'Dancing With The Stars' Season 14 Premiere: Dance By Dance Recap
Ballroom is back! And it's the Foxtrot versus the Cha Cha Cha on the season 14 premiere of "Dancing With The Stars." Six of this spring's competitors float around the dance floor performing the elegant foxtrot (Gavin DeGraw, Jaleel White, Jack Wagner, Katherine Jenkins, Sherri Shepherd, and Martina Navratilova). Six others shake their tail feathers to the sexy and fast moving Cha Cha Cha (Maria Menounos, Roshon Fegan, Donald Driver, Melissa Gilbert, Gladys Knight, and William Levy).
How did your favorite do on opening night? Here's a recap from highest to lowest score (Warning: Spoiler Alert):
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson - 26 out of 30
Anyone who thought they'd be watching Jaleel White's TV alter ego "Urkel" on the dance floor had to be pleasantly surprised by his maturity and grace with an ultra elegant foxtrot. Former champ Kym Johnson knows how to play to her celebrity's strengths and she says Jaleel is a natural talent.
Head judge Len Goodman loved the routine for its elegance and seamlessness, and Bruno Tonioli said he felt like he was watching the great Gregory Hines. Our judging panel gave Jaleel and Kym not just the highest score of the night, but the highest ever for a premiere. But wait!
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas - 26 out of 30
A TIE for the highest score ever on a premiere! Two-time "DWTS" champ Mark Ballas has turned this classical singer into a real dancer in just a few weeks. Katherine Jenkins is beautiful, graceful woman& and now is the time to Google her. Or just trust me; she's a top selling singer from Britain.
Her rehearsals looked rough, but Jenkins pulled it together; so much so, Carrie Ann Inaba said she felt like she was watching two professionals. Bruno called the quality of their foxtrot surreal for week one, and Len, well, he simply called the routine "crackin'!"
William Levy and Cheryl Burke - 24 out of 30
If you didn't know William Levy before "Dancing With The Stars," you're going to know him now. (You're googling again, right?) Talk about a good first impression! I've never heard such a big reaction from the audience during a first round of competition. (For the record, he's a Cuban born actor who's starred in several telenovelas). His busy work schedule meant William met Cheryl Burke a week later than the other competitors, but you'd never know it. His toughest moment: having to put on those mid-heeled dance shoes for the first time. William likened them to his grandmother's shoes!
You could hear the audience swoon when he wore those "Abuela" shoes on the dance floor for his super sexy Cha Cha Cha! Bruno called him the hottest package of the season, and Carrie Ann thanked ABC for her job!
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus - 23 out of 30
I want to be Gladys Knight when I grow up. This 67-year-old entertainer simply brought it to the dance floor. They gave this grandmother a Cha Cha for her first dance... and she and her partner Tristan McManus rocked it!
The audience was dazzled, the judges were amazed, and Gladys herself looked like she was having the time of her life. Bruno told her she had class and sass, Len said she oozed rhythm, and Carrie Ann said the routine made her want to get up and dance!
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya - 23 out of 30
The actor's got a lot of soap opera in his past (General Hospital, Melrose Place, The Bold and the Beautiful) and while his first rehearsals with Anna Trebunskaya seemed a little dramatic, he overcame his nerves and his doubts and did a fine foxtrot in the bluest jacket you'll ever see.
Carrie Ann Inaba said the routine took her to her "happy place," and Bruno Tonioli called it beautifully danced and acted.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower -23 out of 30
Roshon is very well known to the younger generation... he's a Disney channel kid who has quite a following. Unfortunately for him, his fans may be too young for the "DWTS" crowd. Maybe it's time to introduce him to Mom and Dad? Roshon is very focused, and says he will not be intimidated by his older competitors.
Partner Chelsie Hightower called him a "lost puppy dog" while rehearsing some of his dance moves, but he settled down during his performance and even gave us a little Michael Jackson moonwalk at the end of the dance.
Sherri Shepherd and Valentin Chmerkovskiy - 23 out of 30
We've known Sherri here at ABC since her days on the sitcom "Less Than Perfect" and from then, through her time now on "The View," she's always been a bundle of energy and a breath of fresh air. It's nice to see Sherri doesn't feel she has to squash that very big personality for this show. She did admit to being very worried about not finding her inner elegant child.
Val Chmerkovskiy is helping her in the "search for grace" department, and both Len and Bruno said their foxtrot showed everyone the joy that dance can bring. After the dance, Sherri said short of birthing her child, this was the hardest thing she's ever put her body through!
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd - 21 out of 30
The Green Bay Packer Super Bowl champ is an early crowd favorite. Huge cheers came from the audience from the very start of his Cha Cha with Peta Murgatroyd. This tough guy admits he's watched the show since the first season, and plans to steal a few moves from Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Derek Hough!
Carrie Ann said he has charisma and charm for days, and Len complimented his attitude and attack on the dance floor.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough - 21 out of 30
Leave it to her partner Derek Hough to say it best: the television host looks like Bambi on ice when she first starts dancing. Maria calls herself a tomboy. But this girl cleans up nicely; and despite a few visible signs of nerves, she performed a fine Cha Cha for week one.
Len said she coped very well for a first dance, and Bruno said she had good timing but needs to tap into her sexy side a little more.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy - 20 out of 30
Half-pint is paired with bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy but don't worry; she said she has four sons and two ex-husbands, so she can handle anything. (Except, like Maria, Melissa gets a little red in the face when asked to bring out her inner sexpot).
All three judges found the way she handled the difficulty of Maks' routine to be a strong point, and Carrie Ann said when it comes to that nervous energy that threatened to derail her a few times, she needs to learn to just let it go.
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani - 20 out of 30
This tennis superstar's honesty is so refreshing! Martina revealed she's a breast cancer survivor... so a little thing like dancing isn't going to scare her! She also said the one thing she is most worried about is wearing high heels, and the fact that she hasn't worn in dress in close to 20 years.
Tony Dovolani teaches her an elegant foxtrot. The judges applauded the beginning of her transformation into a dancer, and ask her to just keep working.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff - 20 out of 30
Does Gavin ever appear without his hat? I can't seem to get my focus off of that. Every rehearsal, every interview, and even the performance... the hat's on. But charming chapeau aside, DeGraw showed he has wit to match his singing talent and comes across as a very likeable guy.
His dancing... well, Karina Smirnoff has her work cut out for her. But it's week one! We'll give him a break. Both Bruno and Carrie Ann complimented his interpretation and told him to work on linking the steps together.
There's no elimination this week, dance fans! Next Monday, March 26th, all 12 couples return to dance again. And the first couple to be voted off will be revealed on March 27th.
Who do you think is going to win this season of "Dancing With The Stars" and who is going home first? Vote in our poll below.