'Dancing With the Stars' Diary: Weeping in your weave and a pat on the back for Ms. Miyagi

ralph-macchio-week1-dwts.jpg Zap2it's weekly "'Dancing with the Stars' Diary" offers fans a backstage pass to everybody's favorite only reality competition that throws celebrities at the mercy of that fickle mistress we call dance.

Bless our Bergeron-loving hearts, "Dancing With the Stars" is back! "But it's only been four months since the last season," you say. Only? While everyone else was watching Brad Womack play "pin the tail on the sociopath," we were ripping out the pages in our "DWTS" countdown (a "Far Side" desk calendar we covered in glitter).

So did the fabled 11 of Season 12 step up to the challenge? We sure had our reservations going into the premiere. After all, this cast has gotten slammed for being a tad un-starry. But they proved us wrong, offering a high-energy two hours with only a few failures -- one of which we'd really like to disagree with.

But enough of these generalizations. Let's get into the routines that defined the night, how the scoring breaks down and what the cast and judges had to say to us afterward on the ballroom floor.

We didn't see it coming

  • The first pleasant surprise of the night was Chelsea Kane, but the young actress' grace couldn't have surprised anyone too much. Hines Ward, on the other hand, knocked our socks off, Not only did the wide receiver deliver a heaping helping of charisma, his energetic cha-cha-cha was one of the highest rated performances of the night.  Anytime Len Goodman peppers his critique with ambiguous generalizations about football players' butts... you know something is going right. 
  • We can't be the only ones who saw Ralph Macchio have a bit of a Jennifer Grey moment during his first spin on the floor. Plenty will be quick to offer an early coronation to Kirstie Alley (more on that in just a second), but the night peaked for us with Macchio and Karina Smirnoff's high energy foxtrot. If this guy isn't in it for the long haul, we don't know who is. Smirnoff referring to herself as "Ms Miyagi" also offered the night's funniest, non-Mike Catherwood moment.
  • And, of course, there's Kirstie Alley. Regardless of the quality of her performance, we knew she'd give us one of the most memorable moments of the night, but no one could have ever anticipated it being that good. The 60-year-old actress slinked alongside partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy to the gloriously Musak version of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" that we can only describe as "sexy." (No, seriously.)

Scores and Steps

  • At the top we have the not-at-all-surprising foursome of Chelsea Kane (21), Hines Ward (21), Kirstie Alley (23) and Ralph Macchio (24). They schooled their respective contestants, and though they all did a great job, the ranking seems appropriate looking back at the entire episode.
  • The middle seems a little fuzzier this week. Kendra Wilkinson (18) clearly deserved a higher rating than she got -- at least better than Chris Jericho (19) and Romeo (19). Petra Nemocova (18) and Sugar Ray Leonard (17) seemed to earn fair marks. They were both good, but there's a lot of room for improvement. 
  • As for the dirty business of the bottom, we have to make a very serious objection to Mike Catherwood (13) earning the week's lowest score. Was it good dancing? Not really. But he had energy, excitement and seemed to really be enjoying himself. Wendy Williams (14), on the other hand, failed even more with her steps and looked miserable in the process. She wasn't much happier in rehearsal package, either, frequently blotting her tears in her wig. After the show, she told us why...

Backstage banter

  • "Here's a person that all her life she never felt comfortable getting on the dance floor," Tony Dovolani tells Zap2it of his partner, Williams. "For me, just to get her to today was a triumph." Wendy loved being out there on the floor -- she just wishes she hadn't had to see her rehearsal package first. "I was watching my package, and I'm crying trying to take hold of something that's always eluded me," she says. "So as I'm watching myself cry, I begin to cry as I'm getting ready to dance with Tony."
  • Kirstie Alley is taking her success in stride. "It's totally fake," she says backstage of her confidence on the floor. "That's where the acting comes in." As for those high marks? "It felt lucky." 
  • Mike Catherwood has a plan to redeem himself in his week 2 jive. And it's lethal. "I'm going to write "13" on the inside of both my arms," he says, "so that when Lacey [Schwimmer] and I are rehearsing, I can just remind myself of what I need to do next week... and that's literally murder Len and Bruno with dance moves. By the kinetic power of what I will present next week, I will actually blast them off of their chairs and into the crowd."
  • Carrie Ann Inaba was nicer to Mike, so apparently she'll be safe from the blast. She also has an idea of why he scored so low. "I think they were a little tough on Mike," she tells us. "Yes, it wasn't the smoothest foxtrot we've ever seen, but it was a pretty ambitious foxtrot, and I think he held his own. Perhaps if the people before him weren't as good, maybe we would have been more forgiving. A lot of this competition has to do with where they lay in the order of things."
  • And lastly, what the heck was Len saying about Hines Ward's butt? No one in the press room had any idea, and from the sounds of the laughter, neither did the audience. "I think he said he liked it," partner Kym Johnson says. Hines, on the other hand, is in the dark. "I was still in awe that I did the routine, I didn't even hear the judges," he says. "I guess that's a good thing."

Phew! Take a breather, folks. We're back one week from tonight with more performances. The elimination episodes don't kick off until Tuesday, Mar. 29.

Until then, keep checking back for more interviews withe the cast. 
Photo/Video credit: ABC