DWTS Season 19 Premiere Recap: Who Rocked? Who's at Risk?

DWTS Season 19 premiere recap

Season 19 of Dancing With the Stars began (somewhat inexplicably) with images of Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England, a woman who has never thrown her hands in the air (and waved ’em round like she just don’t care).

But that wasn’t the only surprising incident during the two-hour premiere: designer Betsey Johnson dropped an old-fashioned F-bomb (and no, “F” does not stand for “fashion”); the fourth judge nobody asked for, Julianne Hough, openly flirted with at least three male contestants while somehow managing to stay one exhalation away from having her breasts explode out of her deeply unfortunate neckline; and incoming pro Allison Holker (whose specialty isn’t actually in ballroom) stamped herself as Most Likely Post-Season Breakout Star. (Hey, if Derek can get a major arc on Nashville, there’s no reason ABC shouldn’t be looking at So You Think You Can Dance grad Allison for a Fall 2015 pilot, no?)

RELATED DWTS Season 19: Who’s Likeliest to Win? Check Out Our Odds!

That said, much of the proceedings were completely predictable: Derek once again scored himself someone young and lithe and able to execute difficult steps, while Tony found himself paired with the septuagenarian. Certain celebs immediately found themselves in the judges’ good graces (Tommy Chong, Tavis Smiley) and scored higher than folks who, by any criteria, had outdanced ’em (Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Johnson, to be specific).

But let’s cut to the chase and give out our own awards for the Season 19 premiere:

RELATED Fall TV Spoilerpalooza: Exclusive Scoop and Photos From 42 Returning Favorites

DANCE OF THE NIGHT
Alfonso Ribeiro and pro Witney Carson: Yes, childhood Broadway star Alfonso is a ringer, and yes he got the coveted pimp spot, but dude danced his Jive with such effervescent energy and precision, I found myself involuntarily hooting and hollering throughout his routine.

RUNNER-UP FOR DANCE OF THE NIGHT
Janel Parrish and pro Val Chmerkovskiy: The Pretty Little Liars‘ star may have been a little wild with her Jive technique, but there wasn’t a single performer among the season’s 13 celebs who attacked her/his routine with such delicious gusto and wicked abandon. She might be the Season 19 dark horse.

MOST CRIMINALLY UNDERSCORED
Betsey Johnson and pro Tony Dovolani: At 72, Johnson proved limber, enthusiastic and incredibly enjoyable — her only glitch coming in the final seconds thanks to a feather-boa malfunction that wasn’t even her fault. Unlike Michael Waltrip, Sadie Robertson and Tavis Smiley, Johnson’s routine had far more technique and no time-wasting gimmicks that allowed her to sit back and relax early on in the number.

WORST OF THE NIGHT
Lolo Jones blamed an errant cue for messing with her rhythm — and she truly was the night’s biggest disappointment — but she still had more technique and charisma than malfunctioning robots Smiley and Chong.

SHOULD BE AT RISK: Tommy Chong, Lolo Jones, Tavis Smiley (Tavis going home)
WILL BE AT RISK: Betsey Johnson, Tavis Smiley, Michael Waltrip (Betsey going home)

JUDGES LEADERBOARD (Carrie Ann, Len, Julianne, Bruno)
Alfonso Ribeiro and pro Witney Carson
9, 9, 9, 9 — 36

Sadie Robertson and pro Mark Ballas
8, 8, 9, 9 — 34

Bethany Mota and pro Derek Hough
8, 8, 8, 8 — 32

Lea Thompson and pro Artem Chigvintsev
8, 8, 8, 8 — 32

Randy Couture and pro Karina Smirnoff
8, 7, 8, 8 — 31

Jonathan Bennett and pro Allison Holker
8, 7, 7, 8 — 30

Janel Parrish and pro Val Chmerkovskiy
7, 7, 7, 8 — 29

Tavis Smiley and pro Sharna Burgess
7, 7, 8, 7 — 29

Tommy Chong and pro Peta Meurgatroyd
7, 6, 7, 7 — 27

Michael Waltrip and pro Emma Slater
7, 6, 6, 6 — 25

Antonio Sabato, Jr. and pro Cheryl Burke
6,6,6,7 — 25

Lolo Jones and pro Keo Motsepe
6, 6, 5, 5 — 22

Betsey Johnson and pro Tony Dovolani
5, 5, 5, 5 — 20

What did you think of the DWTS Season 19 premiere? Who will go home? Who should go home? And who are your early faves? Sound off in the comments!

