Laurie Hernandez Begins Her Victory Lap on Dancing With the Stars Premiere

Image via screenshot.
Image via screenshot.

I cannot freakin’ believe that another season of Dancing With the Stars has begun, and yet I haven’t aged a day.

Season 23 has kind of an average cast—some major celebrities, some major whos, all accompanied by highly-produced, overly-sappy packages to show us the tragedy or the wish-fulfillment that led them to finally do the show. I find that kind of shit unnecessary, because I am not here to listen to how a country singer promised his mom that he’d leave the farm and now she’s trapped in a well and he’s doing it for her. I’m here for the dance, for my best friend Erin Andrews, and to guess who is fucking.

Here’s how the night went.

Marilu Henner and partner Derek Hough:

Marilu did a cute scream when she found out she’d be paired with Derek Hough, who had taken a break from last season to do some theater. Hough is at once one of the best professional partners and one of the most humorless. They did a jive; it was pretty good. Joanna score (based on if it was good TV): 6


James Hinchcliffe and partner Sharna Burgess:

In this week’s episode of Who? Weekly, Bobby Finger said he guessed Hinchcliffe was a race car driver from his face. I get it. I honestly can’t care about him, but I do care about his partner Sharna, who I follow on Instagram and think is extremely smooth and good at her job, and she’s always showing her tongue and winking which I love. They did a foxtrot to one of those alt boy bands singing an uplifting song, which is a DWTS pairing that I truly despise, but Hinchcliffe was better than everyone thought he would be. Joanna score: 7

Calvin Johnson Jr. and partner Lindsay Arnold:

This football star called “Megatron” is extremely tall and looks cute in his giant Converse. They did a cha cha to “That’s What I Like” by Flo Rida ft. Fitz (what?) that was quite charming. Joanna score: 7, I’m charmed!


Maureen McCormick and partner Artem Chigvintsev:

McCormick, the original Marsha on The Brady Bunch, is the weepiest lady I have ever seen. She and Artem performed a Viennese Waltz to “Natural Woman.” It was fine, though she is not necessarily a natural dancer. She cried in her package; she cried after meeting Babyface; she cried when she hugged TV mom Florence Henderson in the audience. It was a lot, but I do feel protective and like this show will probably be unkind to her. Joanna score: 6.


Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and partner Allison Holker:

He is extremely soft-spoken, which was kind of amusing tonight but I could picture it really getting on my nerves! Sorry I don’t feel a personal connection to Babyface! They did a big-band-y foxtrot, which was perfectly good but clearly pitched to an older audience. The “Babyface & Allison” chyron is amusing. I don’t really care about this one. Joanna score: 6


Amber Rose and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy:

I had a lot riding on this couple!!! Maksim is one of the best partners and Amber is one of the biggest stars on the season but she kind of choked. She was clearly very nervous which made her performance uncomfortable to watch, and also, probably, to perform. They did a kind of sexy and then not-so-sexy foxtrot to Alessia Cara’s “Here.” I don’t know, girl. I think she could get better. Joanna score: 5.


Vanilla Ice and partner Witney Carson:

Vanilla Ice (lol) started his package with the line, “I’m Vanilla Ice but my real name is Rob.” I mean, hilarious. Then he said his schedule was so busy because he is on tour (lol!) and couldn’t give Witney much time to practice. And then they did their dance to “Ice Ice Baby” (duh) and it was great! Len, the cranky British judge, was fairly condescending to him and if this keeps up I will have to fly to Los Angeles and give him a stern talking-to. Go Ice! Joanna score: 7.


Jana Kramer and partner Gleb Savchenko:

These are two very beautiful youths. Kramer said she just got separated from her husband, so she and Gleb are going to do it, if they haven’t done it already. Their dance, a viennese waltz to Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” was across the board judged as being too much of “an X-rated fantasy.” Let’s watch it again and then all excuse ourselves for a few minutes. Joanna score: 8 (because of sex)


Jake T. Austin with partner Jenna Johnson:

Austin gained his “Star” title as a child actor from Wizards of Waverly Place (with Selena Gomez) and Go Diego Go, but now he’s an adult and trying to prove that he’s more than a goofy Nickelodeon kid, a life stage which means he is going to be extremely cocky and sexually aggressive. The line of the night: “I think it’s an advantage that Jenna and I were ironically both born in the same year, 1994.” Let me die. Joanna score: 5 (because of Jake, but new pro Jenna seems nice)


Rick Perry with partner Emma Slater:

At the beginning of his package, Perry mistakenly said he was governor of Texas (he isn’t anymore), before admitting, “People are probably watching this going, what a dumb ass.” He did a dance to “Don’t Mess With Texas.” He was terrible. I mean, what am I even to say? He’s a twice-failed presidential candidate, not a ballroom dancer. A for effort. Joanna score: 6


Terra Jolé with partner Sasha Farber:

Terra is star of Little Women: LA, and made it very clear in her package that she wants to be known for being a good competitor, and not as being “good for a little person.” She is a great dancer! I bet she’ll make it far into the season, if not to the finals. Joanna score: 7


Ryan Lochte and partner Cheryl Burke:

Oh geez, what to say? Read this. Joanna score: 7 (just for the drama, which is unfair of me to do, but I’m doing it)


Laurie Hernandez and partner Val Chmerkovskiy:

Laurie fucking rules. How are we supposed to write about her along with these other normals??? If Laurie and Val don’t win I’ll eat a $100 bill. Her dance, a cha cha to “American Girl” was one million times better than anything else on the show. After, she said, “At the Olympics I trained 11 years for it, and so here is kind of the congratulations jog after it.” Joanna score: 10

Senior Editor, Jezebel

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Laurie Hernandez’s ability to hit those high kicks, damn, and grinning the whole time. I’m sure there’s some technical aspect that she’s still learning but she looked indistinguishable from the female pros to me. How can one tiny human contain so much charm?

I wanted to root for Amber Rose (and I thought she looked unreal in her dance costume) but nah. LAURIE.