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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 09/25/2012

‘Dancing With the Stars: All Stars’ premiere: Sarah Palin shows up, Kirstie Alley kisses Tom Bergeron

The all-star season of “Dancing With the Stars” kicks off with a few statistics: So far, the show has had 14 seasons; 162 stars; more than 1,000 dances; 302 awkward interviews courtesy of co-host Brooke Burke Charvet; 212 double entendres from judge Bruno Tonioli; 16 temper tantrums by Maks Chmerkovskiy; and about a billion sparkly sequins. (Note: The last four items on that list might be guesses.)



This photo serves no purpose in this recap except to ask — doesn’t this picture look like a fever dream? (Craig Sjodin - ABC)

There are 13 contestants, so there’s no time to waste on the first performance night of the season. But wait! There is time to remind everyone that the delightful Tom Bergeron just won Best Reality Competition Show Host during Sunday night’s Emmy Awards. Expect everyone to treat him with the utmost respect tonight.

NSYNC member Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

First up is pop singer Joey Fatone, and we’re reminded that there’s going to be a boy band rivalry this season (thanks to a shot of Nick Lachey in the crowd, presumably there to root on his brother, former boy bander Drew.)

Joey won second place in Season 4, right behind Apolo Anton Ohno, who also happens to be competing this season. Joey launches into practice mode right away with Cheryl, and they’re wearing matching tracksuits. We see some light physical comedy — she kicks Joey in the face, he nearly hits her when he leap-frogs over her head.

Joey doesn’t quite have the skill set that he did circa 2001, when a certain WaPoTeamTV recapper may have seen him him break out some serious dance moves at a sold-out concert at Browns Stadium in Cleveland. Anyway, he’s exhausted by the end of the routine. “I can’t breathe!” he gasps when it’s over.

The judges are introduced; Len Goodman says the judging will be tougher this season — and to prove it, they’re switching to a “half point” system. The nerve! Anyway, Len says Joey gets season off to a spectacular start, but needs to work on his posture. Bruno Tonioli roars, “You always bring it on and bring it large!”

Carrie Ann says Joey is one of her favorite showman. We never get to hear the rest of her thoughts, as Bergeron cuts her off when it looks like she’s about to launch into a long, long speech. There’s a reason he’s an Emmy-winning TV host.

Scores: 6.5, 7, 7 for a total of 20.5 points.

Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough

Dance: Fox Trot

Shawn frets about her new partner — last time, she had Mark Ballas, and now it feels like she’s cheating on Mark with Derek. “You’re just divorced — I’m your new husband,” Derek assures her. Having retired from gymnastics at the ripe age of 20, Shawn shows off a few tricks while Derek mulls over what it will be like being partnered with the youngest dancer in the competition.

She smoothly completes the routine. “That’s what a retiree can do,” Bergeron says, as she walks over to hear her scores. Bruno calls her a “precious little princess,” and gushes that the performance was like getting two dances for the price of one. Carrie Ann is still miffed at Bergeron for cutting her comments off before, but then gets over it, and tells Shawn that she looooved the dance. Len, as usual, is a more prickly, and says that he knows Shawn’s a terrific dancer, but this particular dance didn’t feel like a fox trot.

Scores: 8, 6.5, 7.5 for a total of 22 points.

Singer Sabrina Bryan and Louis Vam Amstel

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

Apparently last time when the former “Cheetah Girl” actress was on in Season 5, she was eliminated in week six, which Bergeron calls the most surprising elimination in the show’s history. Sabrina, voted as the 13th and final contestant by viewers, says she feels like she has a lot to prove this time around.

She and Louis fly through the cha cha cha, and she looks like she fiercely wants to win. “There’s nothing like a woman scorned,” Carrie Ann tells her, saying that she over-danced, and it threw off her balance. Len agrees, and adds that the dance had a lot of impact, but so does a hammer — and dance needs finesse.

Scores: 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 for a total of 22.5.

Racecar driver Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower

Dance: Fox trot

The Season 5 winner is back to try and win another hideous-yet-coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. We see a few adorable shots of his daughter, who want to be a dancer, and Helio says he prefers that to her being a race car driver. He swears to Chelsie that he’s going to work as hard as he can.

