‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 13 Premiere: J.R. Martinez and Chynna Phiilips the Leads, Hope Solo in Second

Some season premieres of “Dancing with the Stars” are better than others. Lucky season 13 turned out to be a goldmine of fun and entertainment. A lot of controversy surrounded its upcoming premiere on Monday night, September 19. That all went away with a brand new stage featuring a two-tier balcony instead of one for the past 12 seasons. There was a whole new look overall to the soundstage that was refreshing. However, this lengthy staircase the couples must climb up after their exhausting dance number is a disaster waiting to happen.

Thankfully there were no disastrous or cringe-worthy dances by the couples overall. It was a good night on what would be a tense-filled moment for their first dance. Each couple danced either the Cha-Cha-Cha or Viennese Waltz. Here’s a rundown on all 12 couples that included some new pro dancers. Some of the ones you thought wouldn’t do so good actually were a surprise.

Ron Artest (Metta World Peace): Someone had to go first, so it might as well been the NBA star of the LA Lakers. His cha-cha was a bit wild and out of control at times. He received the lowest score of the night. 14

Rob Kardashian: His performance and attitude were light years better than his sister Kim when she appeared on season 7. Even though Kim got a better score for her first dance Rob was impressive with his Viennese Waltz. I agree when one judge stated he has potential. 16

Kristin Cavallari: This reality star sure strutted her stuff, especially with those hair moves. She reminded me of Audrina Patridge from season 11. It will be interesting to see Kristin’s progress. 19

Chynna Phillips: Former member of the girl trio, Wilson Phillips, was stunning on the dance floor. All I could think of during her Viennese Waltz was how much she’s like Petra Nemcova from last season, the model who survived the 2004 tsunami. The judges all loved her and received the highest score of the night thus far. 22

Nancy Grace: Quite frankly I was expecting a major cringe-worthy performance from the former prosecutor, but she surprised me instead. She needs to treat her dance partner a bit more respectfully in the video package. Hopefully she will not have emotional meltdowns like that wretched Kate Gosselin. 16

David Arquette: A lot of media speculation was on him before the start of the season in possibly winning the mirror ball trophy. He seems to not take life very seriously and it showed in parts of his dance. At times he was good and other times he seemed scared on the dance floor. Only time will tell how polished David gets. 18

Elisabetta Canalis: Her bed-worthy opening with partner, Val Chmerkovskiy (the younger brother of DWTS veteran Maks) was a bit shocking. Normally you’d see something like that later on in the season. That was the only thing I remember from her performance. All of the judges gave her a harsh critique. The fact she is a model, famous in another country and with a little to no fan base Elisabetta is likely to go home tomorrow night. 15

Hope Solo: Women’s soccer most glorious goalkeeper shined brilliantly with her Viennese Waltz. Not all athletes do wonderfully on the show, but those that do, like Hope Solo, usually make it to the finals. She came out with the second highest score of the night. 21

Carson Kressley: By far my favorite performance of the entire evening. I loved his song choice “Moves Like Jagger”, because he moved like a rock star combined with his fashionista ways. He was another celebrity I thought would not do very well. I was completely entertained from start to finish. Good job Carson! 17

J.R. Martinez: What a positive and inspirational person J.R. is. It certainly carried on into his stellar Viennese Waltz. I was waiting all night to see him dance. It was not a disappointment. He had the entire audience on their feet afterwards. Naturally the judges gave him rave reviews that were deserving. 22

Ricki Lake: It seemed they were saving the better dancers for last. She was another celebrity many were betting would win later on. That is certainly a possibility. Ricki glided throughout her Viennese Waltz. Usually it is the Latin dances most celebrities are good at, but the Viennese Waltz ballroom dance was taking over the cha-cha-cha. 20

Chaz Bono: Now we come to the moment everyone was waiting for, myself included. Being the first transgendered on the show Chaz became transcended with his infectious cha-cha. He was having a great time you could not help but smile throughout it. All three judges gave Chaz respectful reviews, though his score was low. No worries, he will be around for a long time. 17

Tuesday night’s result show, September 20, will feature a special live recap where we get up close and personal with each of the celebrities starting at 8 p.m. ET. This will be followed up by the actual results show at 9 p.m. ET featuring musical guests. One celebrity will go home and it may be Ron Artest or Elisabetta Canalis.


Dancing with the Stars, ABC.go.com

Natalie Finn, “Dancing with the Stars Premiere: Who Impressed? And Who Just Depressed?!”, E! Online.com

Melissa Locker, “‘Dancing with the Stars’ Recap: Chaz Bono Shines, Elisabetta Canalis Tanks”, Time.com

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