Dancing with the Stars Fall Season 2015 Opener, Week 1 Analysis

Dancing with the Stars Fall Season 2015 Opener, Week 1 Analysis:

The fall season started strongly in front of El Capitan Theatre, in the street, with the pros joined by a huge flash mob. Great excitement and a fun way to open the show and the season! Hosts again are the ever-entertaining Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.

Tamar Braxton with pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy

Gary Busey with pro partner Anna Trebunskaya

Nick Carter with pro partner Sharna Burgess

Paula Deen with pro partner Louis Van Amstel

Victor Espinoza with pro partner Karina Smirnoff

Andy Grammer with pro partner Allison Holker

Hayes Grier with pro partner Emma Slater

Bindi Irwin with pro partner Derek Hough

Chaka Khan with pro partner Keo Motsepe

Alexa PenaVega with pro partner Mark Ballas

Carlos PenaVega with pro partner Witney Carson

Alek Skarlatos with pro partner Lindsay Arnold

Kim Zollciak Biermann with pro partner Tony Dovolani

Some contestants performed as though it’s week six; certain others seemed to have had only one lesson. Most judges’ scores were accurate; a few overshot the mark or slightly shortchanged a good performance. On this first night I felt both very impressed and very disappointed. Here’s what happened tonight, in the order in which the contestants appeared; my informed opinions of the performances, in order of the contestants’ appearances, the judges’ scores and mine follow.

Often, the first contestant gets cheated on scores. Not this time.

  1. Jockey Victor Espinoza: Salsa. Judges’ score 5. My score 5.

The negative: Lacked proper musicality, timing, sufficient rhythm, technique, posture/lines, follow-through, salsa content. Showed some rushed, jerky movements.

The positive: Nice, enthusiastic guy. Decent hip action. He may improve somewhat.


  1. Singer/host Tamar Braxton: Quickstep. Judges’ score 8. My score 8.

The negative: Footwork was a tad off at times, but WOW for week 1!

The positive: Energetic, confident, fun; animated face. Good timing/musicality/ technique. Good posture/lines overall, but needs some improvement. Good control, especially in such an unusually fast, challenging quickstep. She’ll keep improving. Keep an eye on her!


  1. Singer Chaka Khan: Cha-Cha. Judges’ scores 5-4-4 . My score 4.

The negative: A somewhat gimmicky opening. Timing/technique/musicality/confidence/ focus way off. Didn’t seem to have any rhythm. Didn’t appear to be nervous, so we can’t blame this poor performance on nerves.

The positive: She was lively and having fun. Even though she shows little promise, I hope that, if she isn’t voted off, she may manage to show at least minimal improvement.


  1. Teen Social Media Geek Hayes Grier: Cha-Cha. Judges’ score 7. My score 5.5.

The negative: Choreography too thin/simple/unnecessarily high-schoolish; downplayed his natural ability/musicality and he looked lazy. Emma should make him dance on the adult level and an adult topic, if that makes sense. Come on, Emma: You’re a better choreographer than what you showed tonight! The judges ridiculously inflated his score, which he did NOT earn. The opposite of last season’s topnotch Riker Lynch. Not sure whether I like his attitude but will give him a chance. My enjoyability rating of his dance was only a 1 out of 10.

The positive: So far I’m not very impressed, but he shows some promise.


  1. Singer Andy Grammer: Foxtrot. Judges’ score 7. My score 7.

The negative: Needs to work on technique in his feet.

The positive: What a genuinely nice, likeable guy! WYSIWYG! Entertaining and endearing. Nice, overall smooth. Good arms/hands/lines. A good job for week 1—I liked it. Impressive and will keep moving up.


  1. Domestic Diva Paula Deen: Quickstep. Judges’ score 5. My score 5.

The negative and the positive: Nervous, but it didn’t show much. Neck and shoulders were okay but ‘disconnected’ from the rest of her body and her feet. Too dependent on Louis. She still had fun, though, and a good attitude. She needs to settle down, focus, learn overall technique & foot placement, and put it all together. If she does that, I think she can improve.


  1. Actor/Singer Carlos PeneVega: Jive. Judges’ scores 8-8-7. My score 8.

The negative: Needs to keep focusing, learning technique, maintaining timing.

The positive: Very fun, upbeat, personable, likeable, energetic, good lines and technique. A natural for dance, with good rhythm/musicality. What a performer! Watch out for this guy!


  1. Actress Alexa PenaVega: Jive. Judges’ scores 7-7-8. My score 7.

The negative: Nervousness through off her timing early on, but she got back on track with Mark. Needs to watch her posture. Needs more practice, refinement, confidence.

The positive: Fun, energetic, great attitude. Good flicks! Good job! Keep improving.


  1. Atlanta Housewife Kim Zolciak Biermann: Salsa. Judges’ score 4. My score 4.

The negative: Extremely nervous and unconfident; almost uncaring. Slow robotics in a fog. Gave only 20% of her capability; could do much more. Was glad to see a little ‘fire’ coming from her during post-performance conversations; I look for improvement next week.

The positive: Cool costume! OK hip movement. Her determination will push her forward.


  1. Actress Bindi Irwin: Jive. Judges’ score 8. My score 8.5.

The negative: Will need to focus more on posture and lines.

The positive: Adorable girl—so real/WYSIWYG! Full of life, heart, and positivism, she lit up the ballroom. What a beautiful spirit! Good frame, footwork, arm/leg extensions, hands, kicks/flicks, hip movement, musicality, facial expressions, timing, technique, and flow. Endearing and delightful—love her! Stunning, esp. so early in the competition. Best dance of the night! This girl could win it all and would deserve it.


  1. Actor Gary Busey: Cha-Cha. Judges’ score 5. My score 4.

The negative and the positive: NO musicality/rhythm. Lacked sufficient focus, which is unlikely to change/improve. Anna carried too much weight in the performance and likely will continue to do so, if he stays, probably accompanied by gimmicks in their act. He had fun and is a nice man, but he shouldn’t be here. I feel rather embarrassed for him, and I hope that people aren’t making fun of him behind his back.


  1. Army Hero Alek Skarlatos: Foxtrot. Judges’ scores 8-7-7. My score 8.

The negative and the positive: Wow! A sweet guy who surprised us and thrilled us by doing a great job in only the first week. He showed the good rise and fall that we expect, good lines/follow-through/footwork/turns/technique. Very enjoyable! Impressive & promising! I loved it and can’t wait to see him again!


  1. Backstreet Boys Singer Nick Carter: Cha-Cha. Judges’ score 8. My score 8.

The negative: Seemed nervous and to need authentication. Needs to keep focusing, learning, improving techniques, and believing in himself so that he can show us the greater capability that lies beneath.

The positive: Good lines, musicality, rhythm, timing, technique, footwork, overall movement, adaptability. Well done! He shows great promise.

WHO WAS ELIMINATED TONIGHT? No one. Double elimination next week. (Please, just get the pain over with!)

WHO SHOULD GO HOME NEXT WEEK? Gary Busey and Chaka Kahn.

STATUS: I see the top performers and true contenders as being (not in a certain order):

  1. Alek Skarlatos
  2. Bindi Irwin
  3. Tamar Braxton
  4. Nick Carter
  5. Carlos PenaVega (and maybe his wife, Alexa)
  6. Andy Grammer

Till next time, have a good one. Same time, same channel next week! Meanwhile, share your thoughts and opinions of this first week’s performances, predictions, and more.

Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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