However, Helio’s going to need to work a little harder than that. His fox trot looks fine, but also like he’s forgetting some of the steps. Sure enough, despite the audience giving him a standing ovation before he even starts dancing, the judges note that he made some technical mistakes, though he was “mostly” a joy to watch.

Scores: 7, 7.5, 7 for a total of 21.5 points.

Model Pamela Anderson and Tristan Macmanus

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

Pam is looking at Tristan like she wants to devour him. She tells Tristan how excited she is to be back on the show. “I’m trying to contain myself — you have to contain me, somehow,” she purrs, adding to the camera, “Tristan needs to refine me, and I need to rough him up a bit.” Tristan can barely speak. “All those years when you get abuse for being a male dancer — finally, it pays off!” he says of his former “Baywatch” model partner.

Pam notes she feels like an underdog this season, given that she’s up against Olympic athletes, and Bristol Palin. “You know, she’s got the whole Tea Party, right?” Pam explains.

Unfortunately, even though she vows to work hard, the dance is underwhelming, and Pam looks like she doesn’t quite know what’s going on. The judges are disappointed, and say there wasn’t enough work for any praise. “You have a booming body, and we want to see it get the right technique,” Carrie Ann says helpfully. Pam doesn’t look too surprised with the criticism.

Scores: 5.5, 5.5, 6, for a total of 17 points.

Reality star Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani

Dance: Fox Trot

Melissa “turned heartbreak into a lucky break,” Bergeron says by way of an introduction. That’s a cute way of saying she was dumped on national television when she won “The Bachelor” during Jason Mesnick’s season, when he decided on the live after-show that he actually preferred Melissa’s runner-up, Molly. Flash forward a few years, and Melissa’s got a new husband, a baby, and a TV gig that now includes another stint on “DWTS.” Who’s the real winner now?!

Melissa is paired with Tony, and the two expertly glide around the floor. Carrie Ann and Bruno love the dance, but thinks the two need more body contact. Len criticizes the performance for being too theatrical, but still enjoyed it overall.

Scores: 7, 7, 7 for a total of 21 points.

Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

The Olympic gold medalist seems confident, but hits a bump in the road when Karina expects him to remember a few too any moves. “That fast?” he asks doubtfully as he watches her speed across the floor. Karina says that her partner seems “rusty.”

The dance does seem a little choppy. “It wasn’t a gold medal performance,” says Len. “Maybe bronze.” He talks about the duo needing more hip action, but all we can concentrate on are Karina’s light-up earrings that keep changing colors. “Did you just get 3,000 times more sexy?” Carrie Ann asks Apolo dreamily.

Scores: 7.5, 7, 7.5 for a total of 22 points.

Actor Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd

Dance: Fox trot

Gilles, also known as the guy in the shower scene in the “Sex and the City” movie, is impressed by his new partner, Peta. Romantic music starts playing in the background as the two rehearse. “I think I hit the jackpot,” Peta giggles.

He easily masters the moves for the dance, and Carrie Ann is immediately wowed. “I missed you,” she coos to Gilles. “That was just poetic and gorgeous.” Then, in the most topical but misplaced segue ever, Carrie Ann adds, “Jon Hamm didn’t win it last night because Gilles Marini had to come out and win it tonight!” So if Jon Hamm had won the Emmy on Sunday, Gilles wouldn’t have done well...? This is too complicated. Anyway, Len thinks the dance was terrific.

Scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points.

Reality star Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

It’s time for Bristol, one of the most controversial contestants ever, thanks to a season filled with theories about wheher people on conservative Web sites were gaming the system to get her more votes. “This woman who blew away the judges, viewers and critics transformed from a shy girl to one of our most talked-about finalists,” Bergeron notes. “Where will this season take her?”

“Most people know me as Sarah Palin’s daughter,” Bristol announces in her introduction package. The camera takes us to Wasilla, Alaska, where Mark (her partner from last time) re-meets her family, including her son, Tripp.