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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73 Comments
  1. Angela says:

    Tommy Chong dancing to a Snoop Dogg song made me laugh my friggin’ @ss off. Nice choice, people in charge of the music. I liked Tom’s comment about him looking like the Most Interesting Man in the World, too :D. I thought he didn’t do too bad, but yeah, there’s others who will clearly be sticking around much longer than him.
    Alfonso was brilliant. Yeah. He’s already a frontrunner for that trophy, no question. Agreed on Janel, too, she’ll be one to watch. And I know everyone’s got their feelings about Derek and whatnot, but I’m just going to put all that debate aside and say that Bethany did do really well tonight.
    I also really liked Randy! The female judges fawning was a little much at times tonight, but in that particular case I couldn’t exactly disagree with them-the guy was a charmer! I could see him being something of a dark horse in this competition if he continues to improve on what he did tonight. He’ll be on my “to watch” list, too.
    Overall, not too bad a night tonight. This could shape up to be a pretty fun season, I think.

  2. Emmy says:

    All I have to say is that Jonathan Bennett is the most adorable person ever. Also, I thought the biggest surprise of the night was Randy…that guy is the new twinkle toes!

  3. Stacy says:

    I think Lolo Jones should be the one to go. The only thing worse than her dancing was her attitude.

    • Pita says:

      I completely agree, Lolo had a nasty attitude. I couldn’t belive it, she could have at least smiled & showed that she had fun & wants to be in the show.

      • JenInChicago says:

        I don’t agree at all. I think she was upset. It wasn’t her fault that the music started before her cue. Don’t forget, dancing is about timing and she’s not a professional. Something like that really throws people off their game.

        I’d rather see her showing true emotion than smiling and putting on a fake face just for the cameras.

    • Kim R says:

      Completely agree. Yikes! I noticed some cut away shots of her as well. She just looked mad. I was kind of confused about her text explanation.
      I have to say that I enjoy the show. I don’t watch and try to pick apart all that may seem wrong. I just like the dancing. Yes, there was some bad dancing and there was some great dancing. It is night 1. I don’t get the negative stuff about Derek or Mark. All the pros are so talented . They wouldn’t be there is they weren’t. :)

      • Jan says:

        Did you especially notice the sour look on Lolo’s face when reference was being made to Sadie’s daddy having to okay her outfits? She probably thought her comments pre-dance about being a virgin had the “good girl role” wrapped up for her.

    • Juju says:

      Agreed. She and her attitude ought to go.

  4. S says:

    “Julianne Hough is the fourth judge nobody asked for”……Michael Slezak, you just made my evening!!! I think “Julianne’s Unfortunate Cleavage” can be a drinking game this season (and maybe the only reason to watch DWTS this season…haha!)

    • leigh says:

      Her boobs will be on all season? They may have to up the parental ratings then.

    • Juju says:

      Thank you, thank you! She was awful, her boobs were a disgrace, SHE was a disgrace with all the panting over the male celebs, and I ain’t watching while she and her boobs take over the table. I suspect Carrie Ann won’t be happy with that hot mess of desperation attempting to steal focus at her table, though. They were both gross last night and Bruno wasn’t far behind.

      • sm says:

        Seriously? She’s no worse than Carrie Ann! And at least she has a background in professional/competitive ballroom dancing. I don’t always agree with her, but at least she was giving some constructive critiques.

      • bobbi6484 says:

        Couldn’t agree more! I was embarrassed to be female watching them. Definitely not what they are there to do.

  5. Ron D says:

    All i care about this season is an entertaining and fun season and one where Derek doesn’t make it to the final week. Is that too much to ask? Seriously, Derek, get a clue and retire from DWTS already or can’t your humongous ego that refuses to adhere to the rules handle the truth?

    • Scott MacD says:

      Jealous much? Derek Hough has been the only reason for watching this otherwise vulgar, tacky show from the start! Read his book, and you might learn something about humility. Watch him dance, and you might realize what pure genius is.

      • Sarcasm Too says:

        I don’t think it’s a matter of jealousy, it’s a matter of redundancy and boredom. What fun is a show when it becomes predictable. Predictable that Derek either dances last or next to last and predictable that he never gets anyone with two left feet. It’s predictable that Tony will always get the oldest female in the group and it’s predictable that Mark always gets someone controversial (Duck Dynasty, really:), so yeah, maybe Derek shouldn’t retire but surely he can get another gig since he’s ever so popular.

