The ladies of the “Dancing with the Stars” season six premiere sent a clear message out to the gents who danced Monday night: “Eat our dance floor dust!”
Afterall, the roster of lady celebs includes an Oscar winner, Tony Winner, Grand Slam Champ, Olympic gold medalist, poker champ, and Priscilla Presley.
While the guys for the most part showed little sparkle Monday night (save for Mario and Jason Taylor), the ladies were one fabulous surprise after another (save for Monica Seles who danced in nearly flats!).
The leggy Shannon Elizabeth managed a score of 21 with a cha cha that entertained but failed to capitalize on her gorgeous legs. Shame on pro partner Derek Hough who boasted “I entered the competition last year as a boy, but I’ve returned as a man” for not comprehending this obvious strength in his partner. Maybe “a boy” would have noticed her powerful legs.
The towering Monica Seles was oh so pretty in pink, but couldn’t overcome her fear of all things girly-girl. The self-proclaimed tomboy who never went to her high school prom because she was, oh, I don’t know, WINNING THE FRENCH OPEN AT THE TIME, finally got to dance with her handsome date, in this case, Jonathan Roberts. It was an elegant affair but it just went nowhere, prompting judge Bruno Tonioli to quip “It went from Grace Kelly to Grace [“Will and Grace”] Adler.” Score: Love-15.
Next up, that Broadway spitfire Marissa Jaret Winokur, the most effervescent girl on the planet. All sparkly and spangly and bouncy, the 4-foot-11 powerhouse got the night’s first standing-O, but there was just too much Ethel Merman in her cha cha, and not enough Chita Rivera. She needs to focus more on the dance and less on the audience’s screams of approval and she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the coming weeks. Score for her and partner Tony Dovolani: 18.
Here’s where I get to eat my words. Okay, maybe my thoughts. I really thought Priscilla Presley was going to be the oaf of the season, judging by her absolute lack of visible emotion since, oh, 1990. Why can’t this woman smile? Okay, the world will never really know what went on behind closed doors at Graceland, but helloooo, Priscilla. You were married to ELVIS! Yes, she’s said over and over and over how private a person she is. Boo-hoo. You’re an actress (“Dallas” “Naked Gun”) and a celebrity, not a cloistered nun. And then, it happened. She simply lit up the dance floor when the music started, delivering a gorgeous fox trot with partner Louis van Amstel. Presley was a vision in her green gown, and thanks to some NORMAL makeup (not that garrish white pancake she opts for), she was actually quite lovely. The audience gave her a thunderous standing ovation and the judges gave her a score of 24. Rock on, ‘Cilla!
As expected, Kristi Yamaguchi was stunning, earning a leaderboard-topping 27 points for a gorgeous fox trot with partner Mark Ballas. For some reason, she kept saying that her figure skating had nothing to do with pointing toes and keeping legs straight and all the stuff that ballroom dancing requires. I dunno, seems like every figure skater in the world concentrates on perfect lines, arm and leg extension and pointing those skates out as far as they can. It’s been 16 years, maybe she forgot? Oh well, watch for her in the finals this season.
And in the end, it was Marlee Matlin who proved that dancing comes from the soul. Unable to hear the song during her cha cha, the “profoundly deaf” actress said through an interpreter that her partner Fabian Sanchez (king of the mambo) was her music. ‘Nuff said. She delivered a spot-on cha cha. Score: 22.
Next Monday, they all take to the dance floor, and a double-elimination takes place on March 25, when one guy and one gal will be shown the door. I’ll make my prediction next Monday night.