The female stars take the stage with foxtrot and cha cha relays in night 2 of the 3-night premiere
Dancing Stars Macy Gray
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

‘Dancing With the Stars’ recap: Trot out the women

After the second installment of Dancing With the Stars‘ equal-parts-tragic-and-magic three-night season premiere, I can safely announce that the central battle of season 9 looks to take place between two wildly opposite, musically inclined showbiz families whose names amusingly both begin with ”Os.” What I can probably not so safely announce, and what would surely get bleeped out if this experience contained an audio element, is that now that I’ve seen all of the season 9 contestants dance, ”I feel like I really busted my cherry, you know?” That’s what Macy Gray said after her first time dancing at the famed Planet Mirrorballus stampede rodeo. We couldn’t hear it. And if my editor takes it out, you won’t be able to read it, and I won’t have much of an opening paragraph. That last part is arguably true either way. Without further ado,, in conjunction with 1980s Debi Mazar non-vehicle ‘Graffiti Rock’, proudly presents the top 8 ladies of season 9…

Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough: 24 out of possible 30; 1st in foxtrot relay (34) It takes a very special swimsuit model to convincingly dance in fringed pants in her very first routine — especially when those pants look like they should be on top of the cake at the wedding reception for Sesame Street‘s Big Bird and Snuffleupagus. (The yellow was all Bird, but the length of the fringe screamed Snuffy.) The majority of viewers who recognized Joanna likely know her as the girl who wigged out on her Superstars partner Terrell Owens this summer, but as of right now I don’t anticipate any dramatic blowouts between Joanna and the mop-topped dance pro. That is, until a routine massage takes an ”unexpected” turn and the two embark on a showmance for the ages. Or at least until the next time Joanna accidentally clocks Debi Mazar in the face after beating her in a foxtrot relay. Despite Joanna’s backstage hyperactivity (read: she’s kind of annoying!), at this point I’m as delighted with her on-stage confidence as the judges are. After eight seasons, I’m all too aware that female DWTS contestants who aren’t afraid to blatantly embody ”sex” right off the bat are few and far between.

Mya and Dmitry Chaplin: 21/30; 1st in cha cha relay (31) Mya and Dmitry’s Viennese Waltz had incredible lines, effortless footwork, Disney-princess costume qualities…and a ludicrous three-way judges’ hissy fit the likes of which I hadn’t expected to see until at least week 3. It’s almost as if DANCMSTR wanted to distract all of us early on from the fact that Mya almost looked like a pro. He went on and on, railing against Dmitry that he’d put together a ”theatrical hodge podge” instead of a proper Viennese waltz, even after openly acknowledging that technically the pros are free to incorporate the American Smooth style instead. ”The three bars you did in hold, I didn’t like,” complained DANCMSTR. Anyway, Mya and Dmitry make a hot pair, but the real star of this segment was Tom Bergeron, who made up for accidentally calling Mya ”Moya” in the pre-dance intro by asking DANCMSTR, ”Have you been to three bars tonight?” Tom’s Flash Forward plug was also inspired, and hopefully not by the teleprompter.

NEXT: Ozzie’s baby gets loose

Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel: 23/30; 2nd in cha cha relay (31) Wait, do all contestants get a dramatically candle-lit Viennese waltz, or just the rocker’s daughters who are ”in transition”? Whoa, is that Ozzy and Sharon in the front row? Oh my God, she’s running over to her daddy and he’s telling her she did great. Thanks a lot, ABC. Now I’m crying. Seriously, though, I can easily put aside the fact that her name automatically makes her a television producer’s wet dream and say that Kelly Osbourne looks to be an excellent DWTS contestant and perfectly suited to be partnered with Louis Van Intensity. I could barely believe her footwork in the cha cha relay — not so much that she was executing the steps but that she was doing so as if she weren’t even focusing too hard on them. Like, oh, hello, this is just how I happen to be traversing solid ground right now. No big deal! I hate sweating! Former wild child rock princess! LaToya Jackson appears to be rooting for Kelly, too, or at least that’s what the constant pans to her face would suggest. Established music families must stick together.

Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo: 19/30; 2nd in foxtrot relay (27) Uh oh. Alec might be challenging Maks for the coveted title of Annie’s Fave Male Pro if he keeps doing silly stuff like appearing on my TV more than once a week for two consecutive weeks and looking adorable in his partner’s official U.S. Olympic swim cap. This pair’s salsa seemed like a hot mess the first time I watched it, but after seeing Natalie’s serious ”There Will Be Blood” swimmer’s face and powerful movements actually work for her during the foxtrot relay, I was able to go back and decide that with a little improvement and better timing, she could be more convincing at the Latin dances as well. I’m not sure this Olympian has a built-in fan base along the lines of Shawn’s, Kristi’s, or Apolo’s, but Natalie is gorgeous and modest (I loved the simple hairstyles and crystal stud earrings) and generally seems very likable. In other words, she’s the female version of her partner. We’ll see if they inspire people to vote for them over some of the flashier couples. You know, like…

Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas: 18/30; 3rd in cha cha relay (24) First of all, thanks to the DWTS production team’s esteemed Department of Subtlety for that shot of Mark’s two giant mirrorball trophies perched directly in front of his crotch. I also loved his confession that he ”had to be home every day to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Of course, Mark had to be home — wasn’t he, like 1 year old? Maybe Corky’s the one who had to be home for Sabrina. Anyway, Clarissa, I mean Melissa was so nervous that it was a bit difficult to watch the pair’s solo Viennese waltz, though in the faraway aerial shot, they did appear to be making ample use of the floor and gliding smoothly, so that’s good. This also gave us the chance to admire the ”splatter paint” lighting effect (perhaps a nod to the ’90s?) on the ballroom floor, which seems to be one of the rarer motifs. Maybe instead of obsessing over the show’s costumes this season, I’ll target set design instead. I’ve given you fair warning. What? Are you gonna go read another recap? Good luck finding one that offers…

NEXT: Macy Gray, um, gets into it

Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 16/30; 3rd in foxtrot relay (22)a picture of Maks grabbing Tom’s ass that I took with my iPhone. Believe me, you’d be hard up to find such devotion to image quality and reverence for ballroom dancing on other sites. Oh, and I also liked when Maks stuffed Debi’s fallen red feather into Tom’s suit pocket. That’s just what he needed. Debi and Maks weren’t the judges’ favorites — Bruno said she was off the beat in the salsa, and Carrie Ann said she was ”muscling him” (?!) in their leg of the foxtrot relay — but I think this pair could turn out be a fan favorite. I can’t be the only one who would willingly watch an hour of just their rehearsal footage if Debi’s ”zero attention span” keeps leading her to make astute observations like ”My monkey arms are too long or something” and ”You have those kind of legs like Old Barbie.” I would especially watch this if Debi keeps wearing fashion hats à la Jane, her character from the 1995 cinematic masterpiece Empire Records. I nearly passed out from the startling combination of witty banter, Maks, and nostalgia.

Kathy Ireland and Tony Dovolani: 16/30; 4th in foxtrot relay (20) I’m pretty sure model and entrepreneur Kathy Ireland thinks that Dancing With the Stars is a late-night diet pills infomercial…that she’s hosting. How else to explain her pageant-like sound bites, such as the ludicrous one-sentence story about how she was once kicked out of an aerobics class? No! That did not happen! The best comment Kathy and Tony received after their low-energy salsa was that Kathy had ”great posture,” which could have just been a nice way of saying ”You’re tall.” After the foxtrot relay, Carrie Ann summed up Kathy’s problem the best: ”Your footwork’s a little small for your height.” I will attempt to sum up Kathy’s problem a bit better and say that out of all the female contestants, her spray tan in particular was 1-800-NOT-RIGHT. As Kathy reminded us, ”All things are possible with God” — including an early departure from the season.

Macy Gray and Jonathan Roberts: 15/30; 4th in cha cha relay (19) Macy Gray has always seemed a little off (Jonathan politely called her ”eccentric”), but I thought maybe I kept catching her at the wrong, shall we say ”enhanced,” times. But no, she’s just always like this. It’s like she was conceived and then developed within the comforting chamber of a magical womb bong, and has somehow managed to make that one massive hit last a lifetime. She could turn out to be my favorite contestant ever. Macy’s mouth is always at least slightly open, so during the pair’s Viennese waltz, when you factor in general excitement and the tendency for non-athletes to be out of breath, the entire dance basically played out as one big lazy LOL. It was especially awesome considering that the last line of Macy’s rehearsal package was her saying, ”I can’t wait to show America how hard I’ve been working on the Viennese waltz.” I’d love to see her stick around. Cherries Jubilee is the best.

Who’s going home tonight, DANCMSTRs? Did anyone else love Sam’s pinned-up flapper hair? And how many bars should I hit tonight after surviving part 3 of a freaking season premiere?

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