Week 1 on Dancing with the Stars: Premiere Party
Updated: Oct 3
Welcome to the 2022 season of Dancing with the Stars! After a great opening number, it was a fast-paced night of SIXTEEN COUPLES introducing themselves and taking to the ballroom for the first (and maybe the last) time! (cover photo for this post is from the @dancingwiththestars Instagram page)
Jordin & Brandon – Cha Cha 7/6/6/7
The theme for the premiere was “Premiere Party,” and each celebrity contestant selected an upbeat song that excites them. Jordin picked “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (which is often used in the premiere, but I don’t mind because it’s one of my favorite songs). She talked about picking that song because she loved it, and she previously worked with Whitney Houston and always felt encouraged by her, which I thought was sweet. I thought that Jordin and Brandon’s first dance went well, and that it was a fun opening to the season.
Sam & Cheryl – Foxtrot 5/5/5/5
Sam and Cheryl were delighted to be paired together, because ten years ago, she suggested he come on the show, and he’s finally here. His first dance was decent, yet low-scoring.
Heidi & Artem – Cha Cha 6/6/6/6
I didn’t say much about Heidi in my cast reactions, because I knew nothing about her. I had never seen her (or her daughter) on social media, and I hadn’t seen her family’s show. Her name on Wikipedia even redirects to her daughter’s page. But, before her first dance, Heidi said that she used to dance competitively, just like her daughter did. So, she can dance, and she did well in her first performance. She can and will definitely improve, though, and I agree with Derek’s note that she could have more “attack” in her dancing.
Daniel & Britt – 7/6/7/7
I really liked Daniel’s first dance! He had the choreography down, and he could lead! Later this week, I also realized that he was in the 2015 Broadway revival of Spring Awakening, and featured in this Tony performance that I’ve watched many, many times. I am looking forward to seeing more of Daniel as the competition goes on.
Jessie & Alan – Cha Cha 5/5/5/5
During Jessie’s DWTS debut, my watching buddy, my sister, was quick to remark on her attitude and facials. Jessie brought a lot of energy to the dance floor, but also has room to grow when it comes to harnessing that energy into controlling and fully mastering the moves.
Teresa and Pasha – Tango 5/5/5/5
This was a very slow tango, as most Week 1 tangoes are. I was almost distracted by the swirling camera work, which I assume was to control and redirect the viewers’ attention.
Wayne & Witney – Cha Cha 7/7/7/8
This was one of the most exciting dances of the night. Wayne brought an incredible energy that paired well with Witney’s. He will be a competitor to watch as the season goes on, especially as his technique gets better.
Cheryl & Louis – Cha Cha 6/5/5/5
Cheryl was really grooving in this fun performance! I loved her positivity and confidence. I was impressed. The judges made it clear that they enjoyed it as well, and that they were looking forward to seeing more from her.
Vinny & Koko – Salsa 4/4/5/4
While watching, it’s very easy to spot that Vinny got a little lost a couple times in the choreography, which was disappointing. I also think that he got a bit in his head and was thinking too hard about what he was doing while dancing. The judges were honest with him about his performance, but in a way that showed that they hoped for more from him, and that they think he is capable of more, once he gets over these initial obstacles. I agree, I think he has more to give.
Shangela & Gleb – Salsa 7/7/7/7
I mentioned that Derek asked for more “attack” from another contestant, and attack is definitely what Shangela brought to her and Gleb’s first dance! Dressed in the LOUDEST costumes you’ll ever see in your life, Shangela gave a performance that had me smiling the whole time!
Trevor & Emma – Quickstep 5/5/5/6
This guy makes a big deal out of being afraid of dancing, and they give him a quickstep for the first week? Not a choice I would have made. However, he did pretty well for his first performance. I think he and Emma chose to lean into his nerves by essentially not making him put on a brave face. His expression looked slightly panicked, but instead of throwing him off, it infused the piece with a frantic quality that fit with the character of the dance.
Gabby & Val – Jive 7/7/7/7
I love the jive, and Gabby gave an excellent, clean performance of the style. She will do well in this competition! I also loved her and Val's pink outfits.
Joseph & Daniella – 6/5/6/6
I always enjoy watching the athlete competitors, and Joseph is the athlete of this season! He’s a bodybuilder, though, so he’s going to have to learn to be more nimble and light on his feet. His jive was fun and exciting to watch, but it did look a little bit like he was stomping. Daniella did a great job with choreography, as usual.
Jason & Peta – Cha Cha 5/4/4/5
Jason seems like a very sweet guy who wants to do well on the show. Unfortunately, he struggled a lot keeping in rhythm during his routine, and I could see him leading with his heels during all of his steps (you're supposed to lead with the toes). He took the judge’s comments like a champ, though.
Selma & Sasha – Viennese Waltz 7/7/7/7
Selma is a unique contestant, because she has MS, and therefore has some mobility issues. Before her performance, she was open about how she may struggle on the show, while being optimistic about how challenging herself will benefit her. Selma and Sasha’s routine was absolutely beautiful. She held herself confidently and gracefully, and I’m so happy she had a successful performance.
Charli & Mark – Cha Cha 8/8/8/8
Charli is with Mark, who is one of my favorite pros on the show, because he always does well with creative choreography and concepts. Charli, who was a competitive dancer, did excellently, of course. I also really liked the choreography. Charli is famous for making dancing videos on TikTok, and I could see the subtle ways that Mark incorporated the style of movements you’d find in a TikTok dance in a cha-cha-cha that still felt authentic. I was impressed.
(do not read if you are avoiding spoilers!)
Unfortunately, there was an elimination at the end of the first episode. The final two couples were Teresa & Pasha and Jason & Peta. I would have been fine with either of them going, and the judges unanimously decided to save Teresa & Pasha, and to eliminate Jason & Peta.
I’m not as much disappointed at Jason being eliminated as I am at the decision to have an elimination on Week 1, as opposed to waiting until Week 2 like they usually do. I commend Jason for his all-around good attitude for his fleeting stint on Dancing with the Stars.
If you look at the stats for the entire premiere night, you’ll see what I saw: Most contestants did just okay during their first dance. However, there’s still a great amount of potential among this cast. I am looking forward to seeing EVERYBODY improve, and I am also very much anticipating Week 2’s theme night: Elvis Night!!