Wax on… wax off!
In an unexpected show of skills, 49-year-old former “Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio led the pack during the Season 12 kick-off to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Yet, it was 60-year-old larger-than-life personality Kirstie Alley who was nipping at his heels with the second highest score of the night.
There was no shortage of excitement on the dance floor as celebrities across the board turned in surprisingly strong first week dances and scores.
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Notable celebrities in the audience on night one included Dana Delaney, Kelly Preston (supporting close friend, Kirstie) and Hugh Hefner, who set next to Hank Baskett, the husband of his former “Girl Next Door” Kendra Wilkinson.
First up was Disney Channel star Chelsea Kane and her partner Mark Ballas. The young starlet explained that she wanted to do the show because she was home schooled growing up and never had that chance to attend her high school prom.
They dazzled the audience with their season kick-off fox trot set to the sounds of Sara Bareilles’ “King of Anything.”
“Overall you did a very good job,” judge Len Goodman said.
“You started on your back and ended on your back, and in between, one-and-a-half minutes of pure afterglow,” Bruno Tonioli said.
Chelsea finished with 21 out of 30, earning 7’s from each of the judges.
Next up, was syndicated talk show host Wendy Williams with her partner Tony Dovolani. In their intro rehearsal video, the outspoken diva was shown crying, although she explained that the tears did not come from a point of weakness, but rather, from excitement.
However, their cha cha cha set to Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman,” was shaky at best.
“You are a sumptuous, luscious, gorgeous woman,” Bruno said. “Why are you marching? You have to deliver the performance value that I know you have.”
“I saw real fear in your eyes before you started this,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said. “You need to unleash the beast!”
“You have your dumplings boiling over,” Len said in reference to her bodacious outfit. “Next week, you have a chance to redeem yourself.”
Wendy earned a 14, receiving 5’s from Carrie Ann and Bruno, but only a 4 from Len.
NFL Pittsburgh Steeler and former Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward and partner Kym Johnson danced third.
“Coming off the loss of a Super Bowl this year, I’m ready to take home that mirrorball trophy,” Hines explained.
Their cha cha cha set to a suave version of Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me” was a fantastic first effort.
“You were in control out there!” Carrie Ann raved. “Normally, we don’t see that until the third show. Great!”
“You continue the tradition of football players knowing how to dance,” Len emphasized. “Thoroughly enjoyed it – well done!”
Hines and Kym earned a 21 out of 30, with 7’s from all three judges, tying Chelsea and Mark.
Gorgeous duo Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin were up next. Their intro video focused on her pelvic injuries from surviving the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. The news of the tsunami in Japan during the couple’s first week of rehearsals created an emotional rehearsal situation.
“I would like to dedicate this fox trot to every person who has been suffering in Japan, and every person who has been impacted by this tragedy,” the supermodel explained.
The leggy couple foxtrotted elegantly to Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why,” heating up the judges with their first effort.
“It was a charming dance,” Len said.
“There were some moments of real beauty and sophistication,” Bruno said. “But you have to get much much stronger and link everything better.”
Petra and Dmitry earned an 18 out of 30, with 6’s across the board.
Actor and musician Romeo and his partner, Chelsie Hightower, were up next. The buff young talent’s video reminisced upon his father, Master P’s, disastrous scores when he filled in last minute as a contender ten seasons ago.
Chelsie pointed out that she felt her partner needed to get in touch a bit more with his feminine side. Fittingly, the couple did the cha cha cha filled with plenty of bumping and grinding set to “Romeo” by Basement Jaxx.
It earned a standing ovation from several audience members and fellow contestants.
“Clearly he got his mother’s dancing skills,” host Tom Bergeron chimed in following their dance. “You did more dancing in 90 seconds than your dad did in four weeks!”
Bruno echoed the sentiment.
“Wherefore art thou Romeo?” he asked. “Very very good performance… you lost it a couple of times, but you have everything to do well in this competition.”
“You have sex appeal for days,” Carrie Ann added. “I see tons of potential here.”
Romeo and Chelsie earned a 19 out of 30 – a 7 from Carrie Ann and two 6’s from the male judges.
Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya danced next with a fox trot set to Huey Lewis’ “Power of Love.”
In terms of glittery costume explosions, Sugar Ray may have won the night with a rhinestone heart pinned to his lapel, matching the fabric of Anna’s sparkly pink dress, although their dance wasn’t as shining.
“Posture, posture, posture,” Carrie Ann instructed.
“The dancing level was unfortunately low,” Len added.
“You turned into a Ninja Turtle,” Bruno said.
Their score was a relatively weak 17 out of 30.
Reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel cha cha cha’d to “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland and their impressive debut entertained the judges thoroughly, although it didn’t earn leading scores.
“You held my interest from start to finish, not always for the right reason, but you did,” Len explained.
“A full frontal attack,” Bruno said. “But it was not clean.”
“I don’t think you missed a step,” Carrie said, however. “Which I give you a lot of credit for.”
Kendra and Louis earned straight 6’s for a score of 18 total.
Original “Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff were up next.
“Ralph thought he had it tough with Mr. Miyagi?” Karina proclaimed. “He hasn’t seen nothing yet. Meet Mrs. Miyagi!”
Their fox trot to Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” was stunning all around.
“Ralph, I’ve got the feeling that you’re a GREAT STOMPING hit… great showmanship…” Bruno exclaimed.
“That shocked me that you had such elegance,” Carrie Ann said.
The couple earned 8’s across the board for a leading 24 out of 30.
WWE star Chris Jericho and the sultry Cheryl Burke cha cha cha’d to “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash. Their energetic first dance involved stripping and incredible chemistry. The wrestler was surprisingly willing to show off his more sensitive side.
“It was like a Chippendales cha cha,” Carrie summarized. “It was really really good… but I think you need to put more content in your dances.”
The couple earned a 19 out of 30.
Radio personality Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer danced next. Their sexy fox trot to Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me” was full of personality, but a bit stiff.
“There was very little dance quality about that,” Len said.
The couple only managed a 13 out of 30, for the lowest scores of the night.
Dancing last was perhaps the most anticipated couple of the night: Kirstie Alley with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
The “Cheers” charmer made fun of jokes about her weight. “If someone told me to haul ass, it would take two trips.”
The duo danced the cha cha cha to Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You,” and ended the night on a powerful note!
“Kirstie… I like what I see!” Bruno purred. “Look Who’s Dancing! I think we are just scratching at the surface of what you can do… your foot placement in the cha cha cha was the best of the night!”
“Honey, you are working it,” Carrie Ann echoed.
Kirstie and Maks closed the show with a very strong 23 out of 30.
There will be no elimination show this first week. The first eliminated contestant will learn their fate a week from tomorrow, following the second week of dances.
But fans still need to vote for their favorite stars. Scores from both weeks will be factored into next week’s elimination.
The leaderboard scores after the first week of competition is as follows:
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: 24 out of 30
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 23 out of 30
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: 21 out of 30
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: 21 out of 30
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower: 19 out of 30
Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke: 19 out of 30
Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel: 18 out of 30
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya: 17 out of 30
Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin: 16 out of 30
Wendy Williams and Tony Dovolani: 14 out of 30
Mike Catherwood and Lacey Schwimmer: 13 out of 30