Despite lots of changes–a new rooftop opening sequence! a stage-side waiting room for the contestants creatively nicknamed “the celebriquarium”!–Dancing with the Stars remained basically the same show for its 10th season. The dancing was all over the place, and the live singers mangled pop music far more than American Idol‘s contestants ever have.
Unsurprisingly, the best dancers were those who are athletes and dancers, or both: Nicole Scherzinger (who got a 25, which few others have done their first week) and Evan Lysacek (who earned a 23). They were followed by Erin Andrews and Pamela Anderson, who may have been the night’s biggest surprise, perhaps explaining why she went last.
Kate Gosselin went second-to-last, and was virtually unrecognizable except when she talked and berated Jon Bergeron. During rehearsal, she admitted to her partner Tony that her “insecurities” were “eating me alive,” and after dancing, Carrie Ann said that gave her “a sweet vulnerability.” But Bruno delivered what Kate-haters have been waiting for, telling her that her “technique was terrible” because “it looked like Tony was pushing a shopping cart around the floor.” Kate stood there and smiled like she was in a Wallace and Gromit cartoon.
Backstage, or stage-side behind a pane of glass, Brooke Burke proved to be a bland co-host. I’d say it just must be a thankless job, but Drew Lachey was better filling in for Samantha Harris a few years ago. While Brooke didn’t mumble or stumble, she made me miss Samantha, because at least Samantha was interesting to watch in her terribleness. As of episode one, Brooke’s only strength seemed to be her ability to show empathy by reminding people that she once was on the show and could identify with them, in addition to serving as a living embodiment of just how far a Dancing with the Stars victory will take you in life.