Dancing With the Stars season premiere recap: Fringe-worthy

We size up the new dancers on their first night of dancing and see if we can spot the potential winners
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 22, 2008

HIDDEN ASSETS Kim, along with her partner Mark, has to find a way to make herself "more available"

Craig Sjodin

'Dancing With the Stars' recap

NOTE: Click here to see the Dancing With the Stars episode 2 recap

Hi, everyone! I trust that your waking nightmare — featuring a closet full of Cloris Leachman's cleavage, Mark Ballas' Pepto-hued jacket, and the ''edgy'' styling of Lacey Schwimmer — has left you well-rested. Me, I don't need sleep. I've been operating on a serum of sparkles and pure joy ever since I saw Misty May serving a disco ball as if it were a volleyball (these are two of my most treasured types of balls) in ABC's ubiquitous season 7 promo. As soon as Edyta showed up wearing legwarmers in the very first shot of the season, I had a profound sense that Dancing With the Stars had never really gone away. Because it hasn't.

Last night's season premiere was as crazy as ever, yet many powerful signs suggest that this season will be vastly improved over the one that ended in ye olden days of four months ago. Fringe easily beat sequins. The judges suddenly remembered there are integers lower than 8. There's a flashy new intro-to-the-intros light show right before the Stars descend the staircase. And finally, Samantha's hair has never looked this flat. See? Best season ever. Let's jump right in with how the new couples ranked....

Brooke Burke and Derek: 23 out of possible 30 First of all, I'd like to pick a bone. (Lucci, get your arm out of my face, I didn't mean it like that!) Why create such fanfare over Brooke's ''hyper-extended legs,'' then costume this season's yummy mummy in floor-length brown pants? That was a cruel and unusual tease, much like Derek's hammy ''I love you, I love you not'' interactions with the giant disco ball during his All About Me bit. These two should be very mischievous together. Brooke seemed terrified before her cha-cha, but managed to pull it off with so much hip action that, according to Bruno, DANCMSTR was panting with his tongue hanging out. ''That's mostly an age thing,'' quipped Tom.

Lance Bass and a Pussycat Doll: 22/30 Fine, Lance's partner is So You Think You Can Dance alum Lacey Schwimmer, but it's often a bit difficult to make the distinction. Lacey's bringing some ''edge'' to the ballroom via pink hair extensions, boots that put the ''flat'' in ''unflattering,'' and the presence of Lance's face on her skirt. One night only, people! DANCMSTR hated the pair's ''young and modern'' version of the cha-cha because he's old and traditional, but Bruno and Carrie Ann adored the ''cha-cha-cha for now!'' Do I smell an impending Dance War, or is that just the rockin' stench of pure, unadulterated EDGINESS?

Toni Braxton and Alec: 22/30 As the third woman in a row to dance around the ballroom sheathed in white fringe, Toni would have my allegiance even if her cha-cha with Alec wasn't, according to Carrie Ann, worthy of being performed in week 5. The ''Unbreak My Heart'' diva — whom Bruno affectionately labeled ''slinky, sultry, sexy, BAM! BAM!'' — currently suffers from a heart condition that's inspired her to get out there and live life...in front of TV cameras. I think she and Alec will go far, but it really worried me when she told Samantha, ''I still feel like I’m trying to breathe, but it's all right, it's all right!'' Jeez. Is it? :(

NEXT: A yummy M&M

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