“Dancing with the Stars” kicked off season 18 with a new cohost, a new band director, a whole cast of new celebrities and a brand new look. It was louder, younger and more energetic than the show has been in the last few seasons. Looks like the makeover may be working, at least according to the March 17 report by Us Magazine. The recap contains spoilers if you haven’t seen the show yet.
Jason Derulo opened the show with a live version of his “Talk Dirty to Me” as the professionals danced with him. Host Tome Bergeron introduced his ne co-host, Erin Andrews and she was more comfortable in front of the cameras and while talking with the dance couples than Brooke Burke-Charvet ever was. Then the competition got under way.
NeNe and Tony
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani performed the Cha Cha Cha to "Give It 2 Me" by Robin Thicke. NeNe’s personality came out and she looked like she was having fun. She scored a 21 out of 30, earning a 7 from each judge.
James and Peta
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd were the big reveal in the personal drama area as they had briefly dated before and there was undoubtedly still chemistry between the two. They did a passable Foxtrot to One Direction's "Story of My Life" which earned them a 21 out of 30.
Danica and Val
Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy met and she was impressed by Val, acting like a teenager with a crush during their intro package. They also turned in a respectable Foxtrot to the Kelly Clarkson song "Walk Away" which merited the 24 out of 30 score they received, earning an 8 from each judge.
Sean and Karina
Sean Avery and Karina Smirnoff were given the task of performing a contemporary dance, no easy feat for hockey’s bad boy. The routine was done to Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know." The routine was respectable, earning 20 out of 30 points with a 7 from Carrie Ann and Bruno and a 6 from Len.
Billy Dee and Emma
Billy Dee Williams and Emma Slater paired the young dancer with the 77-year-old Star Wars actor who had a bad back and 2 hip surgeries under his belt. They Cha Cha Cha’d to the Star Wars theme with Emma dressed as Princess Leia but the kitsch factor wasn’t enough. The couple earned a disappointing 15 out of 30.
Meryl and Maksim
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy will be one of the couples to beat. Her ice dancing training won’t hurt in the least. They Cha Cha Cha’d to Icona Pop's "All Night." Meryl earned high praise from Len when he said, "You're nice on ice, but I'll tell you this -- you're good on wood!" Their score was 24 out of 30.
Candace and Mark
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas kept their contemporary dance simple but amazing. The mom of 3 wants to keep her costuming modest but her dancing had all the sizzle she needed. They incorporated a lot floor work into their routine set to Ellie Goulding's "Burn" which earned them a 25 – 8’s from Bruno and Len and a 9 from Carrie Ann.
Cody and Witney
Cody Simpson and Witney Carson impressed despite his tender age of 17. Being the youngest contender of the season could have advantages and disadvantages. The couple did a Cha Cha Cha to Pitbull's "Timber" that earned high praise from judges and a score of 22 out of 30.
Drew and Cheryl
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke danced a Foxtrot that allowed Drew to make the most of his 80 weight loss. The song was the Beatles' "Money (That's What I Want)." The couple earned 21 out of 30 points.
Amy and Derek
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough made the perfect pair. The Paralympian snowboarder danced as well as anyone who had both legs to stand on. Their Cha Cha Cha to One Republic's "Counting Stars" earned a standing ovation and brought the first tears of the season to Carrie Ann’s eyes. They earned a 24 out of 30.
Diana and Henry
Diana Nyad and Henry Byalikov proved Diana was amazing out of the water as well as in it. The long distance swimmer was a little unsure of herself in dance shoes but gave an acceptable Foxtrot set to "Somewhere Beyond the Sea." The judges awarded them 18 out of 30 points.
Charlie and Sharna
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess were the other couple expected to do well and they didn’t disappoint. Their contemporary routine blew everyone else out of the water. The routine was set to Passenger's "Let Her Go" and was a thing of beauty filled with intricate moves and lifts. They got the highest score of the evening, a 27 out of 30.
Next week, each couple will dance a style of dance that the celebrity identified as being the one they looked forward to the most.
“Dancing with the Stars” will return, Monday, March 24 on ABC.
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