        • Kathy B says:

          I can’t believe you say he “never gets anyone with two left feet”! Last season he got someone with NO feet. And the season before he got someone who was a lovely girl but was chubby. And he still did great. Just admit it – Derek is a great choreographer and is even better at finding his partner’s strengths and building the dance around them. REALLY getting tired of all the Derek (and Julieanne for that matter) haters!!

          • juliebug04 says:

            I love Derek–he is a brilliant choreographer, and I would think that most contestants would LOVE to work with him. He has a gift for playing to his partner’s strength, rather than just teaching steps, which brings about a much better routine.

            Now, Julianne, not so much. I loved her as a dancer on the show, but I have no use for her or her implants as a judge. Last night, it was relatively tame, other than the inappropriate amount of cleavage, but she has been very rude to other dancers in the past and it makes the contestants uncomfortable–you can see it on their faces. But, even without that, I just think it’s unnecessary to have her all the time. I want to watch the DANCING, not listen to the judges blather on and on….

          • KEn says:

            I agree 100% Maybe Derek is the one that makes his partners so good… Ricki Lake??? Amber Riley… They don’t make it to the finals without Derek

          • Sarcasm Too says:

            Those are the breaks sister. You’re tired and sick of it…don’t read. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, not just those who are not only obsessed with Derek, but vote NOT for his partner, but for him. So get over yourself. I happen to think there are many brilliant choreographers on the show. They just don’t get pimped nor do they get pimp spots.

          • you’re foolish………that girl didn’t have legs but she was very talented;look up what “two left feet” means and get a clue;or perhaps,figurative language is above your head!

        • Lee says:

          I couldn’t agree more! Poor Tony deserves better than the partners he has been getting!

        • bobbi6484 says:

          He’s got another gig. ABC has given him a role on Nashville!

      • Johana S says:

        Well said !!!!!!!!!! Deresk is a geniussss.

    • Sarcasm says:

      Yeah, the pro who is so popular he manages to make it to the finals every season should “take a clue” and retire. I mean clearly no one wants him there.

    • chistosa says:

      Sorry Ron D I serioiusly disagree. Derek is one of the most popular pros and I personally look forward to all his performances. He choreographs in a way that hides his partners’ defects and plays to the strengths. And last year he had a partner with no legs and people still criticized that he gets the best dancers. Clearly it will be forever a debate but I am not alone in appreciating his talents and looking forward to his freestyle in the finals.

  6. Diane says:

    Lol lo or Betsy needs to go. I feel sorry for Tony and the new pro with Lolo.

  7. Wire Dream says:

    Oh lawdy Jesus Christ our savior, Sadie!!! Don’t y’all family be knowin’ that there be dem homos on this show – including your partner?!?!?! What will your hate-mongerin’ family do when they realize that!

    • Really tired of people calling Christians with an opinion hate mongers…we aren’t!! Also tired of liberals saying they are tolerant…when they aren’t…you can have an opinion…as long as it agrees with theirs.

      • Angela says:

        Nothing wrong with having an opinion. But if one’s opinions involve uninformed, ignorant comments about a segment of the population based solely on the fact that they have relationships with others of the same gender as them, then those uninformed, ignorant comments are going to be called out for what they are. In this day and age, there’s really no reason to continue to show ignorance when it comes to the topic of homosexuality (there’s no reason for it at any time, mind, but given how open people are about the topic nowadays, and all the things one can now learn and understand about homosexuality, clinging to outdated views on the topic seems even more ludicrous as a result)
        And people do not have to be tolerant of ignorance and prejudice. I wouldn’t be tolerant of the worldview of a racist or a sexist, so I’m not going to be very patient and accepting of homophobic comments, either. If one can’t deal with that…tough. It has nothing to do with making others agree with our views, it has to do with simply wanting others to treat people like normal human beings worthy of respect and equal rights.
        Now, having said all of that, I don’t think it’s fair to attack the family at large for the opinions of a particular member. The rest of the family may agree, they may not agree, I don’t know. But either way, to my knowledge Sadie hasn’t said anything on the matter, so she doesn’t need to be dragged into that debate.
        And that’s all I will say on this topic.

      • Luke says:

        You completely contradicted yourself. If it’s wrong to call Christians hate-mongers – it is just as wrong for you to call Liberals intolerant – This is why people don’t get along – they call out people for being judgmental, then in their next breath, do it themselves.

    • Nick says:

      This comment is ridiculously uninformed but on top of all that, I’m pretty sure Mark Ballas is straight.

  8. colleen says:

    I didn’t realize Julianne Hough’s cleavage was going to be the 5th judge this year.

