By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Monday, March 21, 2016
First impressions matter and while neither Georgia representative is guaranteed the mirror-ball trophy at this stage, both did an admirable job out of the gate.
Marietta's Kim Fields ("The Real Housewives of Atlanta," "The Facts of Life," "Living Single") danced a vigorous cha cha, garnering a 20 from the three judges, good for a tie for eighth out of 12 dancers.
She put her acting ability to the fore and clearly had fun with her partner Sasha Farber.\
"I liked the timing. I thought you were crisp and sharp," said Len Goodman, who returned to the show after taking season 21 off. "You got to work the hips a little more. That was a great start to the show."
"I love the way she lets her hair down," said Bruno Tonioli. "You got to work on the foot placement to get good hip action."
"I see a whole lot of fierceness in a tiny package," said Carrie Ann Inaba. "Don't rush."
Bruno and Carrie Ann gave her 7s and Len provided a 6. "It felt fantastic!" Fields said. "You just come alive!"
She was so happy after getting her scores, host Tom Bergeron said, "I'll have what she's having."
Dalton native and Donald Trump ex-wife Marla Maples also impressed the judges and pulled in a 21, good for a tie for fourth place. All three judges gave her a 7 out of 10.
Maples' has Broadway experience and is an elegant dancer. The 52 year old pulled off her quick step with Tony Dovolani with confidence and aplomb. She even threw in a cartwheel to show off her dexterity.
"I'm loving the uptown bombshell, don't you think?' said Bruno. "Forget about the Donald. Ballroom is your trump card!"
"I can't wait to see you next week," Carrie Ann said.
"Vim, vigor and vitality!" Len said.
This is a high quality bunch this year. It's really hard to ascertain who might finish in the finals. It will come down to fan bases and personalities as well as dance. I especially liked Wanya Morris, Antonio Brown and Paige VanZant. And based on the performances of Kim and Marla, I wouldn't count them out for a potential final appearance.
My bet who will go home: either Geraldo Rivera or Mischa Barton.
Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men) - He brought a delightful spirit and surprising litheness. Bruno: "Delicious!" Carrie Ann was feeling her Fly Girl days. This man could go to the finals. He got 8s from Carrie Ann and Bruno and a 7 from Len. Score: 23
Ginger Zee ("Good Morning America" meteorologist) - She has great energy, even if she isn't quite there technically. And wow! Just three months removed from her baby! "Frisky risky fast and furious," Len said. She has promise though I thought the judges were a bit generous. Carrie and Bruno gave her 8s and Len a 7. Score: 23
Nyle DeMarco (deaf model) - He can't hear anything so he relies impressively on Peta Murgatroyd. He can really dance, even without the music. He is far better than I could ever be hearing! 8s from Carrie and Bruno and a 7 from Len. Score: 23
Paige VanZant (UFC fighter) Foxtrot. 7's across the board. She was very light on her feet and showed great potential, as the judges said. And having Mark Ballas as her dance partner will always help her. Score: 21
Antonio Brown (NFL player) - He brought charisma and dexterity to his quick step. He's a keeper. Carrie Ann was super excited and gave him an 8. Len saw the technical flaws and gave him a mere 6 Bruno met the middle with 7. Score: 21
Von Miller (NFL player) - There's a massive height and size difference with Witney Carson. They make quite a couple. He's stiffer than Antonio in his foxtrot but the non foxtrot moves are fun. Same results as Antonio. Score: 21
Jodie Sweetin ("Full House" actress) - She put in a very solid tango. She could go far if she keeps building on that. The judges gave her mostly technical advice. Carrie Ann said her face was too frozen in a snarl. She got 7's across the board. She got 7s from Carrie Ann and Bruno and 6 from Len. Score: 20
Mischa Barton ("The O.C.") - She is not a natural dancer at all. And she has to do a tango. Artem Chigvintsev gave her really simple choreography to get her through the dance. "You were walking!" said Len. "Not enough tango, attack, fire, flair!" Bruno said she needs to work her core and extend her moves. "Else, it looks like you're slightly sedated." Len and Carrie Ann gave it a 5. Bruno gave her a sympathy 6. Score: 16
Doug Flutie (former NFL quarterback) Foxtrot. 5's across the board. Many NFL players have done well on the show but Doug is stiff as a board. He clearly has a lot of work ahead of him. He is so likable and has a fan base so he might stick around longer than expected. Dudes with comparable dancing skills have lasted several weeks (think Jerry Springer, John Ratzenberger and Bill Engvall). Score: 15
Geraldo Rivera (newscaster) The 72-year-old senior correspondent said he's "the only Puerto Rican who can't dance." Edyta Sliwinska returns to help him. Unfortunately, did he actually do any dancing? That was one of the worst dances in DWTS history this side of Steve Wozniak and Master P. Bruno: "Minimalistic." Carrie Ann: "Loosen up the joints." Len: "A work in progress." Carrie: 5 (generous much?) Len, Bruno: 4 "Have pity on the old guy," Geraldo plead. Score: 13