Dancing With the Stars has always been a highly enjoyable reality show. Not only do you get to see stars completely out of their element (and therefore helping to make them a little more humble), but you also get to see an array of shirtless hunks moving and shaking their bodies in ways that shouldn't be legal (though we're really glad they are).
But Season 14 is quickly becoming my favorite of them all since everyone is not only exceptionally talented, but extremely likable as well. I feel like I say this every week, but that's only because it keeps getting more and more true. Sure there's always a few fan favorites that stick out among the rest (I'm looking at you William Levy), but never has a group of stars seemed so harmonized and content with whatever comes their way both in rehearsals and on the dance floor. Perhaps it's because there are so few big names in the bunch, or maybe it's just eerie good luck on the network's part, but either way — bring it on because we can't get enough of them.
Each couple shined again as they danced in honor of the memorable year of their lives. It was emotional...it was inspiring...and no couple saw lower than a 24 on the leaderboard. Seriously, this is only the third week?
Check out the scores below (from highest to lowest) and see if you agree where the judges ranked each duo this week:
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Waltz: "Where You Are" by Josh Groban
Score: 29 out of 30
William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Salsa: "La Vida Un Carnaval" by Celia Cruz
Score: 28 out of 30
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Rumba: "Material Girl" by Madonna
Score: 27 out of 30
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Rumba: "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey
Score: 26 out of 30
Roshon Fegan and Chelsea Hightower
Samba: "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5
Score: 25 out of 30
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson
Score: 25 out of 30
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy
Rumba: "If I Could" by Celine Dion
Score: 24 out of 30
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Rumba: "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel
Score: 24 out of 30
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya
Samba: "Lighting Up the Night" by Jack Wagner
Score: 24 out of 30
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Jive: "The Dog Days Are Over"
Score: 24 out of 30
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Fox Trot: "Cupid" by Sam Cook
Score: 24 out of 30
What did you think of tonight's set of outstanding performances? Who stands the biggest threat of going home Tuesday night amid all this talent? Sound off in the comments below or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.
Check back tomorrow night to find out who gets eliminated. Dancing With the Stars' result show airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on ABC.
DWTS Results: Which Couple Was the First To Be Eliminated?
Dancing With the Stars Front-Runner William Levy: Can He Win?
Dancing With the Stars Recap: Top Twelve Couples Prove Their Worth
S14E1: Are you ready for Len's surly demeanor, Bruno's inappropriate quips, and an array of hot men taking their shirts off with some fancy footwork thrown in between? If so, then you're in luck because Dancing With the Stars is back for its 14th season. And now that we've already predicted the type of dancer each of these stars could potentially be, it's time to officially see them strut their stuff.
For the first week, half of the couples are selected to perform the Cha-Cha, while the other half must perform the Fox Trot. And since there's no fear for elimination this time, the pressure is slightly off. However, next week the couples will perform yet another dance routine consisting of either the quick step or jive. And while this will allow the audience a chance to become more familiar with each contestant's dancing range, it also means votes will matter more than ever because everyone will be at risk of being sent home. And trust me, with a group like this, you don't want anyone heading home prematurely.
As each couple enjoyed its first night on the dance floor we ranked each performance from best to worst (though worst is a very loose term with a talented group like this).
Classical singer Katherine Jenkins danced the fox trot with her partner Mark Ballas and she was a vision of pure beauty and elegance. The routine was well-rehearsed and she has a natural grace about her, making her light on her feet. Couple that with the fact that she's simply adorable, and she can easily become America's sweetheart in no time. And the judges had nothing but nice things to say about both her and her performance. Len thought she showed great movement and musicality, while Carrie Ann remarked that she could have easily passed as one of the professional dancers. All in all, she did an amazing job and earned her the highest score of the night with a 26 out of 30 -- an incredible score for week one.
