Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars Kicks Off


Snooki gets in the groove on the 17th season of Dancing with the Stars

Irene Schultz

Gym, tan, dancing? Fist pumps rolled in Season 17 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars this week. Dancing with the Stars has always been an audience favorite as many home viewers become excited about who the new contestants will be come each new season. This season, among others, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi shocked many Jersey Shore fans with her non-club moves.

The same judges returned to DWTS this season, including Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. Well-known host Tom Bergeron also returned. Some changes this season included: the fact that the show only airs one night a week, instead of two and the stars waited for their scores onstage and received them immediately after the judges calculated their results.

All the Jersey Shore fans that tuned in to watch their beloved meatball rock the ballroom on DWTS learned that “Snooki” Polizzi has officially grown up and will from now on be referred to by her true name Nicole or, according to Bergeron, ‘Snicole.’ Now, the 50-pounds-lighter mother of baby Lorenzo is ready to dance her best and move on from being a “hot mess” as she described her past “Snooki” persona.

Pollizi performed well and did not prove herself to be the underdog of the competition Celebrity contestant Bill Nye, of the successful TV series Bill Nye the Science Guy, crashed and burned on the season’s premiere. Nye and pro partner Tyne Stecklein danced the cha-cha together, resulting in less-than-stellar results. The self-proclaimed “Beauty and the Geek” duo received the lowest score of the evening, a total of only 14 points. Judge Len compared their routine to being waxed: “painful while it happened and lovely when it was over.” Bill was awkward yet charming. His moves were a little stiff and stunted, most likely hindering the team to make it to the finals. For sheer entertainment value, however, home voters hope to keep him in for at least a few more weeks with their help. Sophomore Jyliann Davis said, “I loved Bill Nye the Science Guy. I thought the judges were very harsh to him when other contestants were doing just as bad as he was. He wasn’t the best but he didn’t need to be scolded that harshly on the first day. I hope the rest of America votes for him and keeps him in the competition.”

The most successful performance of the night was from Glee’s Amber Riley, as many expected from a self-labeled “theater kid.” Stunning in a sassy glittery dress, Riley explained, “I’m a big girl. I’m not small, but I think that it would be good for someone my size actively, actually trying to dance.” Alongside pro partner Derek Hough, she truly was an inspiring performer to watch work the dance floor in their snappy cha-cha routine. The duo made DWTS history by being the first pair to receive a score of all nines on the very first night of the competition, resulting in a high score of 27. “Amber was fantastic and she blew me away. She was awesome and I wasn’t expecting her to be able to dance and move like that. She did really well with the choreography she was given and I’m excited to see what she brings next week” Davis added.

Contestant Valerie Harper was another to make DWTS history when she became the first ever to receive a full standing ovation at the beginning of her performance. Due to her much-publicized battle with cancer, Harper was a highly anticipated contestant this season. Before her dancing even began, the audience rose to their feet in honor and congratulation for her amazing courage and bravery in struggling and surviving through her cancer battle. Harper explained to cameras that she has “always loved dancing” and is happy to have a chance to “perform for people” again. Given only three months left to live, Harper is an inspiration to all and it is exciting to see her continue to dance and live her dream. Dancing nine months past her self-described “expiration date,” Valerie no doubt has the sympathy vote.

Overall, the DWTS season 17 premiere was entertaining to say the least. With Derek and Amber leading the way after week one and Bill Nye and Tyne bringing up the rear, viewers are curious to see what the upcoming weeks bring. With science and fist pumping, this season is sure to be amusing.