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“Dancing with the Stars:” Week 1 Recap

September 25th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

The celebrities turned out in full force this week, but not just to see Neil Patrick Harris host the Emmys. This week marked the return of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, where an assortment of boldface names (some more notable than others) stepped onto the dance floor to have their moves critiqued by a trio of judges and America alike. With a lineup that includes everyone from former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin and Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin to Ultimate Fighting Champion Chuck Liddell and supermodel Kathy Ireland, this hodgepodge of talent led to some memorable moments, including the opportunity to see former House majority leader Tom DeLay do the cha-cha to “Wild Thing.” But in this first week of Dancing, the real standouts were the ladies. Below, the Hulu team wraps up three of our favorites, gives honorable mention to a newcomer with surprising potential, and says goodbye to the two stars who didn’t make the cut. — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

Surprise of the Week: Kelly Osbourne
Last we noticed, Kelly Osbourne was a foul-mouthed teen living in her parents’ chaotic household. (Remember all those dogs?) This week, we were treated to a kinder, gentler side of Osbourne as she performed the Viennese Waltz — one of the most ladylike dances of all — to a astonished panel of judges. She and partner Louis van Amstel turned and changed their way across the dance floor, moving her mother, Sharon, to tears and getting a “You did good,” from her proud father, Ozzy. It was enough to get judge Bruno Tonioli to exclaim, “The wild-child rock princess transformed into a vision of grace and elegance with a waltz of impeccable style.”

Controversy of the Week: Mya
To the untrained eye, R&B star Mya’s performance looked polished, elegant and effortless. But that wasn’t enough for judge Len Goodman, who called out her partner/choreographer, Dmitry Chaplin, on a technical detail: it wasn’t a true Viennese Waltz because incorporated the “American Smooth” style, instead. That said, he called Mya a fantastic dancer, and Carrie Ann Inaba praised her gorgeous lines. Despite the scandal, Mya’s tap-dancing past (not to mention all those music videos) really paid off. We think she’ll be one to watch this season.

Outlandish Costume of the Week: Joanna Krupa
One thing we’ve learned from “Dancing” is that these ballroom pros have closets full of memorable fashion. This week, it took a swimsuit model to make an outfit that seemed more Big Bird than salsa seem sexy. Decked out in fringed yellow pants, PETA spokesmodel Joanna Krupa mastered the hip shimmy and shake to get the crowd on its feet. “At last, we’ve seen a hot, smoking salsa,” declared Len Goodman — and he was right. Krupa was on fire, and another one to watch.

Best Effort of the Week: Louie Vito
A snowboard champion who’s currently training for the 2010 Olympics, Louie Vito doesn’t seem a natural fit for the “Dancing” spotlight — and he’d be the first to admit it, given his lack of dance experience. (In fact, he’d never seen the show before.) But his partner, Chelsie Hightower, worked with him to keep his shoulders straight and back, his toes pointed so that he’d look respectable on the floor. “That was a little surprise,” Inaba said. “You obviously have not danced before, but you respected the dance with an honest effort.” Goodman and Tonioli we’re quite so kind, however, dinging Vito for his shaggy hair. “So cute, like watching a little dancing Hobbit!”Tonioli exclaimed. While we don’t expect to see Vito in the finals, it will be fun to watch him progress with more practice.

Eliminations of the Week: Ashley Hamilton and Macy Gray
Ashley Hamilton (son of the perpetually tanned George Hamilton) and singer Macy Gray did their best, but neither mustered enough call-in votes to advance to the second week of competition. Hamilton seemed stiff and more focused on counting his steps, but needed finesse. Meanwhile, Gray, always a little off-kilter when she performs on stage, managed to show off some sass when called for, but the overall effect was more than a little unbalanced, like a tipsy aunt at a wedding. The judges were more kind, complimenting Gray on her genuine appeal and charm. “It was like watching a child take his first steps into a scary new world,” Tonioli said. “You touch people’s hearts, now you’ve got to start working on technique.”

Which performances do you think stole the show this week?

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