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.
Now that the names and partners of Season 14's Dancing With the Stars cast have been revealed, it's time to have a look at the pairings and see who has the best chance of taking home that coveted Mirror Ball trophy. As many previous seasons have proved, a contestant can't rely on sheer skill alone to guarantee audience votes from week to week. Each performer's success is based on three primary factors: who their dance partner is, their career or profession, and their overall popularity in the public eye.
Taking all of that into consideration, we've come up with a grading system of how well each couple will fair throughout the competition. Feel free to tell us if you think we're nuts.
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya
None of Anna's partners have ever won the Mirror Ball trophy, though she came in second place with football star Jerry Rice in Season 2 and Olympic Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek in Season 10. She's definitely got the potential to get her dancers to the very end, but she just hasn't been fortunate enough to grab the win...yet. Career Factor
Wagner is mostly known for his roles on popular daytime soap operas. For 12 years he played Andrew Jones on General Hospital and later nabbed a spot on The Bold and the Beautiful as Dominick Marone. You may also recognize him as Dr. Peter Burns from the original Melrose Place. They're all commendable shows to be apart of, however it feels like the shows themselves garner more noteability than his actual name. But then again, look at last year's winner, J.R. Martinez. With the right personality and dance moves, anything's possible. Popularity Factor
Unless you're an avid soap opera fan then you probably don't know much about him other than he used to be Heather Locklear's main squeeze. Besides that, it's difficult to foresee him having an immediate draw with the crowd. Grade: C-
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy Partner Factor
Having Maks as a partner is always a bit of a win/lose situation. On one hand, he's insanely gorgeous, so fans like seeing him stick around for pure aesthetics alone. However, he's also known to have quite the temper, which could affect his relationship with the judges and the fans. Like Anna, he too has never won the competition, but he's come in second place twice: once with Mel B. in Season 5 and again with Kirstie Alley in Season 12. Career Factor Gilbert is best known for her role as Laura Ingalls on the Little House on the Prairie TV Series. And though she's been in a few various projects since then, they can't compare with her initial childhood fame. Popularity Factor
Though her name doesn't often appear among most of the Hollywood legends, fans always love to root for the underdog and a childhood star would certainly qualify. As long as she's not a terrible dancer, there's a good chance the audience could easily fall in love with her. Grade: B+ Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd Partner Factor
Season 13 marked Peta's first run on DWTS. She was paired with L.A. Laker Ron Artest and they were the first couple to be eliminated, so the odds already aren't exactly in her favor.
Sports fans will certainly recognize him as a Receiver for the Green Bay Packers. However, how many cheeseheads will bother to tune in to a dancing competition? He's certainly out of range from his normal fan base, but if he gets his fellow teammates and football enthusiasts to vote in every week, it could keep him on the dance floor for quite some time (just look at Emmitt Smith's DWTS success). Popularity Factor Let's be honest, everyone wants to see a big football player cut loose on the dance floor. And many times, it turns out that they're not that bad. Athletes in general tend to hold on until at the least the halfway point based on skill and pure adorableness. Grade: B- William Levy and Cheryl Burke Partner Factor Cheryl is always a favorite among the female professional dancers. She's a great instructor and has won two Mirror Balls in the past: once on Season 2 with partner Drew Lachey and again on Season 3 with partner Emmitt Smith. Career Factor Given that he's an actor and former model, Levy certainly won't be lacking in the looks department. It's easy to see him charming the pants off of the crowd and the judges (look out Carrie Ann!). However, he's known best for his appearance in Jennifer Lopez' "I'm Into You" video, so that doesn't exactly guarantee him a wide fan base coming into the competition. Popularity Factor Well, he'll have JLo's vote and that's got to count for something. In truth, he doesn't have much popularity thus far, but if he's personable enough during interviews and on the dance floor, the ladies are sure to swoon. And if the ladies swoon, the votes are sure to follow. Grade: C+
Sherri Sheperd and Val Chermkovskiy Partner Factor
Though Val has appeared on DWTS several times to either perform or help out his brother Maks, he made his first professional dancer debut with George Clooney's ex, Elisabetta Canalis on Season 13. However they only made it into the second week before being eliminated, so his track record could use a little improvement. But to be fair, that was only his first attempt. Career Factor Sheperd is probably one of the most well known stars on the competition thanks to her hosting job on The View. Additionally, she plays Tracy Jordan's wife on 30 Rock, which automatically gives her a huge fan base from two different show groups. Popularity Factor She will undoubtedly garner a lot of votes at the beginning because everyone knows who she is. She's likable, she's funny, and all around a pretty great entertainer, so the crowd will eat up whatever she gives us. In the later weeks, when the competition becomes more fierce, she'll have to prove herself a little more. But at the beginning, she'll definitely be safe. Grade: B+
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas Partner Factor Mark is another beloved dance pro, which means fans (especially the ladies) will want to keep him around as long as possible. So far, he's reached the Mirror Ball trophy twice: once with figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi in Season 6 and again with gymnast Shawn Johnson in Season 8. He's definitely due for another win. Career Factor Jenkins is a professional Opera singer, so it's hard to know how this could help or hinder her in the competition. Perhaps if she performed during one of the results shows her voice could win everyone over. Her success could go either way based on how personable she becomes. Popularity Factor She hasn't received an overwhelming amount of fame in her career thus far, but this show could be just what she needs to kick it up a notch and really make a name for herself among pop culture addicts. She's one to definitely keep an eye on. Grade: C
