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‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 14 Debut Recap — Who Did the Judges Love?

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ABC

It’s time for season 14 of ‘Dancing with the Stars’!

Hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet are back in place to emcee the festivities, and if last year is any indication, he’ll be witty and charming and she’ll wear too much makeup and ask the dancers inane questions. Also returning are the judges: gentle-but-honest Carrie Ann Inaba, British truth-teller Len Goodman, and the fun but flamboyantly inappropriate Bruno Tonioli.

There doesn’t seem to be a dud dancer in this bunch, which is awesome and a bit disappointing all at once. Normally we get a few we can point and laugh at, thus allowing us to feel superior to celebrities for at least an hour or two a week. And isn’t that what entertainment is all about?

Let’s take a look at this year’s victims, who will all dance again next week before any eliminations are made.

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Score: 21 out of 30 (7/7/7)

Maria is a host on ‘Extra,’ and although Derek has won three mirror ball trophies, he wants as many as he has hairs on his chest. (For a guy who looks like he gets those routinely waxed off, we’d say he’s already ahead of the game.) She’s a big ol’ bubbly tomboy “with boobs” and has a horrifically annoying laugh, but she’s a good dancer. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also very pretty, but as all the discarded models from seasons past will attest, just looking great in the costume alone won’t keep you around for long. Bruno called her “curvaceously delicious,” but said her hip action needs work and she should open up her “sex spot” (welcome back, Bruno!).

Oh, by the way, before we got their scores, Tom noted a tweet that flashed at the bottom of the screen, and said tagging a tweet with #DWTS could get your missive on the air too. We’re guessing he doesn’t know a lot of us watch TV to get away from the constant interaction of social media and we don’t necessarily care what Bob in Topeka has to say. (No offense, Bob. You’re the best.)

http://youtu.be/438PXn7JBZ4

Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya
Score: 23 out of 30 (8/7/8)

Jack said dancing with fiery redhead Anna will be a nice change of pace from all the blonde partners he’s had in his life (take that, Heather Locklear). As they rehearsed, Anna said Jack shouldn’t be so hard on himself, but he said he’s a perfectionist. Translation: if he lasts more than a couple weeks, you can probably expect to see him punching walls. Bruno and Carrie Ann liked his bland foxtrot, but Len thought his technique was just awful, so let the wall-punching commence.

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatoyd
Score: 21 out of 30 (7/7/7)

Donald, a Super Bowl-winning wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, has some serious chicken legs, but Peta was impressed with his dancing abilities. When they performed live, it was hard to notice what he was doing since Peta was wearing only what appeared to be a few strands of leftover Christmas tree tinsel, but the audience gave him a standing ovation and Carrie Ann said he has “charisma and charm for days.”

Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff
Score: 20 out of 30 (7/6/7)

Gavin is a singer who seems to have tragically lost the top of his head in some sort of industrial accident, because we’ve yet to see him without a hat. He was alternately wooden and scarecrow flail-y during his performance, but not as bad as his heavy-footed rehearsals might’ve suggested. Regardless, Bruno said he was too stiff, which elicited snickers from everyone because when Bruno says a word like that, double entendres abound.

Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower
Score: 23 out of 30 (8/7/8)

Roshon is a Disney star (teenaged girls, start your voting engines!) and claims to have experience as a freestyle hip-hop dancer – however, much to Chelsie’s chagrin, his dancing expertise wasn’t terribly apparent during rehearsals. But she choreographed some edgier moves into their cha-cha, and he did pretty well with them. Carrie Ann liked his “cool, youthful flavah,” but Len was Len and thus didn’t care for unconventional moves in a traditional dance.

http://youtu.be/aS7iNhuhtnI

Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy
Score: 23 out of 30 (8/7/8)

Sherri spends every day engaged in mindless chatter on ‘The View,’ so Brooke’s silly questions will be no match for her. She declared herself decidedly ungraceful and took great delight in pinching Val’s butt during rehearsals, which we’re sure didn’t make ABC’s lawyers nervous at all. The judges liked her foxtrot and loved her “joy,” with Len calling her “fun, fun, fun,” but all that enthusiasm is wearing on us already.

Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Score: 20 out of 30 (7/6/7)

Melissa, who played cute little Laura Ingalls on ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ has a shoulder tattoo! We love that, but we bet Pa wouldn’t approve of it one little bit. She’s had her back broken and been through a divorce in the past year, but still wanted the challenge of ‘DWTS.’ The judges complimented her on a “very ambitious” routine and said she has “great potential.”

William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Score: 24 out of 30 (8/8/8)

We’d never heard of William but the women in the ballroom went ballistic when he was announced, and Tom said he’s known as the Mexican Brad Pitt. (He looks a lot more like Ricky Martin, but since there’s already a Latino Ricky Martin, we guess calling him that would be redundant.) He can absolutely move, but he’s so undeniably gorgeous that he’d probably get votes even if he’d taken a bathroom break mid-dance. Bruno told him he had on too many clothes, and the audience members screamed their agreement. And okay, we kind of did, too.

http://youtu.be/172oP_FYni0

Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani
Score: 20 out of 30 (7/6/7)

Martina called herself a “tennis player,” which is little like a Ferrari calling itself a “car.” She’s a flat-out legend and still has the biceps to prove it, even if her greatest fear seems to be high heels. She claims not to have worn a dress in 20 years, but she rocked a sparkly ball gown during her foxtrot and did a perfectly respectable – if somewhat stilted – job. The judges called her “elegant,” but Len said she was “too careful” and told her to be as gusty on the dance floor as she is on the tennis court.

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Score: 26 out of 30 (9/8/9)

Katherine is a best-selling opera singer from the UK and cute as the proverbial button. Her foxtrot was stunning and the judges loved it, but since the rest of her total score will come from audience votes and she’s an unknown in the US, her personality will need to shine like the sun to get people to call in for her. Regardless, it was an amazing debut performance.

Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus
Score: 23 out of 30 (8/7/8)

Living icon Gladys was excited to finally be able to “dance like a Pip,” and after she loosened up a bit, girlfriend shook her stuff and was really quite good. The audience gave her a well-deserved and lengthy standing ovation, and the judges channeled the boys from ‘Wayne’s World’ in a “we’re not worthy” sort of way.

Jaleel White and Kym Johnson
Score: 26 out of 30 (9/8/9)

Jaleel is best known for playing Steve Urkel on the old sitcom ‘Family Matters,’ but he got kind of hot when we weren’t looking. In fact, his dancing was so good and so graceful that Bruno compared him to the late, great Gregory Hines, and even Len fell all over himself with compliments.

http://youtu.be/qamI617e4zo

And there you have it. See you next week.

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