Last night, the "Dancing With the Stars" season premiered to an impressive all-star cast and a post-Emmy Award hangover.
Throughout the evening, there were several references to Sunday's Emmy Awards ceremony. First, co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet congratulated Tom Bergeron on his win for Outstanding Reality Host. Later, when Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd performed their foxtrot, Carrie Ann Inaba commented, "Jon Hamm didn't win last night because Gilles Marini had to come out and win it tonight!"
Meanwhile, Kirstie Alley may have been a little rusty during their foxtrot, but she managed to seal the performance with a kiss (on Tom's lips). We wonder how Mrs. Bergeron is going to take it!
In any case, Kirstie and Maks earned a score of 19. And we were treated not only to an Emmy Award-winning smooch, but also some "boob sweat" action with Maks.
Leaders of the Pack
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke performed a fluid and sparkly cha cha that Len Goodman described as the best dance of the night. And given that Emmitt performed last, he's a shoo-in for next week. He and Cheryl earned a combined score of 24.5.
Gilles and Peta brought a little old-school glamour to the dance floor with a foxtrot that earned them a score of 24. While Emmitt edged him out for the lead, Gilles' performance seemed more graceful and smooth. The only thing that can stop Gilles from winning this season is the fact that ABC Family scheduled his show, "Switched At Birth" to air Mondays at 8pm, against "DWTS."
I felt that Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani were underscored for the foxtrot that Len described as "a bit too theatrical." I had the feeling that if Derek Hough had choreographed that routine, the judges would have rewarded them with 8s instead of 7s. Of the women in the competition, Melissa is the best technical dancer in terms of her extensions and lines.
Bristol Palin surprised both the judges and audiences with her technical and stylistic improvements. Bristol the Pistol is slimmer, more confident, and more graceful than ever. Maybe motherhood has toughened her up? In any case, Bristol and Mark Ballas were underscored for their cha cha, earning a combined score of 19.
Carrie Ann thought that Apolo Anton Ohno was better and sexier than ever, but to me, he seemed pretty rusty. He looked heavier and a little more wooden than he was five years ago. Apolo and Karina Smirnoff performed a cha cha that earned a combined score of 22. Yet the performance was a little too disjointed, plodding, and neon for me.
Kelly Monaco and Val(entin) Chmerkovskiy performed a cha cha that sizzled with sexual chemistry, earning a combined score of 21.5. While the performance started off very strong, it became a little repetitive towards the end, making me wonder if they were a tad overscored.
Other Possible Front-Runners
Sabrina Bryan is feeling the pressure of having been voted in by America. Eager to prove her status as an all-star, Sabrina and Louis van Amstel performed a sharp and clean cha cha that Len described as "overdancing," earning a score of 22.5. Still, if she could tone it down a bit instead of trying to force it, she will be a shoo-in for the finals.
Gold medalist and season 8 winner Shawn Johnson could make another deep run in this competition. The only factor that could hurt her is that she and Sabrina appeal to similar demographics. I could see Sabrina or Shawn making the finals, but not both. Sabrina and Derek performed an animated foxtrot that earned them a score of 22.
Jury's Still Out
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower performed a foxtrot that earned him a score of 21.5. I never really understood the appeal of Helio. He does seem to have a unique quirky quality that endears him to the public. Still, I would have preferred William Levy.
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya performed a foxtrot that Len described as "a bit too hard and hectic for me." Carrie Ann commented on his stiff shoulders and told him to be "firm but not rigid." (Careful, this is a family show!) They earned a score of 21.5. Not sure why Helio and Drew were scored higher than Melissa. Where's the love for Tony?
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson turned in a strong energetic cha cha that earned a score of 20.5. As Bruno comments, "I like a man that gives it large!" (Family show!)
Pamela Anderson and Tristan McManus are easy candidates for elimination. It's kind of shame, given how many years years Tristan had to endure bullying for being a male dancer. Pamela's cha cha was stiff and plodding, earning an underwhelming score of 17.
Based on her performance, Pam deserves to go home. However, Tristan's fan base has been known to sustain a weak partner. Nancy Grace, anyone?
More From This Contributor:
Note:This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network here to start publishing your own articles.