  9. Zach Keller says:

    I think some of the things in this article are unfair to say but it is mostly accurate. However I truly think Lolo blew it and will be going home tomorrow night. I think Betsy has the fans to pull thru for her when the results come.

  10. brad says:

    besides the inflated scores, that was a surprisingly great premiere episode! i wasn’t looking forward to this cast at all, but now i like all of them (some more than others, of course). with the scoring, i thought antonio was appropriately scored, but then everyone who followed (with the exception of betsey and janel) were over-scored. they were all still entertaining, but throwing out seventeen 8’s and six 9’s in the first episode kind of feels like there is no room for growth for these contestants. as a viewer, i like to see improvement. my favorite routine of the night was tommy’s! from the setting to the music to the costumes, it was so perfect! of course, i also enjoyed alfonso and janel. jonathan’s wonderment was amazing to witness, i have a feeling lea is going to be a front-runner, and randy and tavis were surprisingly smooth! i also feel bad for lolo and hope she gets at least one more chance to redeem herself. if i had to pick someone to go home, it would be michael.

    • Kim R says:

      Haha! I stopped reading the article when I realize it was in the tone of the Idol recaps. Kind of snarky, which I enjoy mostly but not in this case. I just want to read a recap, not so much the snark. I thought it was a great first show. It is what DWTS is! :)

  11. Vanessa F says:

    I think your article is spot on about tonight’s Season Premiere. Honestly, I was so distracted by Julianne’s boobs and felt like that dress was in poor taste. Both Tom and Len made comments about it in their own way. I’ve always been a fan of Julianne’s talent and spunk, but I’m disappointed in what she’s choosing to put out there.

  12. Lily says:

    I thought Alfonso Ribero was the best. I’m already voting for him. I thought Lea Thompson was also good. All the young girls were good but I already can’t stand that Bethany Mota and the gal who dance with Val got on my nerves. I guess I like people a bit more humble.

    • Ruthie says:

      I already can’t stand that Bethany person, either! Did you see how she was scowling, while putting on a show of clapping for Alfonso or whoever it was? She was clapping because everybody else was, but it was obvious it was all for show. I actually like Val’s partner, but I don’t know why they had her in hooker boots. I USED to like Julianne, but can’t stand her OR her boobs anymore. WHY did she turn into a bimbo?

      • I agree and posted that on another site. She had the B-face for any other dancer that she deemed better than she and Derek. She thought that she had it in the bag with Derek for a partner, and last night she found out differently.

        • Lily says:

          I was glad that Mark and his partner as well as Alfonso Ribiero scored highest but I thought Lea Thompson should have scored higher than Bethany as well. I like Mark. I think he’s a fabulous choreographer and I hope that the girl is judged for herself not for anyone she is related too.

  13. mackmack says:

    the show was much more entertaining than I expected…but my expectations were pretty low.
    I think there are at least 2-3 that are very promising. So I guess I’ll at least be taping the show and skipping some.
    Lolo was so stiff and boring . I would send her home. Betsey was at least a hoot watch.

  14. Jules says:

    Lolo needs to be the 1st one to go. .her dance was terrible and her attitude the rest of the night was disgraceful!

    • CMarie says:

      Agreed! I’m glad someone else saw her dwelling and being negative in the background. I feel bad for her partner though – he’s brand new and clearly very talented and got stuck with a dud.

  15. Maryann says:

    To me, the most shamefully underscored contestant of the night was Antonio Sabatro, Jr. It kind of felt like it had something to do with the performance order, that his was the first dance of the night and the judges hadn’t warmed up yet. And the weakest link? Lolo, followed by the racing driver, whose name has escaped me. The fashion designer also made a very poor impression, but after the terrible prop malfunction, I would like to see her dance again before really making a decision about the quality of her dancing.

  16. JR1234 says:

    Sigh….I miss the Harold Wheeler Orchestra so much. The music is terrible now.

  17. Beth says:

    I quit watching this show for the simple fact Derek & Mark ALWAYS gets the young star, while poor Tony gets the old ones. I will not watch this show again until they fix this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Johana S says:

      Uhmm, Val also always gets young couples…ALWAYS…Elisabetta Canalis, Kelly Monaco, Zendaya, Elizabeth, Danica and now Janell…

      • luvmypup says:

        It’s true that Val has always gotten a partner that is young and attractive. Derek has gotten some partners with various challenges. However, it doesn’t bother me if Val and Derek get good partners, because they are both excellent choreographers, excellent dancers, and excellent teachers. I want to enjoy their dancing as many episodes as possible. I also thought Val and Janel were underscored. They deserved a little higher.

