However! I can't really leave you guys to just form your own opinions, because then your opinions would probably be "I don't really care about Dancing With the Stars." So! In brief, here are the details of the couples, the shenanigans, and last week's premiere. Feel free to refer back to this should you find yourself near a water cooler and someone mentions spray-tanning.
A FIELD GUIDE TO SEASON 15:
SHIT BE DIFFERENT!
ALL STARS, BABY! This is the first time we're inviting back past contestants to compete for a second time. We have 13 of them instead of 11 or 12 or any other random number! One of them was fan-voted to be on the show: Sabrina Bryan, who is mostly famous for having a video clip of her shocked, crushed expression splashed across the DWTS big screen whenever there's a "shocking elimination" teased. As Head Judge Len Goodman says, "None of these people are novices!" This meant that the season premiere was the greatest week 1 ever, because everyone can already dance like it's the back half of the season, but no one's exhausted/injured/Hope-Solo-ing that the show is full of haters. (J/K! ILU HOPE!)
WHAT WE NEED HERE IS MORE NUMBERS!
For this season, the judges have been issued "half-point" paddles! This means if you get a 1, you can say that at least you didn't get a 0.5. (God, I hope they made a 0.5 paddle!) Instead of just giving each judge one paddle with a .5 that they could hold up with their other hand whenever they score, they made all new paddles because THAT'S ECONOMIC RECOVERY, PEOPLE.
TEAM [INSERT SOME KIND OF AUSTRALIA/KANGAROO/JOEY JOKE HERE PLEASE]:
Little Red's high school crush, *NSYNC's own Joey Fatone, is paired with Kym Johnson, whom you might remember from the time she won with Hines Ward and I spammed your flists with porn for three months. In the first episode they danced a Cha-Cha and were underscored, but the important thing is that Kym wore a fucking tassel jumpsuit. Bitch can FRINGE.
(all images from abc)
Watch this team for dorky brother/sister squabbles, Joey being hilarious, and Kym's eternal quest to find an outfit that's 100% fringe.
TEAM THAT POOR GYMNAST:
Sorry, but the first thing I thought about when I tried to name this pairing is that time DanceCenter tried to pretend Kym Johnson was Shawn Johnson and... anyway, Shawn is paired with pureDWTS Teen Bop poster boy Derek Hough, of the Ballas-Houghs. (Last time, Shawn was paired with Mark Ballas, of the... you get the idea. Those two and Julianne were the mouseketeers of preteen dance competitions, or something.) Their whole segment on the results show episode was about how Shawn is like two feet tall and Derek is kind of a jerk about it, in that way that pretty men get to be jerks and it still seems charming. Derek! I would not kick him out of bed for eating crackers.
Watch this team for Derek's chest, Shawn's adorable parents in the audience, and Bruno getting disgusting to make up for how Shawn was legally underage the last time she was on the show.
TEAM REDEFINING "SABRINA BRYAN" AS A TERM FOR THE DWTS VIEWING AUDIENCE:
No longer a tragic victim of lackadaisical fan voting in season whatever, Sabrina Bryan is now paired with Louis "Patron" Van Amstel and they can TEAR IT UP. Sabrina is clearly Tom's favorite ever, so obviously she should win right now. In the first results show, Emmy-Winning Tom Bergeron and Best Body After 40 Brooke Burke screw up and tell Sabrina she's safe, then that she's in jeopardy, and it was so awful they jumped script and just told her she was safe right there. Whew!
Watch this team for the redemption story! She needs to make it at least to Week 8 to clear her name.
TEAM HELIO AND
HELIO AND JULIANNE ARE BACK TOGETHER AND - so, the story of this pairing is that they made up Chelsie Hightower to look a lot like Julianne "Seacrest" Hough. Helio Castroneves continues to be the cutest most adorable person ever! He got a standing O before he danced a step. They dance a Foxtrot, which is my favorite dance for Chelsie to choreograph (her and Romeo's "New York New York" rocks always!), so I was all kinds of hearts and flowers for them last week!
Watch this team for HIS SMILE, which is only out-cuted by HIS BABY GIRL.
AWKWARD MOMENTS WITH PAMELA ANDERSON:
Pamela Anderson of teenage boy reading material fame dances with a tat-heavy Tristan McManus of Little Red's pretend boyfriend two seasons ago fame. She's a wreck, the band's a wreck (GUYS, it is too soon to butcher Amy Winehouse), she falls to pieces, and most of all, it's awkward. Awkward:
Bruno: "You look like a girl that could go all the way."
Tristan: *alludes to porn under pre-teen bed*
Brooke: gets a bonus whenever she can make someone cry on TV, because you KNOW they will put that shit in the dramatic montage leading up to tonight's results / next week's episode.
Pamela and Tristan were eliminated Week 1, and I'm kind of okay with this.
