Featuring a Cheech & Chong reunion and a cha-cha set to Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot"
Welcome to Season 19 of Dancing With the Stars. where spandex and sparkle rule and taping your dance pants to your delicate parts is all part of the fun. This year, the producers have outdone themselves in finding a suitably strange blend of D-list stars that simultaneously make you smile and scratch your head, like Pop Rocks and Coke. In the mix are public broadcasting host Tavis Smiley, pot-smoking legend Tommy Chong, YouTube sensation Bethany Mota, Duck Dynasty heir Sadie Robertson, Olympian Lolo Jones, NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro and so many more. (File under: things that make you go hmmm.)
Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews will be hosting the festivities, while Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba will handle judging. This season, Carrie Ann will not be outnumbered on the bench, because there’s a new old face at the judges’ table — former pro Julianne Hough has returned to the fold after deciding it sounded like fun to judge her little brother all season. (Low scores could make Christmas pretty awkward for the Houghs.) Let’s get the party started.
Here’s what happened on Dancing With the Stars:
Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke: Cheryl wants the Mirror Ball trophy, since we’re on Season 19, and she hasn’t won since Season 3. To help her achieve her dreams, the producers paired her with Calvin Klein model and soap star Anthony. They hit the dance floor with a very first week cha-cha. It’s clear that Antonio has some dance skills, but can’t quite remember where he left them. OG Grumpy Cat Len Goodman thinks Antonio has dance in his blood, but it hasn’t reached his feet yet. Bruno makes the best of things and takes the opportunity to say the word bulging a few times, but it’s unanimous that there is room for improvement. 25/40
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: Before she played a string of hot moms — first in Back to the Future and now on Switched at Birth — Lea Thompson was a ballet dancer. Thirty-two years on, she is using those skills to wow the judges with a seemingly effortless foxtrot. She’s paired with Artem, who is a four-year vet of the U.K.’s Strictly Come Dancing, and they worked well together, with an easy chemistry (minus the many cougar jokes) for one of the best first-week dances that Carrie Ann has ever seen, which is a very sweet lie. 28/40
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Janel has some dance training (and she was in Les Miz for a long time so is very comfortable on stage), so it’s no real surprise that she comes out of the gates with a firecracker of a jive. It was enough to get her Pretty Little Liars co-star (and former DWTS contestant) Brant Daugherty on his feet in the audience and earn a “well done” from Len. During the interview, Val accused Mona … er, Janel, of having “grandma swag,” which Val swears is a good thing. Whatever you say, Val. 29/30
Lolo Jones and Keo Motsepe: Olympic hurdler and bobsledder Lolo seemingly introduced herself to her new partner by simultaneously shaking his hand and announcing that she’s saving herself for marriage and won’t feel comfortable doing any routines that require intimacy. Once that was out of the way, they got down to business, delivering a stilted cha-cha that looked stiff and uncomfortable. Lolo explained that there was a technical difficulty that threw her off, causing Bruno to give his first “Let It Go” performance of the season, reminding Lolo that as a performer, if something goes wrong, the show still must go on. 22/40
Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani: Fashion designer Betsey Johnson may not be the best dancer, but she has a lot of attitude and will definitely sweep the Contestant Most Likely to Already Have Two Mirror Ball Trophies in Her Bathroom category. The 72-year-old busted a move to Madonna’s “Material Girl,” but had an unfortunate run in with a stubborn boa, which spoiled the moment. She seemed truly heartbroken over her low score. Woman did a split! Vote for her, people. 20/40
Tavis Smiley and Sharna Burgess: PBS mainstay and self-professed serious person Tavis is determined to reveal his lighter side by literally shaking his booty on national television. The soon-to-be 50-year-old did a classy and smooth foxtrot with Sharna. Carrie Ann called him “a natural,” but Len one-upped her by calling him “nifty at 50.” 29/40
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Duck Dynasty scion Sadie Robertson was paired up with Mark Ballas, who deemed her “cute as a button.” Sadie announced that she lives in Footloose and her school doesn’t allow dancing, but she was probably just trying to suck up to Julianne Hough. Their cha-cha earned raves from the judges who could not believe she had never danced before and could barely contain their glee at having such a talented young lady in their ranks. Then they made a string of horrifying duck jokes that don’t deserve to be repeated. 34/40
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: Michael Waltrip went full NASCAR in his dance, wearing a DWTS emblazoned jumpsuit and dancing a cha-cha to “Born to Be Wild.” While Michael is not a natural born killer on the dance floor, Emma did get comedian Bill Engvall pretty far in the competition, which gives Michael some hope. Len accused him of not getting out of first gear, and Bruno said he looked like “a golf cart trying to keep up with a Ferrari,” but Michael doesn’t care, because he loves competition. 25/40
Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker: Jonathan, who is still eking out fame from Mean Girls, wanted to be on the show because his father died a few months ago and DWTS was his father’s favorite show and now I feel like a mean girl. The judges loved his fast-paced routine and Carrie Ann admired his “flicks and kicks.” 30/40
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Tommy introduced himself as “the original stoner” and the pot puns were soon rolling (like a joint) off of everyone’s tongues. They hit the dance floor in a green lowrider, driven by Cheech Marin, to bust out a serious cha-cha to Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” It was one of those brilliantly bizarre only-on-Dancing-With-the-Stars moments that make the show worth watching. The judges had no idea what to make of it, but Bruno summed it up, “I was expecting Bad Grandpa and I got cool grandpa!” Even Len had no criticisms. When Erin asked him what he thought of the performance, Chong just deadpanned, “Is it over?” proving he is the best ever. 27/40
Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff: Karina, who had bad luck last season when she was partnered with lumber-legged hockey star Sean Avery and was eliminated in Week 2, is now paired with another manly athlete — MMA star Randy. This year, though, the producers did her right, and after some hard work in rehearsals, Randy sailed around the dance floor with a smooth foxtrot that left the judges wowed and Julianne asking for a phone number. 31/40
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Bethany is a popular YouTube vlogger with a bazillion subscribers and devoted following of fans that DWTS is hoping to rope into watching the show. To that end, Derek prepped a jive that is “cute and bubbly, just like Bethany.” Naturally it’s set to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” The judges seemed distracted during voting (probably Googling vlogger) but did notice that Bethany seemed to lose energy during her transitions, which seems pretty nitpicky for Week 1. For his part, Bruno anointed her “huge on the Web and pretty good on the dance floor.” Julianne didn’t have much to say about her brother. Yet. 32/40
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: The coveted final spot of the night goes to Carlton … er, Alfonso. He is here to lose weight and also to win and both seem possible for the man who invented the Carlton. His fast-paced jazz-age jive was full of attitude and flair and was advanced for this point in the competition. Len declared it the best dance of the night, which it was. They raked in a slough of well-deserved 9s for a total of 36/40
The Results: At the end of the first round of competition, Alfonso, Sadie and Bethany sit at the top of the leaderboad, while Anthony, Betsey and Lolo trail at the back of the pack. Come back tomorrow when the winnowing of the herd commences.