Gavin Degraw and Karina Smirnoff Partner Factor Karina won her first ever Mirror Ball trophy during Season 13 with her dance partner J.R. Martinez. She's always been a constant presence on the show and certainly knows her dance moves. Any partner she is paired with is always in good hands. Career Factor Degraw is sure to be the favorite to win, at the least at the beginning. He's the biggest star on the show, which is sure to earn him some extra votes above the rest. Plus, everyone loves a good, current singer whose recent hit "Not Over You" has become a success on the Billboard Hot 100, much like his other hit song "I Don't Wanna Be," which was the popular theme song to One Tree Hill. Popularity Factor
This will be the biggest advantage in his corner given that he's not only a relevant star, but he's extremely well liked. Even if voters aren't fans of his music, everyone knows who he is, so unless he's an outright terrible dancer with two left feet, there's no question he'll go far in this competition. He might even win it. Grade: A
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani Partner Factor Poor Tony has had a lot of bad luck over the years between having to deal with the likes of Kate Gosselin and Wendy Williams. And though he's come close a few times, he's never won the Mirror Ball trophy. Luck never seems to be on his side. Career Factor Given that she's a major tennis legend, Navratilova certainly has an athletic background on her side. However, she's now 55 years old, which could serve as a hindrance in such a grueling dance competition. If she proves to be as agile as ever, then it shouldn't be a problem. Popularity Factor Tennis fans will definitely be pleased. Between Tony's luck and her lack of a significant fan base, this could prove to be a huge setback in her chances of winning. Grade: D
Roshon Fegan and Chelsea Hightower Partner Factor Though she's undeniably adorable, the closest Chelsea's gotten to winning the Mirror Ball trophy is fourth place, which is not exactly an impressive record to go on. However, that could have little to do with her actual dancing instruction and everything to do with the partners she's been placed with. Career Factor Roshon is a 20-year-old Disney Channel Star. He's best known for his role as Sander Loyer in the Disney Channel movie franchise Camp Rock and for his role as Ty Blue on the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up! Popularity Factor Unless you're an avid Disney Channel viewer, you probably have no idea who this guy is, though he -- like his dance partner -- has a certain cuteness about him, which could potentially work in his favor. Let's hope he knows how to charm the cameras, otherwise we may not be seeing much of this guy. Grade: D+
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough Partner Factor Derek Hough is by far the best professional dancer of the bunch. He's won the competition numerous times and always creates outstanding performances that are suitable to both him and whoever is lucky enough to be his partner. If you're partnered with this guy, then you're in it for the long haul. Career Factor When you're am engaging TV Host like Menounos, you're bound to receive a wide variety of votes. If your face is on TV all the time, people are going to notice, especially if you're likable. Menounos should have no trouble getting the votes she needs to stay in the competition, at least at the beginning. Popularity Factor Between her TV fan base and luck (for nabbing Derek as a partner), there's a huge possibility she could go on to win the Mirror Ball trophy. As long as she asks Derek to take his shirt off for a few dance numbers, she'll be golden. And it seems they make a great pair. Grade: A+
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson Partner Factor Like Derek, Kym has also won the Mirror Ball several times since the show's inception and has proved to be a talented and kind dance instructor to each partner she's given. Celebrity Factor It almost goes without saying, but White is best known for playing geeky yet lovable Steve Urkel on classic show, Family Matters. This will definitely prove helpful in regards to gaining massive amounts of votes. Popularity Factor
Hello, it's Steve Urkel! Of course America is going to want him to stay on. Everyone's nostalgic for their favorite geek in glasses no matter if he's a good dancer or not. Plus, who doesn't want to see this? Grade: A
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus Partner Factor Season 13 was Tristan's first year competing as a professional dancer, where he came in a respectable fifth place with former prosecutor Nancy Grace. Not too bad for his first time out, although his lack of experience among the other dance veterans could potentially hurt his chances of winning. Career Factor Knight is a well known music legend, which undoubtedly will be a huge advantage on this show where votes are the golden ticket to success. As far as careers go, this woman already has them all beat. Popularity Factor Knight's fan base will be massive; there's absolutely no doubt about that. However, her age (67) could prove to be a setback, though age isn't always necessarily a factor on this competition. She could certainly come out and wow us with incredible dance moves, proving she's just as great of a dancer as she is a singer. Grade: B
Good Morning America had the honor early on Feb. 28 to reveal the brand new cast of ABC's long-running hit, Dancing With The Stars. There's a bit of a pattern every year; we see some retired athletes, some TV stars, and a handful of sheer surprises and Season 14 is no different. And without further ado, here they are! Find all the familiar faces in the ABC's first cast photo and check out the full list of stars and their partners below.
Anna Trebunskaya and Jack Wagner, former soap star from General Hospital and Melrose Place
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Melissa Gilbert, played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie TV Series
Peta Murgatroyd and Donald Driver, Receiver for the Green Bay Packers
Cheryl Burke and William Levy, Actor known best for his appearance in Jennifer Lopez' "I'm Into You" video
Val Chermkovskiy and Sherri Shepard, Host on The View and Tracy Jordan's wife on 30 Rock
Mark Ballas and Katherine Jenkins, Opera Singer
Karina Smirnoff and Gavin Degraw, recording artist whose big hit is "I Don't Wanna Be"
Tony Dovlani and Martina Navritalova, Tennis Legend
Chelsea Hightower and Roshon Fegan, Disney Channel Star
Derek Hough and Maria Menounos, TV Host
Kym Johnson and Jaleel White, known for playing Steve Urkel on Family Matters
Tristan McManus and Gladys Knight, music legend