Tony is reunited with his finalist partner Melissa Rycroft! I thought I didn't like her but I mistook her for someone else. She's actually beautiful and so sweet and a great dancer and they did a Foxtrot to "Big Spender" and I LOVED IT SO MUCH that I started yelling at the TV when the judges were making shit up. Ugh, they're such scab refs sometimes.
Watch this team to get all wrapped up in the hope that Tony might FINALLY WIN! and then be crushed when something goes horribly and inexplicably wrong.
APOLO ANTON ONO AND KARINA FUCKING SMIRNOFF:
Apparently, when Apolo was assigned Karina as his replacement Julianne, his response was "Isn't she crazy?" The producers replied: "Yes." Accurate, and that's why I love her. First week out, Karina took one look at Kym's spangled jumpsuit and busted out the DAY-GLO NEON FRINGE.
Watch this team because Karina is fierce and Apolo has a sweet, sweet ass.
THE NEW HOTNESS:
Is Gilles Marini and Peta "Heavens to" Murgatroyd! No joke. Love Peta with shorter hair, love their mutual hotness-crush (he's married, I checked, because I would have been all over this, and Peta dumped Pam's former DWTS partner Damien for current DWTS dance pro Maks. I would draw you a diagram but Apple got rid of MacPaint like twelve years ago. Look, can I just pretend they're available for showmance?). They danced a Foxtrot that's just to die for and beautiful and perfect! I started yelling "FOR THE WIN!" And Gilles... everyone wants Gilles to win. <3 By "everyone" I mean "the audience" because "he was ROBBED."
Watch this team because they're not going to have sex and THIS IS THE CLOSEST WE WILL GET.
WHY BRISTOL WHYYYY:
Why is Bristol Palin doing this to herself again? She was so miserable the back half of Season 11! I mean, I know they're offering her a lot of money and relevance and stuff... look, fingers crossed she's spontaneously AWESOME. She's with human cartoon character Mark Ballas again. I keep waiting for disaster to strike, but it doesn't! She still lacks explosive potential, but since we all know we're not getting rid of her, I hope she brings the awesome! She's genuinely adorable. Plus... Mark in this team photo is forecasting the kind of crack choreography he's going to bring out this season.
Watch this team because of most-improved overcoming-shyness blah-blah-Palincakes.
FROM RUSSIA WITH PLEASE DON'T MAKE ANNA CRY:
Anna Trebunskaya, famous for being a red-haired Soviet badass, and Drew Lachey, famous for 98 degrees and being related to Jessica Simpson's ex-husband and letting Cheryl ride his cowboy in their freestyle, gosh, reunite for a Season 2 Smackdown! See, Drew and Cheryl beat out Anna and Jerry Rice in Season 2. I so hope they bust out the great clip of Anna threatening Maks in some rehearsal and Drew being terrified of her. He's still terrified of her and pledges to do whatever she says. In the results show, Tom is like "I'm married to a redhead, and GOOD PLAN, DUDE." Also in the results show, Anna is painfully freaked out that they're going to be eliminated, they end up in the bottom two, and she's in tears when they get to stay while Drew's like, seriously, it's OK, be cool sis. I feel a lot of sympathy for the dancers who have never won, especially when they're paired with a "proven" champion.
Watch this couple because IF YOU DON'T, YOU'RE MAKING ANNA CRY.
STOP TRYING TO MAKE THIS VAL CHMEIRKOVSKY SHOWMANCE THING HAPPEN:
This season, it's with Kelly Monaco, first season champion. I'm really pretty eye-rolly about her in general, and the way they're awkwardly trying to suggest that she and Val are shacking up isn't helping. I think that's enough about them.
Watch this couple because their team photo should be on the cover of a romance novel!
TEAM SEASON 12 REPRESENT!
Kirstie, Kirstie's twitter hands, and Maks are back in spray-tans! I still love them. They are awesome together, and I think I will like them a gazillion times if the week 1 trend of "not talking about Kirstie's age or weight" continues! But what else will they talk about!? Kirstie's solution: make out with Tom Bergeron on-stage to congratulate him on winning an Emmy. They officially have the BEST team photo:
Watch this couple because you really want to hear about her age some more and because you NEVER KNOW who she'll smooch next.
CHERYL BURKE: THE COMEBACK:
The O.G. Twinkletoes and Two-Time Champ are back! And by that I mean Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke, who pwned the dance floor and then hasn't won since Season 3. They have the brother/sisteriest of any brother/sister partnerships on this show, and they just KIIIIIILLED the Cha-Cha in week 1! The show's positioning them as favorites and I suspect it will be well-deserved!
Watch this team because... look, did I not just say "Cheryl Burke: The Comeback"!?
If you are ever going to enjoy DWTS, this is the year! If you love glitter but can't stand watching people suck, THIS IS YOUR SEASON!
And vote for Anna, because seriously, whenever a redhead cries God gives a kitten a really sad look.