(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t watched Monday’s season premiere of “Dancing With the Stars”)
It was a 21st celebration on a fabulous scale on Monday when Season 21 of “Dancing With the Stars” kicked up it’s sparkly heels.
The list of contestants on the ABC reality competition is eclectic to say the least, with a 15-year-old YouTube star, a 71-year-old Oscar-nominated actor, an outspoken celebrity chef, a heroic Army serviceman and a Triple Crown-winning jockey among the contestants competing for the Mirror Ball Trophy.
The full starting line-up consists of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kim Zolciak, “Braxton Family Values” star Tamar Braxton, jockey Victor Espinoza, Afghanistan veteran Alek Skarlato, Gary Busey, Bindi Irwin, Nick Carter, Hayes Grier, Paula Deen, Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, Chaka Khan and Andy Grammar.
Controversial and often crazy, Busey was described as “a bit rough” by his partner Anna Trebunskaya but the actor charmed the judges and landed himself in the top group.
Another surprise headline-grabbing pick by ABC was Deen, who seemed to enjoy nothing more than shoving her partner Louis van Amstel’s face into her ample bosom while performing a slow-moving Quickstep, before revealing that she may have soiled her previously white underwear in a very TMI moment.
An early favorite among both judges and viewers was Bindi Irwin, the lovable daughter of late “Crocodile Hunter” star Steve Irwin. She is paired with fan favorite, Derek Hough, and her bubbly personality could take her far beyond her talent. “I think for me, Dad will always be my superhero,” Irwin said during rehearsals. “You know, everything I do in life is to make him proud and to carry on his legacy.”
Reality diva Zolciak proved to be just as dramatic in the dance contest as she was on the Bravo show, landing her near the bottom of the scoreboard.
Nick Carter, meanwhile, proved he’s still got his Backstreet Boy skills when he turned both partner Sharna Burgess and the female judges into blushing school girls.
American Pharoah’s jockey Espinoza admitted to Karina Smirnoff that he had trouble learning the moves due to all the concussions he’s suffered destroying his short-term memory. Wearing racing silks and a sparkly helmet, his grinding performance was called “fun and interesting” by Hough.
“There was no salsa, but I give you credit for the galloping and horsing around,” Inaba said.
Braxton was partnered with the reigning “DWTS” champion Val Chmerkovskiy, who is coming off a Season 20 victory with Rumer Willis and had a strong start with his new partner that “blew away” the judges.
Singer Chaka Khan had no trouble remembering the lyrics to go along with her dance at least, as she performed to her hit song “I Feel for You,” but she struggled with the choreography.
See video of Busey’s performance below.
“Dancing With the Stars” continues Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
22 Most Groundbreaking Reality TV Shows (Photos)
SURVIVOR Now in its 30th season, viewers have tuned in to the reality game show in droves since 2000 to watch ordinary people physically, mentally and strategically duel with each other in order to win $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor.
AMERICAN IDOL The first televised competition show to let viewers vote on the talent themselves, "Idol" may no longer be a ratings juggernaut, but it still proves exciting.
THE BACHELOR Though the actual long-term success rate remains shockingly low, viewers do seem to love the idea of "the bachelor" selecting from a pool of beautiful women in order to find a wife.
PROJECT RUNWAY Even viewers not into fashion can understand this show's appeal: a reality competition that requires its contestants to actually make something to prove they deserve to win.
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY The originator of the "Real Housewives" brand, "RHOC" showed viewers that being rich doesn't spare people messed-up lives; oftentimes, it actually makes those messes worse.
JON AND KATE PLUS 8 Viewers tuned in to get a glimpse of how an exceptionally large family operates, but they stayed once Jon and Kate decided to divorce.
JERSEY SHORE The housemates show earned record ratings for MTV, due in large part to controversy of how Italian-Americans on the East Coast were portrayed.
THE OSBOURNES At one time MTV's highest rated show, it offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a rock legend and his family. Viewers also tuned in to see if Ozzy was ever not stoned. (He wasn't.)
THE HILLS Originally a spinoff of "Laguna Beach," this semi-scripted series initially followed Lauren Conrad's pursuit of a career in fashion, but slowly degenerated into a series of feuds with Heidi Montag.
THE REAL WORLD Before it regressed to the mean, "The Real World" was one of the first reality shows to explore issues facing young adults: sex, religion, death, politics and even AIDS.
AMAZING RACE Combining a physical reality competition with exotic locales most viewers will never get a chance to see continues to prove a winning formula.
DEADLIEST CATCH This fishing boat-based program offers a rarity for viewers: a docu-series about a dangerous profession. Coast Guard rescue squads have frequently been a part of the show.
BIG BROTHER If you throw a number of volatile personalities into a room together, you can bet people will tune in to watch the explosions.
RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE If Tyra Banks could find the world's next supermodel, why can't RuPaul do the same for drag queens?
PAWN STARS It's hard to say what's more appealing: getting a dose of history in everyday artifacts that are brought in for appraisal, or the interactions of the colorful Harrison family that owns the shop.
AMERICAN CHOPPER Centered on the Teutel family and their shop, the series showcased contrasting styles and verbal arguments between Paul Sr. and his son. Arguments drove ratings until Junior's dismissal from the show.
TOP CHEF Fans of good food love this competition show about aspiring chefs cooking their way to the prize money awarded to the winner.
HERE COMES HONEY BOO BOO Described as both offensive and exploitative, this spinoff of "Toddlers & Tiaras" instantly became must-see-TV and made its 6-year-old star a cultural lightning rod.
JACKASS Who wouldn't want to watch a group of friends torture and humiliate each other? Such is the appeal of "Jackass," which spawned three (and a half) movies and an acting career for Johnny Knoxville.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS Attracting instant notoriety for a sex tape featuring its star, this Kardashian chronicle has proven to be one of the most popular reality shows of the current era.
DUCK DYNASTY Following a Louisiana family made wealthy by their duck-hunting products, the Robertsons became cultural icons for their ZZ-Top beards and frank yet cheerful outlooks.
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From ”Real World“ to ”Utopia,“ these shows have helped to innovate the genre