Laney’s Look: Some Celebrities Were Hits While Others Fizzled On Night One In The Ballroom

Geraldo Rivera and Edyta Sliwinska - "Dancing With The Stars" Season 22 Partners
Geraldo Rivera and Edyta Sliwinska - "Dancing With The Stars" Season 22 Partners

The premiere episode of “Dancing With The Stars” always kicks off with excitement. This season was no exception with a larger than life ensemble dance, showing off all the professional and celebrity dancers. Each year it just gets better and better. One addition this year is the production staff taking us behind the scenes, letting the viewers see all of the insanity that is going on during the live production. For this producer, director, and theatre major – it’s like offering a child candy, especially since I would love to get to experience the insanity first hand.

This season’s cast is an interesting ensemble, filled with plenty of athletes. Some show promise while others were just painful. On a whole I was a little disappointed with the first round of dances. I think that is in large part to Season 21 kicking off with such strong dances that you were really unsure of who would last and who would go.

Here are my thoughts after week one.

Kim Fields (Cha Cha): I can’t see Kim without seeing Tootie on “The Facts Of Life”. She was always full of spunk, and she still is. She came out with a strong dance, and I didn’t expect any less. In fact, Kim gave exactly what I expected. She has plenty of room to grow, but she showed that she has plenty of promise. Judges’ Scores: 7-6-7

Paige VanZant (Foxtrot): Not being familiar with Paige, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from her. Given her age, I thought she might show promise, but given her profession, I thought she might be stiff. I’ll admit that I was leaning toward stiff but was pleasantly surprised by how well she did. If she has fan support, she could possibly hang tight. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-7

Doug Flutie (Foxtrot): Doug’s performance was what I expected. True to most athletes that appear on the show, I knew he would be focused and driven in learning the dance; however, he was also stiff. If Doug simply loosens up and has fun with this, I think he’ll immediately improve. For now, though, I think he’ll be a week three or four departure. Judges’ Scores: 5-5-5

Jodie Sweetin (Tango): When Jodie was first revealed as a contestant, I predicted that she would do well, and she held true to my expectations. She gave a strong performance. There were a few oddities, like the facial expressions she kept getting, but I thought it was a strong performance. I think she can go far. Judges’ Scores: 7-6-7

Geraldo Rivera (Cha Cha): Geraldo was yet another celebrity that gave me exactly what I expected – a painful performance. This Cha Cha was simply hard to watch. It was uncomfortable all around. For me it couldn’t end soon enough. Sadly, I don’t think Geraldo is someone that will improve with time. Judges’ Scores: 5-4-4

Marla Maples (Quickstep): The Quickstep is a dance that I don’t envy anyone having to do week one, right out of the gate. The high-paced, detailed dance requires a lot of stamina. Marla held up really well under the pressure. There were a few flub ups, but I thought she did really well. While I don’t see Marla taking home the trophy, I think we could see here for several weeks. Judges Scores: 7-7-7

Wanya Morris (Cha Cha): Let’s talk about a ball of energy! Wanya’s Cha Cha was the first performance of the night that actually had me sitting up and taking notice. I was truly impressed, and I definitely see him lasting until at least the semi-finals. Judges’ Scores: 8-7-8

Ginger Zee (Jive): Ginger is one of the dancers I was really looking forward to seeing.  On Instagram there had been plenty of cute videos during rehearsals, and I saw some real ability in them. While I debated if nerves might hinder her performance, Ginger came out with just as much personality as I saw in those videos. She’s one of my early favorites. Judges’ Scores: 8-7-8

Mischa Barton (Tango): I know that Mischa has countless fans, and so many people have looked forward to her taking part in the show. Personally, I don’t know a lot about her. I’ve seen her in interviews here and there over the years, but I’ve never watched anything she’s done acting-wise. Just going by my impression of her, I had a feeling she was going to be a bundle of nerves, and that’s exactly what I saw. And, while Len was correct in his critique of her performance, I thought he was really harsh and could have been kinder with his words. Judges’ Scores: 5-5-6

Nyle DiMarco (Cha Cha): Nyle is the other celebrity that I was really looking forward to seeing perform. I remember well seeing Marlee Matlin compete, and I remembered some of the struggles she had. Unlike Marlee, though, Nyle is completely deaf and can’t hear anything. That adds an entirely new element to his journey. Watching him perform, though… I never in a million years would have guessed that he is deaf. His performance was one of the best of the night, and I’m really excited for what may be next! Judges’ Scores: 8-7-8

Antonio Brown (Quickstep): As I’ve mentioned countless times in the past, football players tend to fair well in this competition. They bring their fans with them, and that allows them plenty of support and votes through the season. Antonio is one of those lucky ones, but he also has moves. While I’m undecided if he will be one of the last celebrities standing, I don’t think he’ll be leaving the ballroom any time soon. Judges’ Scores: 8-6-7

Von Miller (Foxtrot): The Super Bowl MVP is certainly bringing his fans with him to the ballroom. Von had plenty of support and chants from the audience. I wasn’t quite as impressed by his Foxtrot, though. I think that may be in large part to the height difference between Von and Witney. I found myself feeling uncomfortable for them. That is definitely going to be a hurdle for them to overcome if they’re going to survive the season. Judges’ Scores: 8-6-7

On a whole there weren’t many disappointing dances, but there also weren’t many that had me on the edge of my seat. I see a lot of room to grow, which could make this an interesting season with so many having so much to learn.

As for my prediction for the first celebrity

Geraldo Rivera - "Dancing With The Stars" Season 22 Celebrity Dancer
Geraldo Rivera – “Dancing With The Stars” Season 22 Celebrity Dancer

to leave the ballroom, I think that is probably pretty obvious. I think we will be saying farewell to Geraldo. That makes me sad because I was excited – as were many others – to see Edyta return to the ballroom as a professional this season. At least we’ll get to see her perform with the other pros throughout the season!

You can count on me to weigh in with my thoughts all throughout the season, and I’ll be live tweeting every Monday night at www.twitter.com/WJBF. Join me in the conversation using #DWTSon6 and #DWTS.

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