Dancing with the Stars Season 25 got off to a strong start, but man, it's easy to forget what a whirlwind these premieres can be. With 13 couples all needing a training montage, a dance, judges' reactions, and an interview to break it down after, the show moved at a breakneck pace.
Luckily, most of the contestants got "neither here nor there" feedback and scores from the judges, with only a few lucky stars pulling ahead on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, there were also a few contestants that just crashed and burned, so there are a few names just waiting to get scratched off the Season 25 list.
The dance: As much as we all love Barbara Corcoran, this golden-themed salsa was truly painful to watch. It kind of felt like the cameramen were prompted to keep cutting away to closeups so we wouldn't see how horrendously off beat Barbara had gotten from Keo's choreography. All that glitters truly isn't gold here.
What the judges said: Barbara knows what she's doing y'all. She's got practically no dancing ability, so she chewed up most of the judges time talking about sex appeal and how she and Keo were getting married. No time for critiques that way!
The dance: Debbie and Alan floated across the floor during their foxtrot, with some truly amazing chemistry. Seriously, it felt like we were watching a first dance at their wedding.
What the judges said: Bruno took up all of the judges time complaining about arms and shoulders and technicalities, but we're going to go ahead and call her a frontrunner. She was AH-mazing, no doubt about it.
The dance: Derek got nothing but net in his basketball-themed salsa number. He did some amazing partnering with Sharna Burgess, with lifts and flips that felt like they belonged in a professional routine. Sharna also took advantage of his expert dribbling abilities, opening the routine with some impressive basketball tricks. If anyone can dribble to on a beat, it's a former NBA star.
What the judges said: "It was tailor made to make you shine," Bruno said during the judges commentary section. He commanded attention, despite the fact that he couldn't really master the snaky hips necessary for the dance.
The dance: Looks guys, some people have rhythm and some people really, really don't. Drew Scott somehow managed to catch himself in his partner's hair early on in the routine, and it was all shaky steps and missteps from there.
What the judges said: Len called Drew a fixer upper, and frankly we couldn't agree more. You could take a demolition crew to this entire dance, and it still wouldn't be enough. He swung a sympathy vote of 16/30, but you should probably prepare to say goodbye to him sooner rather than later.
The dance: It's hard to look bad dancing next to the powerhouse that is Witney Carson, but holy crap Frankie Muniz just blew us away. He had enough raw talent to make the dance look good, but the real secret weapon here was the way he tapped into his acting ability to make the routine work. This foxtrot was all about emotion and expression, and that's something Frankie Munniz has been doing since he could walk. Sometimes you've got to work smarter, not harder, and that's exactly what Frankie and Witney did.
What the judges said: A few deductions for technique were really the only problem the judges had with Frankie, but the emotion in the routine more than made up for it. "It was honest, it was vulnerable, it was telling your truth," Carrie Ann raved.
The dance: Jordan Fisher is the closest thing we've got to a ringer this season, given that he's a Broadway star from the hit show Hamilton. He brought all that talent and more to his routine with Lindsay Arnold, and then to top it off with a Shawn Mendes song? It blew everyone away! By the way, is it weird if we hope he and Lindsay hit it off, fall in love and get married? No? Cool!
What the judges said: The judges saw the same routine we did, and they loved it just as much. The musicality, the moves, the chemistry — it all got rave reviews, and Jordan is officially the favorite to win this thing.
The dance: Lindsey has legs for days, and those legs were working for her tonight. She and Mark had sizzling chemistry (more bumping and grinding for these two, they were on FIRE!) and they made the whole routine look effortless and fun. Who knew an electric violinist would be one of two frontrunners this season?
What the judges said: "It was crisp it was clean, lovely leg action, nice hip action. That, for me, [was] the dance of the night," Len said. You don't exactly get higher praise than that!
The dance: You might assume that Nick Lachey could dance circles around these other contestants given that he was in one of the most popular boy bands of the boy band era. But think back, guys. Think back hard. 98 Degrees was NOT a singing and dance boy band, they were a "stare soulfully into the sunset" boy band. Nick has about the same amount of dance talent as the average 43-year-old male, which means his Cha Cha was funky, but not fresh.
What the judges said: Len admired the fact that Nick decided to go for broke in his opening number, even if he wasn't technically speaking the best of the best. The main note was to loosen up and let it roll, which will undoubtedly happen the longer he stays on the show.
The dance: Tango was the perfect pick for Nikki, seeing as she's such a strong female warrior. The footwork was fast, but she managed to own it, all with a totally fierce look on her face. And that body slam at the end? Priceless.
What the judges said: Len couldn't help but mention that one of the turns went wrong thanks to Nikki's tendency to look down instead of looking out. Whatever he says, she still sizzled all on her own.
The dance: Being sexy is half the battle in a Cha Cha, and with Gleb at her side, there was really just no way for Sasha to go wrong. Pair that with her natural booty-shaking ability, and you get a pretty hot number on a night where most crashed and burned.
What the judges said: Both Sasha's parents were ballroom dancers, which probably accounts for all the great notes she got about her technique and fierceness. Still, she only managed to snag three sixes, so it's not like she's running away with the competition just yet.
The dance: T.O. brought some of his most fabulous touchdown celebration dance moves to his Cha Cha with Cheryl Burke, and he looked pretty darn good doing it. Classically trained he is not, but his natural athleticism meant that where most contestants were panting and winded during the judges notes, he was calm as a cucumber.
What the judges said: Cheryl's main note for Terrell earlier in the week was that he needed to look her in the eye and make a connection, but the judges said his footwork was his real issue.
The dance: How in the world does Vanessa Lachey have more rhythm than her husband? It's a mystery that has no answers, but as far as Cha Chas go, we'd rather watch Vanessa dance every night of the week than spend one more minute watching Nick. She was sexy, she was sharp, and like Kesha says, she was a "motherf***ing woman."
What the judges said: The judges were just as nuts for her as the audience, but they did bring up an important concern. Some people start off strong only to sink further and further each week. Let's hope Vanessa didn't peak early.
The dance: Victoria Arlen has no feeling in her legs, but there is no more obvious proof of miracles than watching her dance. "It's literally like dancing blindfolded and having no idea where my lower half is," Victoria said, attempting to describe what it's like to dance without sensation below the waist. The only thing that rivaled her quick feet was the joy she clearly felt dancing with Valentin.
What the judges said: The judges kept it fair, judging Victoria on the same level as the rest of the contestants, despite her jaw-dropping backstory. Still, even they couldn't ignore the fact that her leg work was far and away better than some other contestants. "Your leg action was so crisp and clean!" Carrie Ann raved.
There was no elimination tonight since it was premiere week, so we'll say goodbye to one couple next week. Who do you think it will be?
Dancing with the Stars airs Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.