Live from Hollywood: It’s the 16th season of “Dancing With the Stars!” In the grand ballroom tradition we’ve got our old favorites, some new pros and stars of varying wattages (as Tom said, “We get most of our cast when their judgment’s impaired”) lighting up the glitterverse in all their fringed glory.
The first performance program had each of the twelve couples dancing either the fox trot, the cha cha, or a newly introduced contemporary routine. It was also a non-elimination round, so each couple will have another chance to impress the judges and the viewers before the first elimination occurs next week. Which stars shone the brightest, and which were in danger of fizzling in this Sweet Season 16 bracket? Here’s a rundown:
Oh, Zendaya – you’re missing a last name and your Disney Channel show “Shake it Up!” demos to an age I haven’t seen since the last millennium. But darn it if you didn’t just win me over with your contemporary routine. Val Chmerkovskiy, color me impressed as well. Here I thought all that support and personal attention was reserved specifically for Kelly Monaco. But… “I don’t want you to be good. I want you to be incredible”? You’ve vaulted up the pro ranks, my friend. While her ballroom skills have yet to be tested, Zendaya came out with great promise the first week. She was lithe and elegant with great sync and a nice noodley quality that swayed and bent in time as Val whipped her up and down the floor. “That was amazing, beautiful,” enthused Carrie Ann, raising the roof. She added that Zendaya had “a maturity that’s unexpected out of a 16-year-old.” The young actress and hip-hop dancer had head judge (and newlywed!) Len uttering three words “I’d never thought I’d say in week one: That. Was Great.” “Sweet 16 and superb debut,” said Bruno. Bruno also took care to praise the “wonderful choreography,” which had Val doing his happy dance. Maks who? Total: 24 out of 30.