We're one week into Dancing With The Stars and, even before the judging or the first elimination round, it's already pretty clear who will likely go the distance, and who will be out. One of the worst and one of the best took even us by surprise, but we won't get fooled again.
11. Aiden & Edyta
Having seen Aiden perform on Rachel Ray, we thought for certain he was going to surprise us... and he did, but not in a good way. The poop-brown polyester pants! The wolf on his shirt! The growl! Edyta's peek-a-boo dress that kept even us from watching Aiden's terrible dancing (the first time through, anyway)! From start to finish, it was a hot mess that made even Buzz Aldrim and Kate Gosselin's wooden and fake-smile-infused performaces look like shoo-ins to stay on the show another week. Only a really loyal fan base could keep Aiden around for Week 3, and given his smarmy introduction that made even his accent seem less endearing, one assumes he doesn't even have that anymore.
10. Kate & Tony
When even your professional partner questions your motivation for coming on the show, and the show is Dancing With The Stars, you know you're in trouble. Tony's intro-reel question made us cringe, knowing how downright terrible she must have been off-camera to have caused him to say it. But the producers insist she's the Every-Mom we used to love, and will edit her every interaction to try to convince us of that. Kate may insist she's doing it for mothers everywhere, but our money is on the fact that as many of them probably want her to go home as the rest of us.
9. Buzz & Ashly
They may have gotten the lowest scores and fared the worst on the dance floor, but how can you hate on your grandpa and the show's new sweetheart? Unlike past years (and we're looking at you Cheryl!), Ashly's outfits and moves didn't make us shudder with awkwardness. And Ashly got her 80-year-old partner through a cha-cha without any uncomfortable rump shaking, looking as much like a young woman dancing with a beloved family member than a hoochie mama trying to find herself a sugar daddy. They won't be long for the competition, but we'll eat freeze-dried ice cream if they go home first.
8. Jake & Chelsie
Could ABC want you to like Jake any more? Could we possible like him less? Sadly, as much as we wanted Jake to impale himself on any of the many roses the producers stuck in his hands, he didn't acquit himself nearly as badly as we'd hoped. He won't be out of the competition soon enough for our liking, but, thankfully, it doesn't look like he'll beat out our sentimental favorites for any of the top spots, either. And, who knows? Maybe some weary production assistant will sit next to one of Jake's many pissed-off exes (or even Tenley!) in the front row and she'll "accidentally" trip him. We'd even volunteer for that mission.
7. Niecy & Louis
The judges hated her, she Twitpic'd the first official season injury, and she's annoyed she might lose her jiggly bits. Oh, how we wish Niecy's first impression was different! She looked gorgeous and funny on Monday night, but we worry she won't improve enough to make it out of the bottom half despite our love and admiration of her. Hopefully, Niecy and Louis will pull off something spectacular next week, but we worry that she isn't going to be able to bring it at the end of the day.
6. Shannen & Mark
You have to love a woman who loves her dad so much that she'll risk hives, injury and public humiliation to make him happy — and if the rumors leaking out of the set this week are any indication, the staff certainly does. Mark got her, more or less, through some of the most difficult choreography of the middle-tier candidates and she pulled it off with aplomb, if not perfection. Now she just needs to point those toes, lift her diaphragm and leave the choked-back tears for the finals.
5. Chad & Cheryl
The judges weren't feeling it, and no one knows why, because Chad and Cheryl performed a powerhouse opening dance, and everyone thinks that they might go quite far in the competition. Chad's perfectionism was an utter surprise, as was his business-like rehearsal attitude that magically translated into chemistry on stage with Cheryl. If we're picking a surprise for the end, we think he might pull off the least dorky transition from the football field to the dance floor — he was certainly the sexiest guy out there last week.
4. Evan & Anna
The Viennese waltz should have been his dance, but somehow... it wasn't, and it left even the judges a little confused. Maybe it's Anna's choreography, maybe it's the dizziness from the wrong-way turns, but all Evan's skate training didn't translate into effortless grace on the floor, and his years of skating solo didn't help him connect with Anna or the audience. All of it makes us wonder whether he can possibly pull off a fast, sexy dance (and whether we honestly want to see him even try).
3. Erin & Maks
Her awkward on-field dances fooled us before she hit the floor, but Erin was a long-legged powerhouse this week, shaking her hips with the kind of energy we expected of Niecy (but didn't quite get). For the kind of woman who looked as though she might be more comfortable with the waltz, she nailed her cha-cha and the judges knew it. We don't expect her to work any less hard in the future, and it looks like she just might get better and better.
2. Pamela & Damian
When all Len can criticize about bombshell (and mother! Kate's not the only mom in the crew!) Pam is that she needs to work on her finesse, she danced her buns off, and no one could look away. She left Bruno comment-less, if not speechless, and all her on-camera vamping was just a prelude to the kind of sex she oozed while dancing a cha-cha. In her rehearsal reel, Pam appeared to be working as hard as anyone (and harder than some) and getting the dance right, and adding the performance on top, and that'll take you far on DWTS.
1. Nicole & Derek
Any thoughts that Nicole's background in Fosse-inspired bumps and grinds would leave her ill-prepared for the posture and attitude of the waltz were put to rest by the balletic performance Nicole and Derek turned in this week. It was beautiful, astonishingly so, and if it didn't melt Len's heart, well, he was alone in that. And if the waltz wasn't exactly in Nicole's wheelhouse, just imagine what she can bring to a faster-paced, sexier dance.