Recap: “Dancing With The Stars” Season 28 Premiere

After an almost year-long hiatus, Dancing With The Stars is finally back for season 28. I didn’t realize how much I would miss this show until it was gone, and have been patiently waiting for a new season of my favorite show ever since the disappointing season 27 finale.

The season 28 premiere was jam-packed with a new pro, the reveal of this season’s celebrity/pro pairings, and teases of some format tweaks. If week one is any indication of what’s to come in future weeks of the competition, we are in for a great season full of fantastic dancing and exciting format changes.

Here’s a breakdown of all 12 dances from the season 28 premiere:

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten – Cha Cha

I’m a huge Bachelorette fan so I was excited to see Hannah pair up with one of my favorite pros, Alan (which is who I hoped she would have). Their routine was a great way to start off the night. She has a ton of personality, which showed through every move. She also had a ton of technique, as Carrie Ann pointed out. However, I’m so over them pushing Alan towards showmances with his partners and loved seeing Hannah rebuff that notion from the very beginning.

Score: 20 (7, 7, 6)

Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson – Tango

I think Kel and Witney have the potential to go far in this competition. In his first showing, Kel looked solid. Despite a little misstep, Bruno said it looked like a real tango and Len said he liked the “attack and the attitude” that Kel had. My only complaint was the beginning: what was the point of having Kel slide down from his “own” mouth? Sometimes this show likes to overdo it on the gimmicks and this was one of those moments for me.

Score: 16 (6, 5, 5)

Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov – Cha Cha

Kate is going to be one of those people that I love watching on this show solely for her personality. She’s hysterical, as seen by her video package, and I think her personality is really going to shine on this show. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t have high expectations for her as a dancer but she easily exceeded those. I was also really impressed with brand new pro Pasha’s choreography as was Len, who noted that Pasha included a “natural top” in the dance, something he hasn’t seen in “donkey’s years”. Overall, another solid showing on night 1.

Score: 15 (5, 5, 5)

Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd – Foxtrot

As a diehard NBA fan, I’ve been a Lamar Odom fan for a long time (yes, since before he was married to Khloe Kardashian). I’m thrilled that he’s paired up with Peta because I think she’ll bring out more of his personality as the weeks go by. But even I can admit that this was not a stellar first routine. Len and Bruno were not totally sold on the routine, with Len saying that it “lacked finesse” and Bruno saying that he focused too hard on the moves. Carrie Ann, however, disagreed with both of them, saying that she was “thoroughly impressed” with the former basketball player’s first dance.

I am, however, pretty upset with the scoring for this routine. I get that the judges are being a lot more critical this season and harsher with their scoring, which this OG fan of the show can appreciate. However, I thought this was worthy of more than a 3 and was certainly MUCH better than another contestant we will discuss later on.

Score: 11 (5, 3, 3)

Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko – Cha Cha

Another contestant performing yet another solid, week one routine. Carrie Ann pointed out that Gleb took a risk by having Lauren starting on her own next to two extra dancers, but that she thought it paid off because it gave Lauren confidence. I really like this pairing and I’m excited to see what else these two do over the next couple weeks of competition.

Score: 19 (7, 6, 6)

Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy – Foxtrot

Bruno called Sailor “the surprise of the night” and I couldn’t agree more. Learning these dances in 3 weeks is hard, but learning a full ballroom routine in only 3 days and not missing a step in front of a live studio audience and millions watching at home is flat out impressive. But it wasn’t perfect, as Len pointed out. It was a bit “stumpy” at times and certainly could have used more body contact. However, it was a great dance for week one and I think she has a ton of potential.

Score: 18 (6, 6, 6)

Karamo Brown and Jenna Johnson – Salsa

I thought Karamo and Jenna had a fantastic first dance. His personality shined and he nailed every step. However, the judges were not as impressed, with Len going so far as to call it “disappointing”. Carrie Ann said she thought it was “underwhelming” but only because she sees the potential in him. I don’t know what dance they were watching, but I think Karamo is a competitor to keep your eye on as the competition moves forward.

Score: 17 (6, 5, 6)

Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke – Salsa

The Hall of Fame football player is paired with the OG pro, and one of the best to ever do it in my opinion, Cheryl Burke (although no hardcore fan of this show is really surprised by this announcement since Ray accidentally spilled the beans on who his partner was a few weeks ago in an interview). She’s worked with football players before and it shows because she knows how to perfectly choreograph a routine to make him look good. I, like the judges, was impressed with what I saw and am excited to see more next week.

Score: 15 (5, 5, 5)

Mary Wilson and Brandon Armstrong – Foxtrot

I had no clue Mary would be such a firecracker, but I am HERE FOR IT. And she can dance, too! I was impressed with her all around, especially how gracefully she moved around the dance floor. Brandon continues to be one of my favorite pros and I’m so glad he’s back for his second season. He seems to be so easy going and I think he does an excellent job at tailoring routines to his partner’s strengths.

Score: 17 (6, 5. 6)

Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber – Cha Cha

I don’t know what the Fifth Harmony haters see, but Ally is not a bad dancer; she’s nowhere close to being a bad dancer. In fact, I was quite impressed with her first routine. Len said she was a “very competent” dancer and Carrie Ann thinks she has a lot of potential, despite saying that she needs to reign it in next week.

Score: 16 (5, 5, 6)

Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold – Salsa

I don’t want to give more attention to Sean Spicer than I need to so I’ll keep this short: it was bad, y’all. Like Master P level bad. I don’t know how I’m going to sit through this for another week. Next week, I’m breaking out a new hashtag on Twitter: #JusticeForLindsay.

Score: 12 (4, 4, 4)

James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater – Tango

We have a serious contender here. Not only was it a great tango choreography-wise (props to Emma – one of my favorite pros of all time), but James remained in character and in control the whole time, like Bruno pointed out. I cannot wait to see all of the other fantastic routines James and Emma will deliver as the season continues.

Score: 21 (7, 7, 7)

What did you think about the season premiere of Dancing With The Stars? Let me know in the comments below.

Dancing With The Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.

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