Reality stars, musicians, actors, athletes and even a politician's daughter put it all out on the ballroom dance floor last night (Sept. 20) for the season 11 premiere of ABC's hit dancing competition, "Dancing With The Stars."
Celebrities alternated between the Cha-cha-cha and Viennese Waltz dance routines and among those competing were: Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, raspy crooner Michael Bolton, Bristol Palin, R&B diva Brandy and "Dirty Dancing" actress Jennifer Grey.
Sorrentino really did have a situation on his hands. The third season of "The Jersey Shore" didn't finish filming until a week before the DWTS premiere - leaving him with only five days to nail a routine the other contestants had weeks to perfect. The lack of preparation showed - despite Sorrentino's efforts to compensate with 80s inspired finger pumps - and his Cha-cha-cha "lacked polish," according to the judges.
Bolton had a smoother go with his Viennese Waltz, but not by much. His professional dance partner Chelsie Hightower had her work cut out for her with trying to improve the singer's posture - even threading his arms through the "posture bar" for practice didn't help. Judge Len Goodman informed Bolton that the most important thing about Week one was just to "get through it," which he was able to do. Hopefully he'll listen to Cary Ann Inaba and learn to smile for next week's Latin routine.
Palin, daughter of Republican poster woman Sarah Palin, was nervous about not being an entertainer before hitting the ballroom floor but showed that she's got just as much shimmy as any other celebrity in the competition. In a short, shimmering red dress, Palin shook her hips and showed off those legs for the Cha-cha-cha to prove that even conservatives know how to show a little skin and get down.
R&B singer-and-actress-turned-reality-star Brandy put herself as the one to beat in last night's competition. Brandy performed a Viennese Waltz in a champagne colored dress. Her lines were gracefully elegant and she had some of the best footwork of any of the celebrities, only getting distracted once when waving to her family in the audience. Brandy told Billboard.com earlier this week that she hopes to be the one to help her pro-partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy win the Mirror Ball Trophy this season (Chmerkovskiy made it to the finals of Season 10 with partner Erin Andrews).
Jennifer Grey - known more popularly as Baby from "Dirty Dancing" - received the top score of 24 for the evening. Grey got a little emotional during rehearsals when her partner Derek Hough's (who won Season 10 with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger) choreography reminded her of dancing with Patrick Swayze. She was able to pull it together for a "profound" Viennese Waltz that would move Inaba to tears. Will her clear lyrical talent translate to a good jive for next week though? We shall see.
The results of last night's performances will be announced on tonight's (Sept. 21) episode of DWTS which airs on ABC at 8 p.m.