and it definitely puts some limits on his dancing. It does not, however, slow him down in the energy department. Chris is committed to dancing and really, what more can we ask? He kicks off his ballroom journey with an homage to his Night at the Roxbury character. He’s having fun! But the judges jump all over for him for… not being able to dance. He’s not the worst first week performer I’ve seen, but Len’s grumpiness is rubbing off on everyone else. It’s a little early in the season to be saying this, but bless you, Julianne Hough, for offering an actual critique rather than piling on. Sure, her critique boils down to, “Be you, but, like better,” but still.
Judges’ Score: 17/40