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And So it Begins... - January 5

"Dancing With The Stars" is headed for the 2nd semester, and I'm Pierre Kelly here to take you to the school of ballroom dancing. Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris are your teachers for this dancing class that's sweeping the nation. Each week, our students will perform a routine for studying, and then test it by memory in front of the millions of people watching. Then, our judges will mark the points on their report cards from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, and if a couple gets on the honor roll, it's 30 being the maximum. But that doesn't stop there. At the end of the show, the public will vote to see who will stay alive in the running. Whoever gets the lowest score will be expelled off the stage immediately. In the end, only 1 couple will graduate with a trophy and the title of "Dancing With The Stars" champion. Now, let's take roll and see who's here...

STARS
Kenny Mayne (ESPN sportscaster)
Drew Lachey (Nick Lachey's brother)
Master P (Rap mogul)
Lisa Rinna (soap actress; host of "Soap Talk")
Stacey Keibler (WWE Diva)
Tia Carerre (Star of "Relic Hunter")
Jerry Rice (former San Francisco 49er)
Giselle Fernandez (formerly of "Access Hollywood")
George Hamilton (Actor, best known for his tan)
Tatum O' Neal ("The Bad News Bears")

DANCE PROS
Johnathan Roberts (2004 USA rising latin star champion; partnered with Rachel Hunter last season; Giselle's partner)
Ashly DelGrosso (Holiday Rising Star champion; partnered with Joey McIntyre last season; Master P's partner)
Edyta Sliwinska (Emerald Ball Latin amateur champion; partnered with Evander Holyfield last season; Geroge's partner)
Louis Van Amstel (US Pro Latin American champion; partnered with Trista Sutter last season; Lisa's partner)
Maksim Chmerkovskiy (2005 Yankee Classic Pro Latin champion; Tia's partner)
Andrea Hale (2-time US National champion; Kenny's partner)
Nick Kosovich (2005 World American Ballroom champion; Tatum's partner)
Anna Trebunskaya (2004 USA Rising Star Latin champion; Jerry's partner)
Tony Dovolani (2005 World Rhythm champion; Stacy's partner)
Cheryl Burke (2005 World Cup Pro Rising Star Latin champion; Drew's partner)

There's no turning back now as the bell rings and the class of DWTS 2006 is about to begin. Up on the blackboard, the females will take the waltz, while the males will cha-cha their way across the floor.

Batting leadoff, George & Edyta taking a cha-cha to Santana's "Oye Como Va." Before the music got started, George pretended to drink with a cocktail glass, and when it got started, Edyta had some solo moves of her own. Both did a cha-cha dance across the floor, but then George wowed it up with a solo dance. Edyta drew a play with a leg hold, but Edyta did some spins & a dip to end the song. Now, introduced by Tom, we get a first glance of the judges: Carrie Ann said it was passionate & suave, Bruno said the dancing was a bit uneven, and Len said it was nerve-wrecking, but carried it off. And with that, we get our first glance of the score board:

CARRIE ANN: 7
BRUNO: 5
LEN: 6
Total: 18
And we're off to an average start.

Taking 2nd, Lisa & Louis doing a waltz to Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman." Both mirrored each other moves at the beginning, but Lisa did her own leg lift to wow the crowd. She also did a 1/2 dip, and made her own air-leg move. Both took a spin, and by the end, they did a romantic dip. So then, we go to the judges: Len said it got it most of the time, Carrie Ann said they're a beautiful looking couple, and Bruno said the legs were even, but the posture was lost. Can they find a way to take the lead or end up, well...lost? No need for Jorge Garcia, all you need is the scoreboard:

CARRIE ANN: 5
BRUNO: 7
LEN: 7
Total: 19
And they take the lead by 1 point.

Doing 3rd, Kenny & Andrea doing a cha-cha to Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff." After both had the behinds bumped off at the start, Andrea made up a leg twist, and both raised their arms like they won a wrestling match. Kenny goofed off with a 60's dance gesture, and both swerve towards the end of the song. Will they crash into last place or cruise into 1st? Let's go to the judges: Carrie Ann appreciated it, Len said Kenny has the courage to dance and Bruno said it was demented. Let's hope they don't get sick & twisted for dead last.

CARRIE ANN: 4
LEN: 5
BRUNO: 4
Total: 13
And they end up in the cellar.

Stacy & Tony are next taking up their own waltz on stage. Throughout the performance, Stacy made up with her own artistic impression, including a leg spin, and again later on. She also did a leg-lift pose in the closing seconds. Will they get a leg up on the competition? Let's go to the judges: Carrie Ann said Stacy looked like a prima ballerina, Bruno said Stacy is a beautiful swan, and Len said it had grace & elegance, but it looked like Cirque de Soeil. Now, we go to the scores:

CARRIE ANN: 8
LEN: 6
BRUNO: 8
Total: 22
Her leg-routines kick Lisa & Louis off the top spot.

