'Dancing with the Stars' Season 28 Cast Revealed

The judges were a lot tougher as Season 28 kicked off -- plus, see the moment Christie Brinkley broke her arm, forcing daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook to step in for her.

Jumping the gun on the fall season, "Dancing with the Stars" kicked off its 28th season in epic form with a two-hour premiere that answered the question: Can Sean Spicer or Lamar Odom dance?

The quick answer is no. But how bad was it?

They were two of a dozen stars that took to the stage in a brand-new stage and facing harsher criticism from the judges. No dancer got higher than a seven-out-of-ten from the judges, and they were very restrictive of those.

Honestly, we're okay with this because it actually pulled the judges down to where we usually rank these contestants ... especially this early in the season. Sometimes a routine is just bad and contestants shouldn't be rated based on effort and likability all the time.

The move is a direct reaction to Bobby Bones winning Season 27, despite being the weakest dancer in the finals. It immediately sent the production into panic mode, apparently, as the credibility of the show as a format for rewarding quality dance into question. And it looks like harsher judge votes are just one change to come.

With judge votes balancing with audience votes, a harsher judge number goes a long wa to balance out audience enthusiasm for charming-but-terrible dancers. But Tom Bergeron promised we'd learn about another huge change to the scoring process next week when America begins to vote. Perhaps their voice will be reduced from 50 percent.

In the meantime, there were some really solid starts for a couple of the contestants, while a few others stumbled but showed real potential. And then there were the stinkers. And boy did they stink up the dance floor.

Plus, we got to see the fall that knocked Christie Brinkley out of the competition and forced her daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook to tag in ... three days before the premiere!

Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last sixteen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.

Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Carrie-Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

Hannah Brown & Alan Bersten

(Cha Cha) Alan did not go easy on Hannah for their first tie out, filling their high-energy routine with lots of twists and turns and even the splits at one point. While Hannah is still a little timid in her movements, wobbly on her spins and her hips could use some more gyration, she has the posture, attitude and commitment to really be someone to watch in this competition. She has a natural rhythm and charm that pours out of her.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 6

My Score: 7

Kel Mitchell & Witney Carson

(Tango) He lumbered around the stage a bit and was way too heavy on his feet moving across the stage. His moves lacked full commitment and extension -- even losing his grip on Witney's hands a few times as she did go for it -- and he had a nervousness about using his body completely. He just needs to sink into it and work on gliding and grace. There's potential in him to shake it off and be a contender as he grows in confidence. His presence felt right and he seemed to get the spirit of the dance.

Judges Scores: 6, 5, 5

My Score: 5

Kate Flannery & Pasha Pashkov

(Cha Cha) We love how much fun Kate was clearlying having throughout this routine. But the footwork was an absolute mess early on and this was almost unrecognizable as cha cha until they gave her a breakdown segment and she could focus. She did not seem to confidently know the steps throughout, and moved with trepidation and a timid smallness that wasn't doing her any favors. This was a rough start, but still, love that she's having fun. If that can translate into confidence in her movements, then she could do well.

Judges Scores: 5, 5, 5

My Score: 4

Lamar Odom & Peta Murgatroyd

(Foxtrot) Lamar kicked this off like a cross between Dracula and Frankenstein's monster and it did not get better. He was lurching across the stage with no rhythm or timing. In fact, it looked like he was walking slowly rather than dancing. There was honstly nothing good about this except that he seemed to know the steps. What a mess.

Judges Scores: 5, 3, 3

My Score: 2

Lauren Alaina & Gleb Savchenko

(Cha Cha) Body rolls, full extension, excellent timing, Lauren really surprised us after she put herself down so much in her package. She really has the makings of a fine dancer in there and attacked this with passion and gusto. It was almost a little too sultry for the format but she's going to be fun to watch as she grows and learns.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 6

My Score: 6

Sailor Brinkley-Cook & Val Chmerkovskiy

(Foxtrot) After her mom, Christie Brinkley, suffered a broken arm, Sailor stepped in with three days to learn the dance. Was that supposed to be a full body spin on the floor at the end, because the crouch spin looked awful. We think Sailor lacked the courage and trust in Val to go for it in that moment, which is fair after three days. She was competent in the choreography and even had some nice leg flicks and extensions. What's perhaps craziest is that she wasn't the worst on the night. She has a ton of potential.

Judges Scores: 6, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Karamo Brown & Jenna Johson

(Salsa) Props for trying an ambitious lift the first week out and almost pulling it off. This should be a fun partnership to watch. Karamo has so much charisma and enthusiasm, he actually pushed himself ahead of his timing, and caused himself to mess up a starting step. He needs to work on digging into the floor a little bit to get the right body movement and hip action going. There's a swag to salsa that was missing; he was a little too upright.

Judges Scores: 6, 5, 6

My Score: 5

Ray Lewis & Cheryl Burke

(Salsa) That was ... not great. Ray danced like your dad when he's had a little too much to drink at your wedding reception. He almost looked pained at times, and he was absolutely lacking in anything steamy or sinuous. There was no flair to what he did. He took off on the wrong foot at one point and really seemed out of his comfort zone. Not sure why the judges liked it as much as they did, to be honest.

Judges Scores: 5, 5, 5

My Score: 3

Mary Wilson & Brandon Armstrong

(Foxtrot) First of all, poor Mary was having real trouble with her hair throughout this piece and it was definitely distracting her from the performance. Regardless, though, she lacked a grace and elegance through this piece. She didn't seem to fully commit to her extensions and her carriage lacked full proper posture, but she was doing proper foxtrot steps and committing to this process. She could well be a dark horse surprise.

Judges Scores: 6, 5, 6

My Score: 4

Ally Brooke & Sasha Farber

(Cha Cha) Nerves got her about halfway through after she messed up a turn, but before that Ally was showing real potential. It's interesting that she has great hip movement walking and in hip-hop dancing, but was too stiff in the cha cha. But, we did see full extensions and her completing moves. Her musicality was good, but her timing was rushed (nerves?), so she's another who has potential to find herself as a dancer in this process, but we expected a little more..

Judges Scores: 5, 5, 6

My Score: 5

Sean Spicer & Lindsay Arnold

(Salsa) Was the costume designer trolling Sean with that awful green shirt? Unfortunately, that wasn't the only ugly thing about this performance. Lindsay simplified this as much as she could and Sean still was all over the place as if he couldn't find the beat at all. He has no timing, no grace, no finesse. But his attack is monstrous and impressive and he's trying and fully committed in a way that Lamar seemed to lack. Can he learn, though? That is the question

Judges Scores: 4, 4, 4

My Score: 3

James Van Der Beek & Emma Slater

(Tango) Wow, to come out week one with a tango and a new partner with that level of passion, strength and commitment is monumental. James absolutely killed the attitude and character of the piece, and he had some really great body work as well. He had a natural grace and command throughout, and it really did feel like he was leading that dance. He could win this whole thing.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 7


You hate to just say that the top four acts of the premiere are going to carry all the way through to the finale, because that doesn't always happen. That said, it's hard at this stage to not see both James and Hannah there, as both were very strong.

America loves to watch someone grow, so starting strong can actually hurt, but again we don't know how scoring changes could mix things up.

Right now, the women are definitely coming out stronger, with Hannah and Alaina and Sailor really showing something. On the men's side, James dominated the competition, but Kel and Karamo have that growth potential.

If Sean and Lamar continue like this and don't go out first and second, then we know the system is still broken and they're advancing for the wrong reasons. They had no rhythm, no sense of how to move and we've never seen a star begin at this level and improve enough to content. Even Bobby was a little better (sorry Bobby).

"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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