Dancing With The Stars: Lauren Alaina Cha-Chas Her Way Into America’s Heart on Season Premiere

Oh, those sneaky producers of ABC’s hit reality show Dancing With the Stars. Even though they announced the celebrity participants on August 21, fans of the show didn’t find out which professional ballroom dancers they were paired with until the season 28 premiere on September 16.

Hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews returned as hosts, as did
judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. However, viewers
learned that model, actress and entrepreneur Christie Brinkley had broken her
arm during rehearsals and would not be participating. Daughter and mini-me
Sailor Brinkley Cook stepped in as a last-minute replacement just three days
before the premiere.

And here is this season’s line-up:

CELEBRITY / PRO DANCERHannah Brown (The Bachelorette) with pro Alan BerstenKel Mitchell (actor and comedian) with pro Witney CarsonKate Flannery (The Office) with pro Pasha PashkovLamar Odom (two-time NBA champ/Los Angeles Lakers) with pro Peta MurgatroydLauren Alaina (country star and American Idol runner-up) with pro Gleb SavchenkoSailor Brinkley-Cook (model) with pro Val ChmerkovskiyKaramo (Queer Eye) with pro Jenna JohnsonRay Lewis (former Baltimore Ravens linebacker) with pro Cheryl BurkeMary Wilson (The Supremes) with pro Brandon ArmstrongAlly Brooke (pop singer) with pro Sasha FarberSean Spicer (former White House Press Secretary) with pro Lindsay ArnoldJames Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) with pro Emma Slater

FIRST PERFORMANCES:

HANNAH and ALAN: Cha-cha – Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”Len: “I saw lots of recognizable cha-cha-cha throughout that dance. It was crisp, it was clean, it was confident. It was a little bit unsteady now and again, but it was a wonderful way to kick off the show.” SCORE: 20 out of 30

KEL and WITNEY: Tango – Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker”Bruno: “You have the right attitude, determination, focus. And it was a real tango…you’re a little bit too jumpy and you went on the wrong foot, I think. Week one, great!”SCORE: 16 out of 30

KATE and PASHA: Cha-cha – Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money”Carrie Ann: “You are so clear and so sure-footed when you dance…you rush the music sometimes, you get in your head and you don’t hear the music. You gotta stay present. Great first dance.”SCORE: 15 out of 30

LAMAR and PETA: Foxtrot – Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”Len: “It’s so difficult when you’re as tall as you are. It just needed a little more smoothness and a little more elegance. I don’t think the Foxtrot is your dance. Come back next week with something a bit sassy.” SCORE: 11 out of 30

LAUREN and GLEB: Cha-cha – Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”Bruno: “Well, well, well! What have we got here? It was like watching a sultry, southern belle. You have a couple of very nice spins…At times you overlock your knees so instead of having the hip action traveling through your body, it stops. But overall, it was a very polished performance.” SCORE: 19 out of 30

SAILOR and VAL: Foxtrot – Billy Joe’s “Uptown Girl”Carrie Ann: “You have a poise, an incredible carefree spirit that moves through your dance…when she went in that first hold and that elbow was up and her shoulders were back, you’ve got a goldmine here.” SCORE: 18 out of 30

KARAMO and JENNA: Salsa – Lizzo’s “Juice”Len: “It was all a bit disappointing, really. Not enough hip action during those basic steps. It lacked a bit of rhythm. The lifts were terrific. Good job.” SCORE: 17 out of 30

RAY and CHERYL: Salsa – Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”Bruno: “You can definitely, definitely turn on the heat. You were ready to boil over, but you have to be very careful because you went wrong, you went on the wrong foot, you did a misstep, which we have to point that out, but a fantastic, charismatic performance.”SCORE: 15 out of 30

MARY with BRANDON: Foxtrot – The Supremes’ “Baby Love”Carrie Ann: “That was true elegance, true sophistication. You were built to foxtrot on our dance floor. You had a few mistakes that I have to point out…it’s so exciting to have you on our ballroom floor. It was very good.”SCORE: 17 out of 30

ALLY with SASHA: Cha-cha – Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home”Len: “There was a lot of hip thrusting and gyrating…there’s a lot of sort of Beyoncé stuff in there, which I’m not a fan of and you sort of got in each other’s way a bit…but you’re a very competent dancer.” SCORE: 16 out of 30

SEAN with LINDSAY: Salsa – The Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life”Bruno: “There were some elements of salsa there, not always on time or on rhythm. And your hip action, it looks like they were set in cement…but I have to say, it was strangely entertaining.”SCORE: 12 out of 30

JAMES with EMMA: Tango – Imagine Dragons’ “Whatever It Takes”Carrie Ann: “What a way to end the night. We have a leading man in the house. Style, technique and flavor all in one. You’ve got to point your toes when you do the rondes, but everything else was like damn!”SCORE: 21 out of 30

LEADERBOARD:

James
and Emma – 21Hannah
and Alan – 20Lauren
and Gleb – 19Sailor
and Val – 18Mary
and Brandon tied with Karamo and Jenna – 17Ally
and Sasha tied with Kel and Witney – 16Kate
and Pasha tied with Ray and Sheryl – 15Sean
and Lindsay – 12Lamar
and Peta – 11

It was an impressive first night of dancing for the celebrities
and pro dancers. A greater emphasis on technique is evident in this season’s
judging, but Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno were also complimentary on attitude and
fun.

Dancing With the Stars returns next Monday when the
couples will perform their second dance and the scores will be combined. However,
Tom has mentioned a twist in the elimination process, so tune in to see if your
favorite couple makes the cut!

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