Welcome to season 17, DANCMSTRs! Planet Mirrorballus is now only open for liiiiiiiiiive action one night a week. The band has disappeared, the judges switched sides (we're going full-on British/Australian now), Brooke Burke Charvet is about to legally change her name to Waldo, and instead of the Celebriquarium, there's a "Sexy Bus Stop"… with no bus in sight. Come on, now. If you're gonna delete our gilded iPhone lounge fishbowl, at least provide a bus! I know you've got some hot wheels in that prop room. And you know which license plate to use. Magic bus. Make it happen.
(I don't really want a bus. But I do miss the kicky theme song and Princess Sparkles.)
Despite all the tweaks to the original recipe, the dancing was pretty darn good for a Week 1! The opening number choreographed by Mandy Moore (not that one) and camera-blocked by Sparkalien geniuses was to die for. And as Valerie Harper reminded us, it's just good to be alive. Ahhhh! Doesn't it feel good to cry again, as a big group, alone in front of the TV? #sparklebarf
Here we go!
Amber Riley & Derek Hough: 27/30 Okay, judges. Let's all settle down. Sure, she was good. She's a lifelong fan of ballroom and Latin dancing and, like, when does that happen? But three 9s? On the first week? Leave the girl some room to breathe! If you don't, she's just gonna end up like Derek's jacket.
Eh, maybe they were judging Amber on the amount of network TV stars she managed to bring in. Hello, cast of Glee. I'm glad to see that Chris Colfer is dating his also-adorable body double. (I'd only read about him on Twitter. That's a sad sentence.) And I'm definitely glad Amber's emerged right away as a big girl who can move. I can get behind her passion, head scarves, and brazen Coveted Mirrorball Trophy costume. But I can't get behind those 9s. Not yet.
Elizabeth Berkley & Val Chmerkovskiy: 24/30 Our Valentin of Perpetual Shirtlessness learned English from Saved by the Bell?! Right at that moment, I thought I couldn't love him any more. But then he went ahead and said what so many '90s adolescents were thinking at the time: He was much more into Kelly Kapowski than Jessie Spano. She had a Slavic name! It's not Mr. Chmerkovskiy's fault he connected with Ms. Kapowski based on heritage. So amazing.
Elizabeth is very serious about this, and I almost felt uncomfortable when she described the post-Showgirls era as "a difficult time." New mama's got some excess baggage re: dance. Will she be able to sex it up without breaking down? I hope so. Their contemporary piece set to "Imagine" wasn't very ballroom-y, but it could serve as a smooth transition from citizenry to just-shy-of-the-stripper-pole. (I've always assumed that the axis of Planet Mirrorballus is actually a sparkly stripper pole which is both invisible and wherever you want it to be at that time.)
NEXT: Finally, proof that the kid from High School Musical is not named Chicken Cordon Bleu