    • KEn says:

      ummm Jennifer Grey… Ricki Lake, are not young girls

  18. ka says:

    Ok, NO OFFENSE, but Lolo staring into space is reason enough to send her packing! Sorry, sad but true!

  19. Lee says:

    I believe DWTS’s has officially jumped the shark! When the highlight of the night is seeing Cheech drive Chong onto the dance floor….enough said! Don’t get me started on the judges! It was a train wreck all the way around and I will not be watching the rest of the season.

  20. Lee says:

    The judges should at least learn how to pronounce the pro’s names! I was appalled by the stupidity of Carrie Ann Inaba not knowing Keo’s name! Cringeworthy moment!

  21. Johana S says:

    And why do you refer only to the young couple of Derek if Val also always gets young couples and has never had older as Derek had to Jennifer Grey.

  22. Iakovos says:

    Send Lolo home! She was so wooden and seemed so sour through the night. Waltrip and Smiley could go, too. Johnson and Chong have some entertainment value for a few weeks yet. Cannot really tell the pretty young things apart. Thompson was a delight. Thought Randy Couture was the night’s surprise. YUM!

  23. Jan says:

    I really enjoyed Jonathan Bennett because of his enthusiasm. Wasn’t surprised by Lolo Jones coming up with excuses … she’s always done that on the track, when she’s lost! This season is going to be more entertaining than I expected. Michael, I loved your comment about Julianne’s dress; it was pathetic!

  24. Nick says:

    Two words:

    Alfonso. Ribeiro.

    ’nuff said.

  25. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    Watched this last night back and forth btw Master chef and that Lolo Jones should be voted OUT WTF. Tommy Chong and that Peta girl their dance made me laugh i’m mean pin point everything the color ”green” her dress looked like weed plants and of course the Snoop Dogg song!

  26. I think either Lolo or Betsey will go home, hoping it’s Lolo, though. My three favorites were Alfonso, Sadie, and Lea.

  27. Connie says:

    Why did you allow Michael Waltrip to curse not once but twice. The word “bastard” was uncalled for & he is the reason I tuned in. They don’t allow in NASCAR so why does ABC & Dancing With The Stars. Families are watching.

    • JenInChicago says:

      I believe that the word “bastard” appears in the bible. I thought people who read that book don’t consider it to be swearing as long as it appears in “the good book”.

  28. JenInChicago says:

    The production value/direction of last night’s show was embarrassing. Cameras cutting to celebs who were talking to crew, crew members in entire live shots, weird camera switches, etc.

    The crew is entirely to blame for Betsey Johnson and Lolo Jones’ issues on the dance floor. You simply can’t have that on a competition show.

    I felt genuinely bad for Lolo Jones. She’s an athlete. She trains to win – whether or not she succeeds, she does and no one can argue that fact. To me, she was upset because – of no fault of her own – her routine got messed up by production errors. Unfortunately, people see her dour face and assume she’s mad and angry when I saw someone who failed on live TV doing a routine she had down pat – due to something that she couldn’t control, yet she got penalized. The cameras kept panning to her and she’s not a professional actor/performer. She doesn’t realize that she has to be “on” at all times and be wary that the camera is always going to be trained on her.

    The same thing goes for Betsey – Tony loosened the boa, yet production/crew secured it with a hook so it wouldn’t come off the rack. Come on, people.

    Isn’t there a new producer/showrunner?

  29. Mitsi Lugo says:

    Why don’t people practice what they preach? Give Sadie a chance and judge her on herself and not by what someone in her family said. Lots of you instantly hate her because her family is Christian and something her grandfather said. You called his comments ignorant but they are the same views that half of this country has. Seriously judge her for herself ….the same thing that you demand that other people do for you!

  30. Mitsi Lugo says:

    You know, after DWTS I sat and read on twitter how Sadie was called the C word and several people wished death on her and her family. Quite a few prayed that she be decapitated on live TV. How is it Christians are always called mean, hateful, intolerant, ignorant? Most have lots of friends and family members that are gay and aren’t just friends…they love them very much! The way the militant gays and liberals spew hate is what keeps the country divided on this…not what some Christian believes about legal marriage….geez! I have plenty of loved ones that are gay so don’t even start with me! It’s just embarrassing how judgemental you are to others!

  31. why does Mark always get people with weird Republican ties…??!!

  32. Martha RN says:

    Everything is good except the host. Erin makes such bold remarks to dancers that is uncalled for. If she would talk to me the way she does sometimes, she would get a well deserved slap.