Dancing With the Stars: Athletes Premiere Review

This is the night that we have ALL been waiting for. That's right: it's the night that we finally get to see I, Tonya Harding dance! Regardless of your feeling about Tonya Harding, I think we can all agree that this will be a thoroughly entertaining state of affairs, in either a shcokingly good way or a horrible way. The inner figure skating fan in me is also very excited for the most figure skating-centric DWTS season ever! So much to love about the season. And also so much not to! I still don't know how to feel about it!

Chris Mazder & Witney Carson - Salsa:
For someone whose job it is to lay on a sled, I was pretty impressed with this performance. It certainly wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible at all. I noticed quite a few mistakes and some awkward moves, but I really liked it. It was a really good start to the season, and I'm hoping for some more dances from him in the future.
Score: 6

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Lindsay Arnold - Cha-Cha:
Well, he tried. That counts for something, but it can't count for too much here. It was a lot of fun to watch, but it wasn't very good. There really wasn't much technique, but it wasn't horrible. I have so much respect for Kareem, and I really wanted to see him do well tonight. He didn't do great, but I'm still pretty proud.
Score: 5

Jennie Finch & Keo Motsepe - Foxtrot:
Well this sure was pretty to watch. It was just a breath of fresh air to watch, even if it wasn't perfect. I didn't expect a softball player to have much grace on the dance floor, but Jennie really did. I'm excited to see what's in store for next week (hopefully there is one)because I think she can be this season's dark horse.
Score: 7

Jamie Anderson & Artem Chigvintsev -Viennese Waltz:
I thought this was pretty decent, but it was a bit of a letdown for me. I was expecting a bit more, but something just felt kinda off here. It really went off the rails a bit halfway through, and it didn't have the grace that I expect in a Viennese Waltz. There's untapped potential here for sure, but I hope that Jamie realizes that before it's too late.
Score: 6

Mirai Nagasu & Alan Bersten - Salsa:
I had high expectations for Mirai going into this, and she absolutely lived up to them! I'm so happy to see her go out there and absolutely slay this dance. It wasn't just technically great though, because it was also so much fun to watch. I loved every second of it and I can't wait for more.
Score: 8

Arike Ogunbowale & Gleb Savchenko - Salsa:
I'm pretty impressed considering that this was Arike's first dance and my expectations were pretty low going into this (basketball players don't realyl do that great here on DWTS). A lot of this dance didn't really feel like a salsa to me though, with it only feeling like one about halfway through. That was really my only problem here, as everything else seems to just be the growing pains that everyone else is going through this week.
Score: 6

Adam Rippon & Jenna Johnson - Cha-Cha:
My expectations for Adam, who I've labeled the Julia Roberts of Figure Skating, were just as high for Adam as they were for his BFF Mirai. And not only did he live up to them, he exceeded them. This was a great first dance, and it had all the right cha-cha content.
Score: 8

Johnny Damon & Emma Slater - Foxtrot:
I wasn't too thrilled with this dance from Johnny. I didn't dislike it, but I definitely was underwhelmed. I really didn't see all that much potential here, but I wish I did. The whole thing was just kind of shaky.
Score: 5

Tonya Harding & Sasha Farber - Foxtrot:
WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? I didn't know what to expect from Tonya, but it sure as hell was not that. She had style and grace and this was just so beautiful and I'm so happy for her. This is by far the most pleasant surprise of the evening. Also, Allison Janney was in the audience to cheer her on and I still haven't recovered from the excitement of seeing her.
Score: 8

Josh Norman & Sharna Burgess - Cha-Cha:
I didn't love this dance quite as much as the judges did, but I can't deny that it was very good. It had a lot of energy and was so much fun. That's what makes a dance great to watch, even if it lacked in technicality (which this did not). Josh is one to watch out for.
Score: 7

Worst of the Night: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Johnny Damon

Dancer of the Night: Tonya Harding
Honorable Mention: Mirai Nagasu

Rankings for the Week:
1- Tonya Harding
2- Mirai Nagasu
3- Adam Rippon
4- Josh Norman
5- Jennie Finch
6- Chris Mazder
7- Jamie Anderson
8-Arike Ogunbowale
9- Johnny Damon
10- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

I really enjoyed this premiere episode of DWTS: Athletes, even though the opening sequence was very cringe-worthy. The rest of the night was great, despite the rushed nature of the season and the episode. It's just great to have the show off after what feels like forever. It's just what I've been missing in my Monday nights! It looks like a pretty good season is ahead of us, too! I am pretty annoyed to have seen Tonya in jeopardy, though. That's some BS right there.
Score: 9/10
Grade: A-

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