TV star Jaleel White (better known for his role as Steve Urkel on Family Matters) performed the fox trot with his dance partner Kym Johnson and there was nothing clumsy or geeky about it. His posture was beautiful, providing a perfect frame for his partner to fit into. And I can't believe I'm about to say this, but there was something very suave about his overall demeanor. No trace of Urkel was out on that dance floor -- he was smooth and sophisticated; he completely owned it. The judges loved it and could not get over just how incredible this group of stars really is (really, this fact can not be stressed enough). The duo were awarded 26 points, tying Jenkins for first place.
Actor William Levy danced the cha-cha with Cheryl Burke and wow, can that man shake his hips. The intro package said the duo had to work on their dance routine a week later than everyone else due to his hectic work schedule, but you wouldn't know it from looking at them. He had a natural fluidity in his movements and shared a great deal of chemistry with Cheryl. The two of them positively wreaked of sex appeal, which sent the crowd into a feeding frenzy; he'll have the ladies swooning for weeks to come. Understandably, the judges loved it, however Bruno had one simple critique: for William to wear less clothing. And we must concur. They were awarded with a well deserved 24 points.
Disney star Roshon Fegan danced what was probably the most exciting cha-cha anyone has ever seen. Though his partner Chelsea Hightower is the professional dancer, Roshon seemed almost equally matched in skill. As Bruno stated, his moves were "laser sharp" and his spot on footwork was amazing, even reminiscent of the late Michael Jackson. Of course Len, who's a stickler for rules, thought it lacked technique, however, he was the only one who could find any complaints. The rest of the crowd absolutely loved it, earning him 23 points out of 30.
Entertainment reporter Maria Menounos was the first one to hit the dance floor, performing the cha-cha with her dance partner Derek Hough and she completely nailed it. Her movements were graceful, her timing was sharp, and although she still needs to tighten up the fluidity of her movements, it was very impressive for the first week. And the judges concurred, unanimously calling it a great way to start the season and they gave 7s all around, earning the couple a respectable 21 out of 30 points.
Actor and singer Jack Wagner danced a well-rehearsed fox trot with his partner Anna Trebunskaya. While you could tell he was a bit hesitant in some of his movements, he did a remarkable job overall, considering this particular dance takes a lot of quick steps to get through. His timing was great and he kept up easily with his dance partner. And though Len warned him to work on his posture and his technique, the judges were very pleased with the feel of the performance and awarded the couple 23 points out of 30.
TV personality Sherri Shepherd danced the fox trot with her partner Val Chermkovskiy and it can only be summed up in one word: fun. She was obviously having an absolutely great time and she lit up the dance floor. Her movements were elegant, her timing was great, and she was just a pleasure to watch. It really can't be stressed enough just how incredible everyone was. There really wasn't a weak link all night and the judges' scores reflect it. Sherri and Val earned a 23 out of 30.
Green Bay Packers star Donald Driver showed magnificent presence as he took on the cha-cha with his partner Peta Murgatroyd. This is a guy you can tell will have no problem charming the audience week after week. He brimmed with confidence and was surprisingly light on his feet, accomplishing some pretty fancy footwork along the way. But even though his performance contained a surplus of personality, the judges warned him to not go overboard. Sometimes he got so into the music that he lost timing with his partner, which could cost him points in the future. However, for now they all enjoyed his undeniable charisma, earning him 21 points for the night.
Well known singer Gavin DeGraw attempted the fox trot with his partner Karina Smirnoff. And while his performance wasn't one of the best, it wasn't all that bad. This is actually a really impressive group of dancers, so it's hard to come down hard on any of these guys, but Degraw was definitely stiff in his movements and lacked a bit of musicality. Granted, there were moments where he got really into it and let the music flow through him, but it's clear dancing doesn't come easily to him. He'll have to work on it moreso than some of the others. But given all that Degraw was able to accomplish in the first week, he did extremely well and shouldn't be ruled out just yet. The judges awarded them 20 points total.
