DWTS Week 1 Performance Recap: Smell the Trophy

All-star season is here at last. Pamela’s making duck faces at the camera, Shawn is pocket sized for Derek’s convenience, and Kirstie’s bird hands are ready to fly. Let them out of the cage!

Season 15 is serious business. We’re in the playoffs now, and the judges have a surprise for everyone: HALF-POINTS! Bruno’s so excited that he makes his Dr. Evil face. Brooke is probably less thrilled; this means she has to do harder math.

Welcome back, dysfunctional dance family. Now, in the words of our Emmy-winning host, LET THE INTENSITY COMMENCE.

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke (Cha Cha): 24.5/30

Season three champions, together again. Cheryl’s ready to WIN, which she hasn’t done since Emmitt abandoned her. As for Twinkle Toes, he is just so excited to show off for his wife. Emmitt’s hip action is smooth and loose, and you just know his wife is loving it. He rolls his body, stays light on his feet, and genuinely seems to be having a blast. The judges praise his marriage of charisma and technique, but nobody even bothers to congratulate Cheryl’s hair for catching a wedding bouquet.

Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd (Foxtrot): 24/30

Oh Gilles. You had me at

My TV is smoldering. Their rehearsal footage is a series of beautiful distractions: Peta sees Gilles and knows that she’s got this. Gilles sees Peta and cannot concentrate. Gilles sees himself in a mirror and cannot concentrate. Leap toward the mirror, Gilles.

I feel like there should be a special DWTS dispensation that allows this pair to alternate between paso doble and Argentine tango forever. He’s just too hot and spicy for anything else. That being said, their foxtrot is pure Old Hollywood glamor. Carrie Ann calls it “poetic.” Gilles is smooth and suave and already very well trained; even his fingers are extended properly. America will be powerless against his happy tears.

Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel (Cha Cha): 22.5/30

Don’t tell Sabrina that she’s a frontrunner, Louis. Don’t you know how voters’ minds work?! Even in her interview package, Sabrina looks like she’s trying too hard—like if she just says her name with enough pep, America can’t possibly forget her. The girl’s got talent, but she has to rein in her enthusiasm. Her feet slip a few times as she loses her center, which Carrie Ann attributes to overdancing. Len cautions her to lighten up and bring some more finesse to her moves. Still, Sabrina has a performer’s instincts, a wide smile, and a partner whose hair just really wants to be like Justin Bieber’s. She’ll cope.

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough (Foxtrot): 22/30

Retiree and divorcée Shawn Johnson is ready to show her (dance) ex what he’s missing, and new husband Derek is more than willing to help. Mark who? Did Mark ever let Shawn do an entire routine on her hands? No. Derek will! Not yet though. Save those shenanigans for freestyle week. Even though they’re still getting to know each other, Derek’s goofball antics and impish smirks already pair well with Shawn’s sweetness. Second marriage, second mirrorball?

Shawn’s knee forced her to retire from gymnastics right before the Olympics; this is her chance to compete again, and she’s ready to seize it. Derek gave her a light, fun routine to start the competition—they even did a little Parent Trap handshake at one point. With tongue.

Chelsie and Helio later did the same thing (no tongue) as they mugged for the camera. Copycats.

Bruno calls Shawn a performer, and Carrie Ann compliments her posture and technique. Len says it didn’t feel like a foxtrot but was well done, whatever it was.

Next page: The sexual tension gets syndicated!

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