DwtS 7, Week 1: First Performances

She didn’t earn the highest scores, but Cloris Leachman stole the spotlight on the premiere of Dancing with the Stars 7.

Cody Linley & Julianne Hough — Cha Cha Cha
In footage of their rehearsals, Cody said that he occasionally gets distracted by Julianne’s "hotness." But he kept his head in the game and kicked off the show in fine fashion with a competent Cha Cha Cha.

Head Judge Len Goodman said that Cody looked "full of confidence," but cautioned him against "wildness." Bruno Tonioli told Cody to focus on his feet. Carrie Ann Inaba said the pair has "incredible potential."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 18/30

Rocco DiSpirito & Karina Smirnoff — Fox Trot
Karina sprained her ankle this morning during rehearsal, but she danced anyway. Rocco repeatedly said in their rehearsal footage that he was out of his comfort zone, and it looked that way on the dance floor.

Bruno called it a "Fox Trot on the brink of chaos," but Carrie Ann said the performance was "cute." Len said, "You dance like I cook: just chuck it all in and hope for the best."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…5, Len…4, Bruno…5 = 14/30

Toni Braxton & Alec Mazo — Cha Cha Cha
Perhaps due to Toni’s heart condition, they danced a slow Cha Cha that was good, but unrefined.

"That was fantastic,"cheered Carrie Ann. Len told Toni to straighten her legs for more natural hip action. Bruno called Toni "slinky, sultry, sexy."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…8 = 22/30

Maurice Greene & Cheryl Burke — Fox Trot
In hold, Maurice was as slow on the dance floor as he is fast on the track. He’ll do better in the Mambo tomorrow night.

Len said parts were "wild," "wacky," and "wonderful." Bruno said Maurice needs to work on his footwork and posture when in hold. Carrie Ann "you gotta work on the styles that we’re asking of you."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 18/30

Brooke Burke & Derek Hough — Cha Cha Cha
Brooke’s crazy-long arms and legs produce beautiful lines, and hers was the most polished looking performance of the night.

Carrie Ann told Brooke, "You have an amazing body that’s totally designed to dance." Bruno said, "That hip action…Len was panting. I mean, his tongue was hanging out of his mouth." Tom quipped, "That’s mostly an age thing." Len called it "the best dance so far."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…8, Bruno…8 = 23/30

Ted McGinley & Inna Brayer — Fox Trot
Ted toned down his "macho" tendencies for his performance, nicely complementing the lovely Inna.

Bruno called it a "very, very entertaining routine." Len told Ted, "Your footwork was very, very good." Carrie Ann said, "You’ve got great potential, great lines."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…6, Bruno…6 = 18/30

Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer — Cha Cha Cha
This rockin’ number finally woke up the sedate studio audience.

Len said, "It was young and modern. The trouble is I’m old and traditional." Carrie Ann said the performance was "hot, hot, hot," and Bruno called it "edgy."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…8, Len…6, Bruno…8 = 22/30

Cloris Leachman & Corky Ballas — Fox Trot
Cloris danced nicely, especially for an 82-year-old. But it was her interaction with the judges and her backstage commentary that stole the show and made her my favorite performer of the night.

As Bruno began to talk, Cloris walked over and put her leg up on the judges’ table. Then she knelt in front of Len as though she were praying, before getting up and leaning over the judges’ table. Len interrupted his comments to tell Cloris, "Mind your cleavage, it’s putting me off a bit." Cloris then sat on Carrie Ann’s lap and asked people to vote for her because, "I’m an orphan, so if you wanna vote for me, just remember there’s a lot of sadness in being an orphan."

But the shenanigans didn’t end there. The censors had to go to work as the scores were read, with Cloris saying, "Shit!" in response to Carrie Ann’s and Bruno’s scores. When Len held up his paddle, Cloris said, "Five? You bastard." It was possibly the best moment in the history of Dancing with the Stars.
Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…5, Bruno…5 = 16/30

Jeffrey Ross & Edyta Sliwinska — Cha Cha Cha
During rehearsal, Jeffrey said, "I don’t have an Olympic medal or a Super Bowl ring, but I have a heart of gold and I love onion rings." But as they practiced this morning, Edyta poked Jeffrey in the eye and scratched his cornea. He danced against doctor’s advice, ditching his rhinestoned eyepatch for a performance that was gutsy, if not graceful.

Carrie Ann said, "I just didn’t feel like you were having a great time." Bruno called the performance "ungainly carnage." Jeff interrupted, "Len, obviously I respect your opinion the most because you’re a legend. You’ve been judging Dancing with the Stars since it was a radio show."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…4, Len…4, Bruno…4 = 12/30

Kim Kardashian & Mark Ballas — Fox Trot
Kim was clumsy in their rehearsal footage, but she looked smooth on the dance floor. It helps that she’s dancing with the reigning champ.

Len said, "It was a bit cold. There was no chemistry between you." Bruno called Kim a "dusky beauty." Carrie Ann said, "I was happily surprised."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…7, Bruno…6 = 19/30

Susan Lucci & Tony Dovolani — Cha Cha Cha
The soap opera queen was good, but a little slow.

Bruno said of the performance, "It was very, very careful." Carrie Ann told Susan, "I think you need to put on a little more weight so that you can be stronger, because you looked a bit frail out there." Len said, "I think you’ve gotta throw caution to the wind."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…5, Len…5, Bruno…5 = 15/30

Misty May-Treanor & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Fox Trot
During rehearsal, Maks tried to find the "shred of gracefulness" in Misty. She looked lovely on the dance floor, making them one of the couples to beat.

Carrie Ann told Misty, "Try not to muscle everything. You can just relax into it a little bit more." Len said the performance "had an elegance about it." Bruno said that if Misty works on her turns and her shoulders, she’ll "go a long way."

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…6, Len…8, Bruno…7 = 21/30

Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson — Cha Cha Cha
Warren is huge, but really light on his feet. And funny. He was the nicest surprise of the night.

Len called Warren a "great, big bundle of joy." Carrie Ann said he had "great transitions." Bruno cheered, "Big boys can dance!"

Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann…7, Len…7, Bruno…7 = 21/30

Judges’ Leaderboard:
23 — Brooke & Derek
22 — Toni & Alec, Lance & Lacey
21 — Misty & Maks, Warren & Kym
19 — Kim & Mark
18 — Cody & Julianne, Maurice & Cheryl, Ted & Inna
16 — Cloris & Corky
15 — Susan & Tony
14 — Rocco & Karina
12 — Jeffrey & Edyta

Jeffrey Ross seems like a lock to be eliminated tomorrow night. It may not be such a bad thing, since it’ll give him a chance to let his injured eye recover. For the same reason, it might be good for Karina Smirnoff’s ankle if Rocco DiSpirito gets booted early. Wednesday night, perhaps?

There was no question about who would get all of my votes tonight: Cloris Leachman. As soon as she called Len a "bastard," I was sold. She may not be the best dancer in the bunch, but Dancing with the Stars needs her.