Dancing With the Stars Season Premiere: Most Fabulous First Week Ever?

donald driverHas it really been four long, dance-free months since the famous Mirror Ball trophy slipped through Ricki Lake’s (er, I mean Rob Kardashian’s) fingertips and landed in the hands of the ridiculously charming and undeniably inspiring J.R. Martinez?

Well your fasting period is over, ballroom revelers, because Dancing With The Stars returned for its 14th Season tonight, and it was a corker of a kickoff! Which couple is poised to make us weep? Who’ll seize the role of the entertainer? And who’ll incur our wrath? The early votes are already in!

I’ll be upfront, I entered the night partial to my girl Sherri Shepherd (with a soft spot for legendary tennis ace Martina Navratilova). If my all-time DWTS diva Kirstie Alley (the hottest mess ever to have multiple wardrobe malfunctions on live TV) managed to literally transform her body, soul and career on the ballroom floor, then is it wrong for me to hope for the same for my favorite sassy co-host on The View? (Sorry, Whoopi!)

Here’s everything you need to know about Week 1 of DWTS — which shockingly ended with head judge Len Goodman calling it the best first-week show of any season ever — all tidied up in three finely bundled packages:

Jocks in the Spotlight | Green Bay Packers star Donald Driver (pictured, top) already has a Super Bowl ring, but he’s made no bones about his desire for the Mirrorball Trophy. He and blonde bombshell partner Peta Murgatroyd set the ballroom floor on fire with a positively bootylicious Cha Cha (fussbudget Len said it was “overexcited,” but eh, whatever), and that spark helped ignite the rest of the night. Then it was Martina’s turn. Her old pal Monica Seles may have been a ballroom bust in Season 6, but I hope nine-time Wimbledon champ Navratilova manages to stay on the floor a little longer (um, practice up for next week, girl!). Beyond that, the 50-something Grand Slam champ looked absolutely fabulous, and hey, legendary rival Chris Evert was in the audience cheering her on! Sweet!

One-Liners of the Night | “I sometimes stiffen up at the wrong times, too.” That was Gavin DeGraw’s priceless response after Bruno noted that he shouldn’t “stiffen up at the wrong places” during his fox trot with Karina Smirnoff. Carrie Ann, for her part, went directly to the happy place after that one. And I loved Sherri’s “Woo, God is real!” after partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy told her to tighten up her butt and then encouraged her to feel his buns for inspiration. More priceless Sherri, post-dance: “Short of birthin’ my child, this is the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life… I think I left a boob on the floor; if somebody finds it can you give it back?!” And as for audience response, has a crowd ever gone so lasciviously wild as it did for telenovela hunk William Levy (pictured, below)? Yowza!
william levy dwts

Len Still Resides in Cranky Town | Our favorite curmudgeonly judge Len Goodman didn’t miss a beat heading into Season 14. Early on, poor Jack Wagner and Roshon Fegan got the beat down, and even though Donald Driver’s high-octane moves drove the audience into a frenzy, Len didn’t tamp down his best Debbie Downer impression. That said, should we expect anything less? I just wish he’d stop the “well done” schtick after the verbal spankings.

Judges’ Leaderboard (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total)
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson: 9, 8, 9: 26
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 9, 8, 9: 26
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 8, 8, 8: 24
Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy: 8, 7, 8: 23
Jack Wagner and: Anna Trebunskaya: 8, 7, 8: 23
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 8, 7, 8: 23
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus: 8, 7, 8: 23
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 7, 7, 7: 21
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 7, 7, 7: 21
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff: 7, 6, 7: 20
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani: 7, 6, 7: 20
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 7, 6, 7: 20

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the Season 14 debut? Who’s your early favorite so far? Who’s most likely to trash talk the judges (will Gavin make this a habit) next week? And who got overscored/underscored? Leave your comments! –Mitch Rustad

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Gaby says:

    I’ve been watching William Levy on telenovelas for years but tonight he was beyond hot. Words cannot even describe, atleast not in a PC way :)

  2. megant19@yahoo.com says:

    As a HUGE Packer fan and a huge Donald Driver fan, I was so happy to see how well he did! I’ve met him a couple times and he is the nicest, most genuine and down to earth celebrity I’ve ever come across. He signed one of his children’s books for my son and took time out to talk to us for several minutes. A truly class act – I used all 12 of my votes tonight for him!!