Singing legend Gladys Knight performed the cha-cha with her partner Tristan MacManus and proved that age knows no bounds. Though her footwork could definitely use some improvement, she can move incredibly well for her age. In fact, some of her moves were so sharp and onpoint that you'd never suspect she was 67 years old. Unsurprisingly, the crowd loved her and so did the judges, commending her on her natural musicality. The pair earned 23 out of 30 points for the night. This is definitely going to be a difficult voting season since the talent is so high.
Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert performed the cha-cha with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. And while parts of the dance routine were semi-sloppy, it's important to note that it was an incredibly difficult dance number. The music was fast, there were a lot of complicated steps, and she actually did a remarkable job of keeping up with it all, even if it didn't look as sharp as it should (though Mak having his shirt open definitely helped steal focus). But the judges commended her for sticking with it and said that they expect great things from her in the future. The duo were awarded 20 out of 30 points.
Tennis player Martina Navratilova took on the fox trot with her dance partner Tony Dovolani. She definitely seemed the most uncomfortable of the bunch out on the dance floor, constantly looking to Tony for reassurance. But given the fact that her area of expertise lies on the tennis court and not the ballroom, she did a decent enough job for her first performance. Len thought she played it a little too safe with the routine and thought she needed to improve on her footwork. However, her posture and appearance were simply lovely, earning the pair 20 out of 30 for their first set of scores.
Were you impressed with the overall talent each contestant showed? What was your favorite performance of the night? Sound off in the comments below or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.
Forget Black Swan – Natalie Portman’s real crowning performance is to be found in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached in which director Ivan Reitman asks her to convey sincere unqualified affection for Ashton Kutcher. Portman much to her credit gamely complies and though she may not have the emaciated figure bloody nails and bandaged ankles to tell of her labors the psychic scars must no doubt be just as severe.
Exhibiting strong chick-flick leanings and a rambunctious soft-R comic tone (i.e. lots of F-bombs some menstrual humor and a few shots of Kutcher’s naked ass) No Strings Attached is built around a basic relationship role-reversal: The dude Adam (Kutcher) longs for a deeper lasting commitment; the chick Emma (Portman) insists on keeping matters purely physical. Emma’s motive is a practical one: As a doctor-to-be her busy residency schedule with its 80-hour work weeks and intensive exam preparations precludes a serious relationship. But alas a woman has certain needs (foreplay apparently not being among them) and who better to fulfill them than Kutcher’s non-threatening boy-toy?
Thus a “friends with benefits” arrangement is cemented whereupon the ripcord is to be pulled on the occasion that either of them develops stronger feelings. This does not last long for soon Adam is cloyingly lobbying for escalation. Emma demurs – not out of disinterest we are told but because she’s intimacy-averse and afraid of a broken heart. Why else would she resist a more permanent attachment to someone like Adam?
Perhaps it’s because Adam as played by Kutcher is about as interesting as cabbage. And yet No Strings Attached would have us believe he’s some kind of floppy-haired Albert Schweitzer. This despite the fact that his greatest aspiration in life is to join the writing staff of a High School Musical-esque television series the shallow inanity of which is one of the film’s recurring jokes. In vain support of his cause the filmmakers decorate Adam’s apartment with various props – vintage posters books about 1920s movies a guitar that is occasionally picked up but never actually played – that hint at a depth that Kutcher himself never manifests.
Still Portman sells us on Adam and Emma’s inevitable union with every ounce of her not inconsiderable talent. (And her comic chops are legit – as those who’ve glimpsed her appearances on SNL and Funny or Die can attest.) But she asks too much. And Elizabeth Meriweather’s script while witty and stocked with some keen observations on the evolving nature of relationships in the modern age becomes weighed down by sentiment unbecoming an R-rated comedy not directed by Judd Apatow. In the end Kutcher seals the increasingly contrived deal with the climactic line “I’m warning you: Come one step closer and I’m never letting you go ” (I’m paraphrasing but not loosely) by which time the film's already lost its grip.