After taking a longer-than-usual break in between seasons, “Dancing With the Stars” has finally graced our television screens once again, and it’s better than ever.
Season 28 -- nope, not a typo; can you believe the show has been on this long? -- launched Monday night, boasting a cast that’s full of big names, including NFL Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis, two-time NBA champion Lamar Odom, founding member of The Supremes Mary Wilson and TV icon James Van Der Beek.
Whether you’ve loved the show in seasons past or kind of ignored it, we thought it’d be fun to break down seven reasons why you simply cannot bypass “Dancing” this fall.
[ READ NEXT: Parents, proceed with caution: This Michael Buble video is a gut punch | This TSA blog will open your eyes as to what’s really being confiscated at airport security | Hidden-city ticketing: Risky or worth it? ]
Yes, Spicer is a contestant, and yes, we do mean THAT Sean Spicer, as in the former White House press secretary. We have so many questions already.
The audience seemed to love him last night -- will that last? Can he dance? (All indications are pointing toward no, but he did have more energy than you’d expect). Does it matter?
Paired with professional dancer Lindsay Arnold, Spicer performed an offbeat salsa Monday night to a Spice Girls song in a particularly bold neon green ruffled shirt.
Arnold said his “danceability” was at a “pre-preschool level,” and that’s not a typo, and she wasn’t exactly wrong.
Spicer mostly got roasted by the judges, but they were kind about it, as they usually are on night one.
The dance was “strangely entertaining,” judge Bruno Tonioli said, after calling out just about everything else that was wrong. Carrie Ann Inaba told him he had the “best fluorescent shimmy of the night,” for whatever that’s worth. Spicer earned all fours for a final score of 12 of 30.
The Christie Brinkley daughter swap
Brinkley was all set to star this season on DWTS, that is, until she broke her arm in rehearsal while practicing with her partner, professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy.
The show said during Monday night’s premiere that this happened five days ago, and Brinkley was rendered unable to compete. It’s not clear why she had to find herself a replacement, or if that’s standard protocol -- although we’re not sure why it would be -- but either way, Brinkley’s daughter stepped to the plate in Christie’s absence to fill her shoes.
On only three days notice, Sailor Brinkley-Cook essentially stole the show.
Brinkley-Cook, who’s also a model, and quite frankly, a mini-Christie Brinkley, nailed her mom’s foxtrot and looked like a complete natural.
Head judge Len Goodman was a little nitpicky, but admitted she did “wonderful” considering the three-day turnaround.
“You are the surprise tonight,” Tonioli added.
We were a little caught off guard that she didn’t score better than 18/30, but either way, Brinkley-Cook looks like someone to watch.
We couldn’t help but notice, although there are only two, Lewis and Odom are top-notch, as they were both on top of their respective sports not too long ago.
Odom, who overdosed about 3 ½ years ago at a Las Vegas brothel, now looks to be in better health and spirits these days. He’s paired with fan-favorite professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd.
Although he struggled throughout the couple’s foxtrot, and then went on to score some threes -- and it’s not often that you see threes handed out on DWTS -- Inaba gave him props for his posture, lines and presence. Odom was knocked for lacking smoothness, fluidity and elegance, but still, we think he shows some untapped potential. Eleven of 30 might have been a bit harsh.
Lewis, on the other hand, performed slightly better, going 15 of 30 points with professional dance partner Cheryl Burke on a salsa.
The former Super Bowl MVP for the Baltimore Ravens was commended for his game-day energy and his promise.
The judges’ scoring: Way harsh
As mentioned, it’s not often you see scores like threes and fours, even on night one.
And while you might assume the judges would go easier on the contestants as the night progressed, it actually went the opposite direction. For much of the show, “Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown led the pack after dancing first to open the show -- and no one could top her 20/30 score until James Van Der Beek finally did in the final number of the night; edging her by a point.
You’re going to love your favorite stars even more
From “The Office” star Kate Flannery to “Queer Eye’s” Karamo Brown, not to mention country star Lauren Alaina and comedian and actor Kel Mitchell, we have a feeling it’s going to be a true pleasure to follow these stars’ respective journeys.
It was really fun to watch them dance Monday night, as they seemed happy to be in the contest, light on their feet and smiling.
You’d think this would be a given for all the contestants, but that’s not always the case. Does anyone remember Mischa Barton’s time on the show in 2016? She looked miserable.
A little romance brewing?
At least, the producers would probably love that!
Is this premature to say?
We can’t help but notice that Hannah Brown was paired with professional dancer Alan Bersten, who sparked romance rumors last season with model Alexis Ren.
Brown, for her part, made all the headlines last month when her engagement to Jed Wyatt crumbled right around the same time as the “Bachelorette” finale. Just saying, it might be fun if the show revived her dating life a little bit -- especially after going out with runner-up Tyler Cameron only to have him seemingly out publicly (and often) with supermodel Gigi Hadid.
As mentioned, Brown and her megawatt smile brought down the house to open the season. We see big things in her future!
The heart of the show is where you’ll find all the best stuff.
At the end of the day, too often you see comments online or criticism of the show knocking its so-called star power, or lack therefore of, or just how frustrating the voting system can be.
Admittedly, we feel you on the voting! Remember when Heather Morris was kicked off halfway through the season, or when Tinashe went home fourth, or even when Simone Biles was eliminated just shy of the finale, despite her perfect scores?
And then on the flip side, like, how did the Chicago Cubs’ David Ross make it so far? How in the heck did radio personality Bobby Bones win his entire season? We all know the answer to these final questions: America’s vote counted for a lot, clearly.
The point is, you shouldn’t look at the show and focus on what it gets wrong, or any of your hangups from years past.
You shouldn’t even look at the show and view it as a program about ballroom dancing or celebrities.
On a very basic level, it’s a show about people and progress. They put in hard work and they get better every week. They learn, grow, learn about themselves, show vulnerability and eventually progress -- well, most of them do, if they’re putting in the hard work.
It’s also really impressive if you look at how the show sets up, tears down, incorporates all those live routines, sets up the choreography and exists mostly as a live production.
Will you tune in this season?