Dancing with the Stars: Season 21 kicks off

Posted at 12:04 PM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 12:04:43-04

"Dancing with the Stars" is BACK! This is such a fun show and I get to watch it for my JOB. Love it. There is quite a cast of characters hitting the floor this year. I have an early favorite (read on to see who it is) and a few I will enjoy watching for the train-wreck factor. Bottom line, night one was a success.

Victor Espinoza is the Triple-Crown winning jockey of American Pharaoh. If his first dance is any indication of what he can do, it's going to be a rough ride. He needs to put in A LOT of work. He's cute and has a great attitude, but so far, dancing doesn't appear to be his thing. 15 for Vic.

Tamar Braxton, co-host of "The Real" rocked her Quickstep with Val Chmerkovskiy. First of all, and this has nothing to do with anything, she's absolutely gorgeous. I could quite possibly stare at her all day. Second of all, she's going to be awesome. Her quickstep was chock full of content and really well executed. Go Tay! 23

Chaka Khan descended from the ceiling like the diva she is. She was fun to watch, however, her Cha Cha lacked content and she clearly lost her place several times. She needs to tighten it up, but she can definitely bounce back from this. You got this, Chaka! 13

Hayes Grier is a "social media star". I don't have a clue who this kid is, but his Cha Cha with Emma Slater was flipping adorable. You could tell he was really trying and I find that endearing. He has everybody crushing on him, from Carrie Ann to Erin Andrews. Emma might just have herself a gold mine. 21

Andy Grammer captured my heart when he mentioned that he's doing this season of DWTS for his mom that passed 6 years ago. She loved dance and he's sure she would have been thrilled that he was a part the show. My mom passed 6 years ago and we definitely had a DWTS bond. We even went to the live show in DC in January of '07 when I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest child. Back to Andy and his Foxtrot with Allison was divine. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them float across the floor. I think this dude has good things in store for the season. 21

Paula Deen's Quickstep was not great. It was not for lack of choreography by Louis Van Amstel. It almost came across like she wasn't taking it seriously. The judges said it looked like she was hanging onto Louis instead of owning her moves. If her interactions with the judges are any indication, she's gonna be a handful. 15, so she beat Chaka Khan.

In the pre-dance package, Carlos Penavega (boy band star/wife of Alexa) watched his wife practicing her dance and seemed nervous about his performance. No need. His Jive with Witney Carson was fantastic. I'd watch it again. It was packed with energy and fun. 23

Julianne Hough told Alexa Penavega (Actress/wife of Carlos) that her Jive was pakced with content. That's most like the reason she didn't have it all together. She was definitely entertaining but there were some sloppy elements of her performance with Mark Ballas. I have no doubt that she's going nowhere but up in this competition. My guess is she was taking it easy on her husband so he could beat her the first night. 22 for Alexa. By the way. It is WEIRD having a married couple competing against each other.

Kim Zolciak Biermann (Real Housewives of Atlanta) might have been sedated for her Salsa. Her moves were very slow and flowy when flowy was not what this performance needed. I don't know if she's going to be able to bounce back from this one. 12 for Kim with high hopes for next week from the judges

I fell in love with Bindi Irwin watching her pre-dance package. Then she hit the dance floor and her Jive was so good that I stopped watching and started writing. She was fanTAStic. This chick is oozing with charm. She's got it. I've never done this on an opening night blog, but I call Bindi Irwin for the win. Early congrats on mirror ball #6, Derek Hough. It's yours to lose. 24, which at this point, was the highest score given.

I had such high hopes for Gary Busey's Cha Cha with Anna Trebunskaya. It left me speechless. Much like his communication, it was kind of messy and slightly difficult to understand. And then he dedicated his dance to his mom that has passed. They're all killing me with the mom dedications. Bottom line, Busey's Cha Cha was not great, but he's such a train wreck, people are going to keep him around. 15

Alek Skarlatos is the Oregon Army National Guardsman specialist who contributed to the take down of a terrorist on a train in France back in August. He performed a Foxtrot with Lindsay Arnold and it was poetry on the dance floor. He's kind of the "average Joe" taking on the competition and he's going to be great. Can't wait to see all he can do. 22

I could possibly watch Nick Carter all day. His Cha Cha with Sharna Burgess was fun, full of content and super entertaining. With a 24 he tied with Bindi for the top spot.

Night 1 in the books and it was FUN! This is a great cast with a handful of stragglers who will most likely not be around for long. Season 21 is shaping up to be a good one.