For the first time on Monday night’s premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” their youngest celebrity contestant ever, currently holds a commanding lead at 24. Zendaya, 16, the star of Disney Channel’s most popular show “Shake It Up” danced a flawless Contemporary routine with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Another first for the show was the debut of a third dance. In all past seasons the first night of competition either had the Cha-cha-cha or Foxtrot for the couples. Contemporary dance stems from modern dance and its other dancing forms. Those in Tampa Bay with Bright House Networks watched season 16’s opening night on WFTS, channel 11.
Another celebrity and crowd favorite who wowed on the dance floor was none other than Dorothy Hamill. The old Olympian, as she called herself, glowed from start to finish. Even her introductory short film talking about and tearing up when sharing her breast cancer diagnosis five years ago was especially moving. This was at the time Kristi Yamaguchi, a fellow Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, was competing on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Like Zendaya it was Hamill who also had the very challenging task of a Contemporary dance. She told a story with her partner Tristan MacManus through the music of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Hamill’s scores were 21 from the three judges. At the end of the night she’s in a three-way tie with young Olympian Aly Raisman and country singer Kellie Pickler who started off the show.
Some of the surprises during the premiere were boxer Victor Ortiz who also had a compelling backstory, much like Dorothy’s. His mother left him when he was 7, then his father left five years later. After that he’s been fighting ever since. In past seasons boxers have not done very well, but that is likely to change with Victor. He oozes charisma, personality, and charm. Not only that, he was impressive and light on his feet with the Foxtrot.
During the media hype when the cast was announced all eyes were on Aly Raisman. A lot was expected of her, though she doesn’t seem to exude any kind of personality like Hamill, Ortiz, Zendaya, Wynonna Judd, or anyone else for that matter. Next Monday night the couples dance again for your votes with the Jive or Quickstep. Then the combined results will be featured in their results show on Tuesday, March 26. It’s safe to assume Zendaya, Dorothy, Aly, and hopefully Victor are going to be around for a long time.