For the love of jive, look what’s back on ABC!
For a minute, it didn’t look as if the mirror ball would return home on time. The ongoing strike and the preponderance of picketers had the network flirting with the possibility of postponing tonight’s season 32 premiere of Dancing with the Stars. But a deal was finally hammered out on Sunday and earlier this evening, the WGA declared the strike would officially end at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. What better way to celebrate than watching a bunch of celebs break out in dance?
But before the competition can begin, the cast paid tribute to the late Len Goodman — who now has a Mirror Ball trophy named after him! Goodman, DWTS‘ former head judge, died in April at 78.
Take it away, Alfonso Ribeiro!
Actor Matt Walsh (Veep) with partner Koko Iwasaki. Walsh didn’t have the warmest welcome when he started practicing for premiere night; picketers targeted him specifically because he’s a member of both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA. That prompted him to put out a statement saying he was pausing his participation in the ballroom. Thank goodness a WGA deal was made so we wouldn’t be deprived of all his Walsh-ness! Exhibit A: his claim that he has a “dancers frame.” Exhibit B: he’s “America’s Sweetheart.” “You are adorable,” said Inaba. “You definitely played to your strength …there’s a lot of work.” “I think the face-ography was unbelievable,” added Hough. Score: 12 out of 30
Supermodel Tyson Beckford with partner Jenna Johnson. Beckford has been working hard on his core and legs, so he thinks he’s ready to Cha Cha. He did once give folks a “whiff of his chocolate” at Chippendales, after all. But no stripping on opening night! A James Brown split will have to do, instead. “Oh hello hello hello! He’s so cool, so laid back. You are teasing me aren’t you?” said judge Bruno Tonioli. “We need more of that! I have to be honest, cha cha cha, there is no heel leads. And you lost timing, at times. You’ve got good moves, but you really have to focus on the timing.” Score: 12 out of 30
Reality TV star Harry Jowsey (Too Hot to Handle) with partner Rylee Arnold. He’s followed by millions on social media, says host Alfonso Ribeiro. But can the 6-foot-5 dude Cha Cha? His partner Rylee — a first-time pro on DWTS who is also Lindsay Arnold’s little sis — appears to have her work cut out for her. And ripping off his shirt will only go so far (no matter how happy it makes him). “Harry, I’m not going to lie. It was a little scary. Even if it feels wrong, commit to it being wrong,” said Hough. It feels a little bit timid. It needs some work.” Score: 12 out of 30
Actress Alyson Hannigan (American Pie) with partner Sasha Farber. She may have been acting for, like, ever but her dancing experience is “not great.” There was that time she took ballet as a toddler, but her teacher “traumatized her” so she’s on DWTS to repair her childhood trauma. If only TV’s best dance show had that kind of power, honey. Now, about that salsa….”Life is a constant journey of healing. I’m so proud of you. You just dance the salsa on live TV! That is a win,” said judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “I loved the attitude!” added Tonioli. Score: 13 out of 30
Actress Jamie Lynn Spears with partner Alan Bersten. The Zoey 101 star doesn’t have the same level of charisma as her older sis Britney, so she has to work on looking a little less stiff when she performs the tango. “You’re beautiful. When you smile, you let up the room. when you smiled it was a new chapter in the dance,” said Inaba. Score: 15 out of 30
Real estate mogul Mauricio Umansky with partner Emma Slater. The Buying Beverly Hills star may look familiar; he’s the husband of Kyle Richards who always pops up on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. He more than makes up for his “lack of finesse” with lots of energy and charm. “You reminded me of my dad dancing at my wedding. My dad was ripping it! He was awesome,” said Hough. “That was a great first dance!” Score: 15 out of 30
Actor Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) with partner Peta Murgatroyd. The guy better known as Greg Brady says he’s been performing his whole life, and now plans to “come after” his buddy/season 9 mirror ball winner Donny Osmond. Will Williams become the oldest winner of DWTS? Keep up those performances to old Brady Bunch tunes like the one you did tonight to “Sunshine Day,” buddy, and you’ve got a fighting chance. “I’m kind of in shock, my man. That was so effortless and so easy to watch! You reminded me I have to loosen up my hips,” said judge Derek Hough. “That was so fun to watch … my man, that warmed my heart.” Score: 16 out of 30
Actress Mira Sorvino with partner Gleb Savchenko. The Oscar winner has wanted to be “more of a dancer” during her career after spending eight years studying ballet. Apparently, her teachers thought she was too tall to make a go of it. To which we say: pshaw! You got the gams, girl: you have the Cha Cha, too. “All I could have think of, Len would have loved that. It was so classic and so well performed,” said Inaba. Score: 17 out of 30
Actress Xochitl Gomez (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. While introducing herself to her new dance partner, Gomez briefly spaced on her age. (She’s 17). Get it together, girl! You’re about to open the show with a first-out-of-the-gate cha cha “to show off my personality.” Season 31 Joseph Baena was impressed; he gave her a standing O. “So fun! You are like a wild stallion out there, you have so much energy,” said Inaba. Score: 18 out of 30
NFL All-Star Adrian Peterson with partner Britt Stewart. This season’s obligatory baller plans to push just as hard to win the mirror ball as he did that MVP award. His premiere night salsa was an excellent start. “That opening lift, it kind of took me off guard. Definitely playing to your strengths,” said Hough. “Hey man, great first dance.” Score: 18 out of 30
Social media star/Latin music artist Lele Pons with partner Brandon Armstrong. The Venezuelan music artist is living the dream; her grandma is a big fan! But way to make it hard for her, DWTS, by forcing her to tango to … The Police’s “Roxanne?” “She was on fire. I feel very very hot!” said Tonioli. “I loved the way you attacked it.” Score: 19 out of 30
Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz with partner Daniella Karagach. He’s made eight studio albums, won two Grammys, sold out stadiums, and can even rollerskate! But dancing is another story; he’s hidden behind the guitar all these years because he thought he couldn’t hack it in musical theatre. “I’m that kid still, nervous that I’m going to look ridiculous,” he said before going on stage. Bro? You didn’t. “What is going on here? Why do you keep this secret from us? He’s a dancer, come on!” said Tonioli. “You came out here, you owned it. I can’t wait to see that on tour,” added Inaba. Score: 21 out of 30
Ariana Madix (Vanderpump Rules) with partner Pasha Pashkov. The reality star whose personal life made national news is getting the last laugh. First, she books a role as a cop on a Lifetime, ripped-from-the-headlines movie. Next, she’s paired up with the best teacher on DTWS. It’s obvious why she performed last on premiere night: the gal’s got skills, man. “That was fantastic, especially for a first dance,” said Hough. “The power, you moved across the floor so strongly, the attack … that was killer.” Score: 21 out of 30
Charity Lawson (The Bachelorette) with partner Artem Chigvintsev. The tradition continues: another contestant from ABC’s other long-running unscripted franchise is competing for the mirror ball trophy. Lawson, no surprise, can move: she was a cheerleader. She looks good in sequins and boas, too. Guess who’s already looking like a finalist? “Sweet Charity. That was a tango stunner,” said Tonioli. “The execution for week one was superb. A stellar performance.” Score: 22 out of 30
Bottom two couples were Walsh and Iwasak and Umansky with Slater. And…poor Walsh was sent home. Dang!
“I had a wonderful time and it was a wonderful experience and I would ask the judges to rewatch that routine sometime,” Walsh said before the show wrapped.
Next week is Latin night!