Dancing with the Stars Season 17 Premiere (Review)

Tonight, Dancing with the Stars is back on ABC for a new season, with all-new celebrity judges. The episode began with, who would have guessed it, a dancing number involving all of the contestants. It was pretty well-choreographed production number, and actually it looked pretty cool.

Brant Dougherty from Pretty Little Liars was the first celebrity contestant who we got to see, along with his professional dance partner, who asked if Brad was single. He said he was, and she said that she was, also. Peta Murgatroyd is his partner. They danced the cha-cha to Robin Thicke’s song, “Blurred Lines.” They kicked some ass, and will be difficult to beat, if this first dance is any indication.

The three judges all liked how Brant and Peta did. Carrie Ann said “You have a lot of potential.” Carrie Ann gave them a 7; Len, a 7; Bruno a 7, for a grand total of 21.

Then, there was the first commercial break. Snooki from Jersey Shore said she would prefer to be called Nicole, her actual first name, for the season.

Next up was Leah Remini and her dance partner, Tony Dovolin. He called her “a force of nature.” He also said she “was picking up stuff” pretty well, actually. They danced the fox trot. They also did a fantastic job!

Bruno said Leah went a “little bit Miley Cyrus” on them. Len said it was “clean and precise,” and added “you’ve done a terrific job tonight.”

The scores for Leah and Tony were as follows — Carrie Ann, 7; Len, 7; and Bruno, a 7, making another score of 21.

After Leah and Tony, the contestants were Corbin Bleu from Disney’s High School Musical flick, and his partner for the season, Karina Smirnoff . She said that she believes that the judges will expect a lot more from them, as Corbin has had some experience dancing before.

Their dance was a Contemporary one. They were all over the stage, with some very cool dance moves. They got a standing ovation from the audience. It was Karina’s first Contemporary dance ever; they rocked it!

Carrie Ann said it was “Emotion, emotion!” Len said “It was full-on!” Bruno called the dance “Strong, powerful, and eclectic!”

Carrie Ann gave them an 8, as did Len and Bruno, for a total of 24, making them the current leaders.

Jack Osbourne and his partner, Cheryl Burke,were next. He said that because of his MS, he’d gone temporarily blind in one eye, and his legs had been wobbly. His partner said that she was “very impressed.”
Jack and Cheryl Burke danced the fox trot. I really liked the performance — and, Ozzy and Sharon, his parents, were in the audience, cheering him on!

Len said : “Jack, I’m telling you you can dance!” Bruno said “You did it incredibly well, but watch your turns, you go off-balance.” Carrie Ann said that she was sure Sharon is “proud” of her son right now.

Carrie Ann gave him an 8; Len, an 8; and Bruno, a 7 giving them a 23 total.

Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones from Glee) and her dance partner, Derek Hough were after Jack and Cheryl.They danced the cha-cha, and Amber showed she’s got the moves. The song was “These Wings are Made to Fly,” I think.


Bruno said of their dance “You are the tigress of season 17!” Carrie Ann bowed down, and said “I love you! I love You!” Len said he “needed a medic.”

Carrie Ann gave them a 9, Len did also, and so did Bruno, for a total of 28! The took the lead! Straight nines on the first show might be a first.

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and her partner, Val (Valentin Chmerkovsky), danced a Contemporary dance to John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” They did extremely awesome; I love that song!

Carrie Ann said “You were like a gorgeous, passionate angel.” Len said “It was just lovely to watch.” Bruno said “She means business!” and called it “a beautiful piece of choreography.”

Carrie Ann gave them an 8, as did Len and Bruno, for a total of 24. Val told Elizabeth that he learned English from the show she was on, Saved By the Bell, but that he had a crush on someone else on the show.

Bill Nye the Science Guy and his dance partner, Tyne Stecklein, were next — they were going to do the cha-cha. He said he actually knew how to do Swing dancing, but he’d never danced the cha-cha.  “Bill has a few things we need to work on dance-wise,” Tyne said. “Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then,”  Bill said.