  3. Angela says:

    Hehe, somebody should have buckets of ice cold water standing by this season, if the reaction to William Levy was anything to go by (and this is my first time seeing him ever, I’d not heard of him before it was announced he’d be on “Dancing”. Um. Yeah. Watching him work the floor, I get the attraction, totally. He’s very sexy). William and Cheryl look great together and they’ve got a definite chemistry going right off the bat, so they’ll be very entertaining to watch, no question.

    So far the couples whom I think did particularly well were Jaleel & Kym, Maria & Derek (but that’s no surprise, really, considering it’s Derek), and Jack & Anna (can I say that Anna is adorable? I have a bit of a girl crush on her. She’s so gorgeous).

    And I’ll also root for Gladys and Tristian, simply ’cause Tristian’s adorable and I’d love to hear more of that Irish accent. Overall everyone did pretty well tonight, I was quite impressed. This season looks like it’ll be fun.

  4. The judges hate for Maks is getting ridiculous! Him and Melissa should have gotten higher scores. All in all though it was a good first show! Everyone is really good.

  5. sneakin says:

    I must have been drinking theDWTS kool-aid because I thought it was probably the best first night as well. Looking forward to Tristan. (Couldn’t watch last year because Nancy Grace literally makes my skin crawl. )

  6. x says:

    I really liked William Levy, he is the only reason Im watching. Team fuego FTW

  7. TwistAndShout says:

    Sherrie and Gladys surprised the spit out of me!! I looooooved them!! So sassehhhh! I also really enjoyed Roshon and Donald’s funky and energetic cha cha. I kind of want Roshon to get all the way to the finals if only to see what kind of freestyle he and Chelsie will come up with. And heavens to Murgatroyd!!! Peta is gorgeous and Donald is awesome! LOVE THEM. I also loved resident eye-candy William Levy and still charming Jaleel White. Cheryl has been my favorite since season 2 and Derek has always been my favorite ever since he first joined the show in s5 with Jennie Garth as his partner but, not gonna lie, I would love to see Gladys/Tristan or Sherrie/Val win the whole thing.

  8. TwistAndShout says:

    Also… after last year’s bad attitude, I’m glad Maks is at the bottom of the leader board. i’m sure he’s used to being a bottom anyway.

  9. I really have no interest in this show as a rule but this season wanted to see who was cast , GEEZ << William Levy !
    LOL , lets just say he has some really nice images out their in underwear that leaves nothing to the imagination :)

    One of the only times I went to the web to check out one of the Celebs dance :)!

  10. Liz says:

    I never heard of William Levy before, but Bruno was right about him wearing too much clothing.

  11. Lorie says:

    Fantastic season premiere! I can’t remember the last time I liked the entire cast. Groovin’ Gladys was a pleasant surprise, as was Donald (who was underscored). Having several sentimental favorites on the cast makes it hard for me to pick my #1 favorite right now. I want everyone to do well. I’ll be hard to see someone go next week.

  12. smidnite says:

    Team Jaleel!

  13. G says:

    I was thinking this is the best season opener I have seen, even before Tom and judges made comments to the fact. I missed a few seasons after the second season though I have now seen seasons three and the first part of four, but I have a hard time beliving the few I missed could measure up to this. It was so refreshing to not have the drama, and just have people that really appeared to be into the dancing and they did a terrific job. For all those people who aren’t watching this year because they didn’t like the cast, I really feel bad for them as they are going to miss what could be one of the most competitive and entertaining seasons yet.

  14. Kim R says:

    I too felt it was the best first show of DWTS ever! :) I can’t imagine who will go home, they all did so well. My least favorite was Jack (sorry Jack). I just didn’t feel it dawg (oops…wrong show!) I thoroughly enjoyed the entire 2 hours! I love Maks and I hope he can redeem himself from the effects of last season. I sensed a reserve with the judges and Maks himself seemed to be hiding behind Melissa, biting his tongue. :)

  15. Nicole says:

    I had stopped watching Dancing with the Stars the fast few seasons when they stopped being about the dancing and started being about drama and politics. I caught this episode because I love the cast and boy am I glad I did. That was by far the best opening show and this is the closest race for a long time. There should be some amazing dances this season!

    I loved them all but in general I felt the judges did a pretty good job this week in their leaderboard.

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