Dancing With the Stars, Season 16, Week 1

The last two seasons of Dancing With the Stars has spoiled us; everyone on them was at least decent from the start.  That wasn’t going to keep up forever, and this season we’re going back down to normal levels.  Except that the expectations don’t go down so quickly, and watching last night, I think that’s still making everyone and especially the pros work even harder than they used to.  So we’ll keeping on enjoying the fruits of that, at least.

In fact, of all the new faces Monday night, by far the ones that impressed me the most were the two female pros, even when allowing for the two of them being the professionals who are supposed to be better.  Unfortunately Real Housewives annoy me so much I wasn’t able to judge Gleb Savchenko objectively, but Lindsey Arnold is a truly stunning presence on the ballroom floor and Shana Burgess isn’t far off.  Even the two of them not having the best of partners didn’t keep either of them from doing what they could with them and then shining, Lindsey especially:

Such debuts eases the ache of missing those pros gone, as does Valentin Chermkovskiy really now coming into his own.  Sad as it is to lose Maks, I think not being in his older brother’s shadow also allows him to show himself as his own person, and having young Zendaya for his partner helps too.  Maks probably wouldn’t have been a good partner for her, but Val is.  Meanwhile, if she’s the closest thing the show has to a ringer this season, the producers did not make it easy giving them a style of dance not meant for the young, but Val really dealt with it really well, remembering the real fun of contemporary is the emotion and filling a number with that without making it inappropriate, and by that alone he completely earned the night’s only three eights.

Similarly Kellie proved good enough for Derek to work his normal genius; she’s going to get really, really good by the time they’re through.  On the other hand, I was vaguely disappointed for Aly & Mark, but that might have been from heightened expectations; after all Shawn’s done on the show and Aly’s done in the gym, you expect her to grab all the attention of the night, and she just didn’t.  Not entirely certain what to make of Dorothy and Tristan either, which again might be because the expectations are so high, though the more I think about their routine, the more I think I like it.

Apparently the ratings still are lower, but what can you do?  You just can’t peak forever.

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