He did some geek-inspired moves, but he actually was much, much better that I had thought that he would be. At the end of the dance, they both drank some colored liquid from lab equipment. The crowd chanted: “Bill! Bill! Bill!”

They may have won the crowd over, but apparently, not the three judges. Len didn’t like their performance, though he said “Well done for getting out there!” Bruno also didn’t like it very much, but Carrie Ann said “You are the heart of the show!”

She seemed to like the dance (maybe she was humoring him — who knows?), though she only gave them a 5, Len gave them a 4, and Bruno gave them a 5, for a meager total of 14.

Bill Nye gave people in the crowd high-five’s as the show came back from the break.

Keyshawn Johnson and his partner Sharna Burgess,. He said that if he to describe ballroom dancing, he’d say “It’s a little bit feminine for me.” They danced the cha-cha, and Sharna definitely had the moves down, though Keyshawn didn’t seem to be near as mobile, maybe because he’s a pretty tall guy.

Bruno said that “The bigger you are, the harder it is to do the fast dances like the Cha-cha.” Carrie Ann said that he was a bit stiff at the start, but then he did better. Len said “You came out, and gave it some. Well done!”

Carrie Ann gave them a 6; Len, a 5; and Bruno a 6, for a total of 17.

Christina  Milian and her dance partner, Mark Ballas, did a Contemporary dance. There was fog on the stage. They performed well together, IMHO — I thought it was a very nice performance. J Lo was in the audience, and seemed to like it, too.

Carrie Ann said “Open up more! Open it up and live!” Len said said “Be proud, open up, and live!” Bruno said on the whole he “liked it very much.”

Carrie Ann gave them a 7; Len a 7, and Bruno an 8, for a total of 22.

Bill Nye and his partner are leading, so far, in call-in votes. They need the votes, after the low scores that the judges gave them, if they’re going to remain in the competition for much longer.

Comedian Bill Engvall and one of the new professional dancers, Emma Slater, were up next. Bill Engvall is a funny guy, but will he make it very far on Dancing with the Satrs? He says he’d love to be “the Red Necks’ Dancing King.”

He and Emma danced the cha-cha, to the song “Hot Stuff.” They did pretty good, considering…but, Bill, like Keyshawn, wasn’t the most nimble guy around.

Len said “You came out and you did it; well done!” Bruno said he sensed a hint of sophistication and elegance, but very well hidden.” Carrie Ann said they needed to be more smooth, but she was “pleasantly surprised.”

Carrie Ann gave them a six — the other two judges also did, for a total of 18.

Valerie Harper and Tristan McManus  followed Bill and Emma. Valerie talked about her brain cancer, and about how happy she was that Tristan was his partner. He has an Irish accent that Valerie seems to really like, and  — my teen daughter likes it, too!

Valerie wore a flowing blue gown, and they danced the fox trot. Valerie has some smooth moves, for someone half her age of 73! I think they will likely be crowd favorites, both in the studio audience and for viewers at home.

Bruno said “How can you criticize a national treasure?” He said “My golly, I’m so happy you’re here!”

Carrie Ann said thanks to both of them for being there, and “you brought me to tears with your courage.” Len said beautifully done, well done.”

The judges gave them straight 7s, for a total of 21.

The final contestants will be Nicole (Snooki) and her dance partner, Sasha Farber. “I’m very excited to show people that I’m not the hot mess that I used to be now that I’m a mom.” They danced the fox trot, to the song “Wild One.”

Nicole did a great job, really — it was a good dance to close the show. Len told her she was like a “little pocket rocket,” and that he “loved their footwork.” Bruno said “I like a wild child,” and added “you have to keep stretching the back of your legs.”

Carrie Ann gave them an 8; Len, a big 9; and Bruno, a 7, making a 23 out of 30.

This was a great premiere to the season, and the celebrity contestants might be the best yet. I am looking forward to seeing them perform next week, and to seeing who gets eliminated first! It could very well be Bill Nye and his dance partner, but they are getting a lot of call-in votes, so that might keep him in the competition for a couple more weeks, who knows?

What did you think of the premiere episode? Please leave your Comments below!


Written by: Douglas Cobb