‘DWTS’ Premiere Recap: James Van Der Beek Takes The Top Spot While Lamar Odom Stumbles

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‘DWTS’ is officially back. The 12 contestants performed for the first time during the season 28 premiere. While Hannah Brown and James Van Der Beek shined, Lamar Odom and Sean Spicer didn’t do so well.

The first Dancing With the Stars performance of the night comes from The Bachelorette star Hannah Brown. Her partner is Alan Bersten and they’re dancing the cha-cha. Right off the bat, these two have great chemistry. Hannah has moves, too! “It was crisp, it was clean, it was confident,” Len Goodman says. Bruno Tonioli says that Hannah may have found her “true love” — and he means dancing. He does note that she needs to “be careful not to lose balance with the fast spins.” Overall, it was a great first dance for Hannah. The scores go down like this: Carrie Ann Inaba = 7; Len = 7; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 20.

Next up is All That icon Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson, who dance the tango. For the first dance, Kel and Witney prove they already have a great partnership. Bruno commends Witney for crafting a real tango but points out some clear mistakes for Kel and Witney to fix. Len says that Kel lost his frame and posture but he’s got “potential.” Kel and Witney’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Len = 5; and Bruno = 5. Total score = 16.

The Office star Kate Flannery is paired with new pro Pasha Pashkov. They dance a cha-chat together and it’s fun from start to finish. Carrie Ann calls it a “great first dance.” Len gives the pair a few critiques but loved her attitude. All the judges give Kate and Pasha 5s. Total score = 15.

Former NBA player Lamar Odom, who is the tallest person competing at 6 foot 10, hits the dance floor next with partner Peta Murgatroyd. They dance a simple but sweet foxtrot. “I think you did a terrific job,” Len tells Lamar and Peta regarding the drastic height difference. Bruno has major critiques for Lamar and Peta but Carrie Ann admits she was “thoroughly impressed” with their first performance. Lamar and Peta’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 3; and Bruno = 3. Total score = 11.

Country singer Lauren Alaina is paired up with Gleb Savchenko and they dance the cha-cha. Even though Lauren says she knows nothing about dancing, she’s got major skills. Bruno calls Lauren a “sultry southern belle” and says her first rodeo in the ballroom was a “very polished performance.” Carrie Ann adds that Lauren and Gleb had a “powerful cha-cha” and says that she likes Lauren’s looseness on the dance floor. Len admits he wasn’t a fan of the first part of the dance, but says he liked the performance overall. Lauren and Gleb’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 19.

Dancing With the Stars was hit with a game-changing shocker before the season even started. During rehearsals with partner Val Chmerkovskiy for the premiere, Christie Brinkley broke her arm. With just 3 days left until the premiere, Christie’s daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook steps in and takes her mom’s place. “This is for you, mom!” Sailor says. Sailor and Val hit the ballroom with a solid foxtrot to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl.” At the beginning of the performance, Sailor goes to her mom in the audience and gives her a pair of glasses. Sailor and Val get a standing ovation after their performance and Sailor immediately goes to hug her mom when it’s all over. Val brings Christie out before the judges have their say.

“I am blown away,” Carrie Ann says. Christie gushes, “I’m so proud of her.” Len notes the performance was a bit “stumpy” in places but Sailor and Val did a “wonderful” job after just 3 days. “I can’t wait to see what you can achieve with proper rehearsal,” Bruno says. Sailor and Val’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Len = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 18.

Christie reveals that her doctor said her injury was “one of the worst breaks he’s ever seen.” She underwent surgery and had metal places put in her arm. “I’m a bionic woman now,” Christie says.

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown is teaming up with Jenna Johnson this season. They dance a salsa and they have such a blast with it. Len doesn’t think there was “enough hip action” and Karamo “lacked a bit of rhythm.” Bruno agrees with Len and wants to see more of Karamo’s hips. Carrie Ann feels that Karamo “underperformed this routine.” She admits it was a “little underwhelming but still solid.” Karamo and Jenna’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Len = 5; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 17.

NFL legend Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke are next. Their salsa is incredibly sexy and they have insane chemistry. Bruno picks out one of Ray’s missteps but says it was a “fantastic, charismatic performance.” Carrie calls the performance “pretty damn good” and Len raves that Ray has “great potential.” Ray and Cheryl’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 5; and Bruno = 5. Total score = 15.

Music icon Mary Wilson hits the dance floor for a foxtrot with partner Brandon Armstrong. This woman is 75 years old but she’s still got it! Carrie Ann gushes over Mary and Brandon’s “very beautiful” and “very refined” performance. Len, who is 75 years old as well, says he’d like to be able to come out and do what Mary just did. “I’m starstruck,” Bruno says. “Well done.” Mary and Brandon’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Len = 5; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 17.

Former Fifth Harmony starlet Ally Brooke is paired up with Sasha Farber this season. They dance a sassy salsa to the Fifth Harmony song “Work.” As usual, Len refuses to accept the extra add-ons to the performance. Bruno loves Ally’s “sense of attack” but notes that she got a little “muddled.” Carrie Ann tells Ally that it’s important she finds her balance but says she has “great potential.” Ally and Sasha’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 5; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 16.

The next to last performance is former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. He believes his “tumultuous” time at the White House only provided a “one-dimensional look” at who he was. He’s paired with Lindsay Arnold and they dance a salsa on premiere night. Sean wears a ridiculous lime green top but has fun with the performance. Bruno calls the performance “strangely entertaining.” Carrie Ann likes his “sense of fun” but says he was “offbeat most of the dance.” Sean and Lindsay’s scores: Carrie Ann = 4; Len = 4; and Bruno = 4. Total score = 12.

The final performance of the night is from Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek, who is paired with Emma Slater. Their tango is by far and away the best performance of the night. “We have a leading man in the house,” Carrie Ann raves. Len says it was a “terrific number” as well. James and Emma’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 7; and Bruno = 7. Total score = 21. They have the highest scores of the night!

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