In rehearsal, Mark reminds Bristol that she can’t be shy, and has to have more sex appeal this season. Bristol says she forgot how over-the-top Mark could be. “Shake that ass! Let that ass go nuts!” Mark yells during rehearsal. If Bristol can get over her shyness, she could shock people, Mark adds.

During her performance, Bristol appears to have about 10 times more confidence in one dance than she did in all her dances on the previous season — but that’s possibly what happens when a girl has two more reality shows under her belt. Plus, her whole family came out to support her. We get our first Sarah Palin sighting, sitting in the crowd with her husband, Todd, and Bristol’s son, Tripp, who is adorably covering his ears.

Carrie Ann seems shocked by the performance, and declares Bristol “most improved,” and says she was confident and sassy. Len agrees she had a great deal of confidence, and it’s a great improvement from her last time on the show, though she still has to work on her technique.

Scores: 6.5, 6.5, 6.5 for a total of 19 points.

Singer Drew Lachey and Anna Trebynskaya

Dance: Fox trot

Things get awkward when Drew meets his partner, Anna, who he edged out to win in Season 2. They agree no hard feelings, but Anna reminds him it’s a “slightly different show now.” They seem to have zero chemistry, and slight contempt for each other — a winning combination!

Len is unimpressed, and says the dance was “too hard and hectic.” He advises Drew to relax more. Carrie Ann agrees he seems too rigid.

Scores: 7, 7, 7.5 for a total of 21.5 points.

Actress Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

Everyone reminds Kelly that back in Season 1, when she competed, the show was only six weeks — now, it’s 10 weeks, and she has no idea what she’s in for. Kelly is worried because that means there are many dances she’s never done before, including the cha cha cha, which happens to be up this week.

Luckily, she and Val work well together, and Kelly’s a naturally talented dancer — she makes the performance look easy. “Kelly and I exude sensuality,” Val boasts, adding something about being “covered with smoking hot sexual tension.”

“You two have insane chemistry,” Carrie Ann gushes, apparently agreeing. “You weren’t this good in Season 1,” Len accuses, and Kelly looks slightly annoyed. Len compliments Val’s choreography, and says she needs to work on her shoulders.

Scores: 7, 7, 7.5 for a total of 21.5 points.

Actress Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Dance: Fox trot

Kirstie is “ecstatic” to have Maks as a partner, even with his reputation preceding him. She says they have developed a great friendship in rehearsal, and during footage, he seems a lot more laid back than usual — now we’re suspicious that this really is his last season on the show.

Kirstie isn’t a natural dancer, but she puts in a lot of effort, and can barely gasp for breath when the performance is done. Carrie Ann says the dance was beautiful on many levels, but Kirstie didn’t turn up her “full speed” tonight. Len skips to the criticisms because the show is running late, and advises Kirstie to “lift her ribcage,” and that the quality of movement wasn’t superb. Bruno says he loved the drama, and begins either miming their performance, or having the beginnings of a seizure. With that many spastic arm movements, no one is sure.

Then, just as you think everything will go as planned this evening, Kirstie turns around unexpectedly and plants a huge kiss on Bergeron — even the camera has trouble figuring out what’s going on. “That’s for your Emmy!” she shouts as Maks drags her away to the Celebriquarium. Bergeron is stunned into silence for possibly the first time ever, then takes a few puffs of a fake cigarette, looking pleased with himself. Oh right, the scores: 6.5, 6, 6.5 for a total of 19 points.

(Later, Bergeron tweeted this:)

Former NFL player Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke

Dance: Cha Cha Cha

Excited to be teamed up with his former partner, Emmitt says his wife loves to see him cha cha cha, because of the hip action. Hee and Cheryl reunite, but chat politely, and something seems a little off. Did they not stay friends between seasons? But there’s no time to get into this. Any awkward moments don’t affect them on the dance floor, as they fly through the performance.

Len pronounces it the best dance of the evening. Bruno says he has “truckloads” of charisma. Carrie Ann is equally thrilled, but Bergeron has to cut her off again since the show is about to run late.

Scores: 8, 8.5, 8 for a total of 24.5, the highest score of the night.

Read More:

“Dancing with the Stars: All Stars”

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 09/25/2012

 
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