Dancing With the Stars recap: Better Led Than Dead

The female celebrities' premiere-week performances leave most of the guys looking like stiffs
Ep. 02 | Aired Mar 18, 2008

ICING ON THE CAKE Kristi Yamaguchi (with partner Mark Ballas) got the highest premiere-week score in the show's history

''Dancing With the Stars'' recap: The women lead

You choose which awe-inspiring line to sum up the women's fairly solid week 1 performances on tonight's Dancing With the Stars. In the immortal teleprompted words of Samantha Harris, ''It's ladies' night and the feeling's right!'' Ugh. In the single word that Priscilla Presley mouthed during the group pan for the second night running, ''Woo.'' Eh. I'm going with ''Woo.'' It says everything and yet nothing at all. Let's make it our new DWTS mantra. Note: ''Woo'' is best imagined if Priscilla is wearing Sabrina Bryan's hideous purple paso doble frock, as she was in Tuesday night's intro package. (Really? Out of all the costumes? That one?)

Tuesday night offered us some hints of potential season 6 male-female doppelgängers. There are the front-runners with lots of choreographic experience (Kristi Yamaguchi and Mario). The ones who still can't believe they're on their all-time favorite show! (Marissa Jaret Winokur and the Gute). The ones who didn't live up to expectations but are pretty and show promise (Shannon and Cristián). Nobody wants a complete sentence comparing Adam Carolla to Monica Seles, so enough of that nonsense, and let's get to the ladies…

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark: 27 out of a possible 30 points I should get this out of the way now: I. Love. Kristi. I have since the very early '90s, and people who spent their formative years inexplicably obsessing over figure skaters simply never lose that obsession. So I'll try to be as unbiased as possible about her this season. That said, Kristi and Mark's fox-trot was undeniably awesome, and was the highest-scored week 1 performance in DWTS history. Mark choreographed it specifically to her strengths, which appear to be everything. I don't remember any contestant having such quick yet controlled footwork right off the bat. I'll admit that every time Kristi made a ridiculously perfect arm extension, I thought, ''Ooh, just like she did on the ice!'' And no one was buying her feigned cluelessness about pointing her toes and working with a partner; both are skills she's certainly mastered during her skating career. But who cares? Maybe after five seasons, people can quit harping about who's ''the ringer'' and just enjoy it. (Or change her title to pro if you have to; I'd gladly watch her in results-show exhibitions instead.) Kristi is this season's best prospect to be the first female winner since Kelly Monaco.

Priscilla Presley and Louis: 24/30 Color me surprised to learn that Priscilla's the oldest female DWTS competitor ever. She doesn't look a day over 22! Even more shocking than Priscilla's decision to do this show is the fact that she's actually pretty good at dancing. All of my friends who watch this show (granted, that's like two people, and they're both family members) were prepared for a Bride of Frankenstein performance. Instead, Priscilla pulled three 8s after letting Louis fling her around like a sparkling sack of decaying leaves. I'm a bit worried about next week's mambo because she may be required to look excited. I'm guessing she has a clause in her contract that prevents the judges from calling her out on a lack of facial expressions. No joke. It actually wouldn't be a bad idea. What's she supposed to do at this point, apologize? I say good for her for deciding to ''start participating [pause] again.'' Loved that.

Marlee Matlin and Fabian: 22/30 Whoa! I'd have thought Marlee's first performance was killer even if she wasn't ''profoundly deaf''; the fact that she is makes it almost unbelievable. Marlee had the most convincing hip action of the night besides Tony's and was confident enough in her partner's lead (''Fabian is my music'') to even dance solo while looking away from him for significant stretches. Fabian Sanchez is the new kid, by the way, or shall I say the King of the Mambo, who's gonna ''show all these young men what a real man dances like.'' Yay, he must have received Jason Taylor's ''Real Men Ballroom Dance'' interoffice memo this morning.

NEXT: Getting a leg up

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