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Dancing with the Stars season premiere recap: Return to Planet Mirrorballus

The Cha Cha, the waltz, the glitz, the faux nudity — yep, season 10 has the show’s best attributes intact

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Niecy Nash Stars
Craig Sjodin/ABC

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

”Liiiiiiiiiiiiive!” Welcome back, DANCMSTRs! Dancing With the Stars has returned, and against all of my wildest hopes and dreams for more of the exact same blistering insanity we’ve known and loved, it’s got a whole new look. There’s this weird new holding cell Tom Bergeron’s calling ”The Celebraquarium,” in which the entire cast stands uncomfortably to watch each performance. It’s very Idol. It’s very wrong. These women are in heels — give them back their luxurious Red Room sofas! I suppose the concept of a glass box hovering over the ballroom floor is theoretically funny in a ”Have you seen the new Sparkaliens display at the Air and Space Museum?” sort of way, but it’s not practical and should not be sustained. After all, everything on Dancing With the Stars needs to make perfect sense.

In the Interest of Reason, I also refuse to fully accept the ”cityscape” backdrop for the opening credits, dancer intros, and some of the confessionals. Loyal viewers know that the atmosphere of Planet Mirrorballus is a kaleidoscopic purple haze with accents of red, gold, crazy, and fabulous. The illusion that DWTS takes place near an earthly urban hub instead of in an alternate universe is inaccurate and dangerous. Put more simply: I fear change. Luckily, the new Will The Judges Please Reveal Their Scores background has tiny twinkling stars in it. I might survive.

Brooke Burke has replaced Samantha Harris as Tom’s awkward brunette co-host with really toned upper arms. She cannot correctly enunciate ”Tre-BUN-skaya!” (Tom needs to be the one to say it until she learns) and her nervousness made me cringe, but I bet she’ll get over the latter difficulty quickly. It’s too soon to be sure, but for now I want Brooke’s nickname to be B to the Fourth Power because every time she and her cleavage appeared on-screen I kept thinking ”Big-Breasted Brooke Burke.” B’s high-pitched voice will take some getting used to after eight seasons of Samantha’s booming throatiness. As of right now, I sort of miss Sam’s fumbling antics and general inappropriateness. We’ll see if that lasts, too. So much suspense already, and I haven’t even gotten to [scary bird sounds at the beginning of Shannen Doherty’s waltz]…THE JUDGES’ LEADERBOARD. Here we go:

NEXT: Nicole, Evan, Pamela: What’s new, Pussycat Doll?