Drew & Cheryl are up doing a cha-cha to Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." Both danced in the band area, and when they went downstairs, both did their very own leg moves. Cheryl did a spin & dip, and later on, she did more spins and a couple of head bangs. Will they go out with a bang or a whimper? We go to the judges to find out: Carrie Ann said it was sharp, clean & passionate, Len said it was the best dance of the night, and Bruno said it was a strong performance. How did they score on their cards? Let's see:

CARRIE ANN: 8
LEN: 8
BRUNO: 8
Total: 24
And the lead is taken by 2 points.

We're halfway through, and our other half of the dancers will begin starting with Tia & Max doing a waltz to Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." In the opening seconds, Tia did her own Hawaiian gesture, and then both waltzed around the floor. From there, Tia did her own bend, both did a spin, and Tia did a dip again. Tia made up her own twirls and both got a romantic hug at the end. Now, we go to the judges: Carrie Ann said it saw a fairytale, Len said it was gorgeous, and the whole thing had a balance, and Bruno said it was like all the elements were there. Will they freeze into first or get frozen in last?

CARRIE ANN: 6
LEN: 7
BRUNO: 7
Total: 20
And they take 3rd place.

Master P (er, P. Miller) & Ashly will now cha-cha to The Jackson Five's "I Want You Back." From there, P. danced like a wallflower, but Ashly danced perfectly. At the start of the 2nd verse, P.Miller took some basic steps across the floor, while Ashly took advanced by doing the same, and they both did it solo. Ashly also did her own spins in the closing seconds. Is this what they call it "gangsta cha-cha?" Only the judges will know: Carrie Ann said the routine was framed beautifully, Len said it had good posture, but P. needs to commend your partner, and Bruno said it was like an emperor penguin. And now, we get the scores:

CARRIE ANN: 4
LEN: 4
BRUNO: 4
Total: 12
Get the Kleenex, they're now in the cellar.

Waltzing up is Giselle & Johnathan doing "I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Loved You" by Aretha Franklin. Giselle took it mid-air with a knee-spin, and both took a spin, and Giselle took a leg left from there. But then, Johnathan hooked up with Giselle for the hook & carry. Both did a dip by the end of the song. Let's see who the judges did: Carrie Ann said the hard work paid off, Len said it was a delight, and Bruno said it was passionate, and Giselle was the queen of drama. Will they get an award for their best performance yet? You'll know when we see the scoreboard:

CARRIE ANN: 7
LEN: 8
BRUNO: 8
Total: 23
So close! Just 1 away from tying the score up.

Jerry & Anna go up for a cha-cha to "I Like It Like That." Both walk, ask for the hand, and then....SHOWTIME! At the break of the song, Jerry had the fast feet like he was in training camp when he played football, while Anna shook things up. Jerry had the swerve going, but credit was given to Anna by doing a kick, a split, and her arms rasied up at the end. Did they like it or not? The judges will know for sure: Carrie Ann said they need to work those hips, Len said it was fabulous, and Bruno said it was a revelation & inspiration to all men. Did Bruno's opinion give Jerry & Anna the lead?

CARRIE ANN: 7
LEN: 7
BRUNO: 7
Total: 21
And they sack Tia & Max's score for 3rd place.

Batting cleanup, Tatum & Nick taking the last waltz to "What The World Needs Now." Throughout the song, they waltzed perfectly, including head dips by Tatum. They also did some twirls & a dip. But this is "Dancing With The Stars." The whole world is watching especially when you hear from our judges one last time: Carrie Ann said it was the most sophisticated & sexy waltz, Len said it knocked his socks off (yeah), and Bruno said the performance was high class. Will the end this show on a high note? We go to the scores one last time:

CARRIE ANN: 7
LEN: 8
BRUNO: 8
Total: 23
They tie Giselle & Johnathan for 2nd place.

The pencils are now down for our couples. We now grade the papers on the scoreboard: Drew & Cheryl take top honors with 24, Giselle & Johnathan and Tatum & Nick take 2nd with 23, Stacy & Tony have 3rd with 22, Jerry & Anna have 21, 20 points belong to Tia & Max, 19 goes to Lisa & Louis, an 18 goes to George & Edyta, Kenny & Andrea have 13, and way down in the basement, it's P.Miller & Ashly with 12. And with that, it's class dismissed for tonight. We'll be back tomorrow to see who passed and who got flunked out. We're on a 23-hour break. See you tomorrow when we dance with the stars.

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