It’s too bad the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” was limited to those with Disney+ subscriptions.
Actress Selma Blair, who’s living with multiple sclerosis, offered such a beautiful Viennese waltz it was hard to find a dry eye in the house. She was ably led by partner Sasha Farber and got a 28 – one of the highest scores of the night.
Social media star Charli D’Amelio topped the leaderboard with a 32, but the two were hardly in a class by themselves.
Wayne Brady, Gabby Windey and Daniel Durant did well, too, suggesting this is going to be a strong season for the show.
Still, one had to go home—“Sex and the City” star Jason Lewis – who was so halting in his cha cha he bumped into the floor’s lights.
Because there are 16 couples (far too many), it was difficult to remember who was still in the competition when Lewis was sent packing.
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While it was better to watch “DWTS” on broadcast TV (commercial breaks are good for bathroom visits) there are some perks to the new venue: Faster “preview” info, two hosts (former winner Alfonso Ribeiro has joined Tyra Banks as the “skybox” interviewer), a brighter set.
While the 16 ran the gamut (like Lewis, “Real Housewives” star Teresa Giudice wasn’t all that fluid), they did have “stories” (a “Dancing” hallmark) and a back pocket song that could be used when needed. Because many aren’t readily recognizable (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son, for example), it’s going to take some fancy footwork to keep them in the hunt.
On Monday’s edition (Disney+’s first live show), no one needed bleeping or blurring. But enthusiasm was greater for the returning pros (Mark Ballas is back!) than some of the stars. D’Amelio’s mom, Heidi, is in the mix and she’s likely to go home first. Drag queen Shangela is breaking tradition (and could be around for a while, particularly with a 28).
As expected, the judges were more than complimentary and overlooked some of the sloppy footwork just to appear supportive.
Banks towers over Ribeiro (and most everyone else) but isn’t as “America’s Top Model”-ish as she was in the past. She’s cooled the fashion show, too, and appeared respectful when Blair’s turn came.
Once unable to move without a cane, the “Legally Blonde” star impressed with a fluid performance that made the most of he abilities. Farber framed her in the best way possible and got one of those goosebump moments that don’t come around often. She may not get dances that fit so well, but Monday’s was magical.
Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli were effusive in their praise and, deservedly so. The 31st season of “Dancing” proved Blair is a winner – with or without a mirror ball trophy.