Time for my snap judgments (and, frankly, after last season's predictions, I'm feeling pretty confident)...
- Ron Artest: Well, there's always one bad boy, and while I appreciate his motivations, it's not clear his heart's in it (although perhaps I could fault newcomer Peta's choreography)
- Rob Kardashian: I'm pretty sure this makes two Kardashians too many participating in this event. And his reason for being here? Improving his confidence and getting out of his sisters' shadows. Translation? "I'm here to be more famous." And his flat-footed performance shows he won't be going too far.
- Kristin Cavallari: Not a bad performance, and she's got a good partner. Not convinced she's not just another media whore, though.
- Chynna Phillips: Charming, down to earth, and (surprise, surprise), great musicality. Should make it beyond the first half, at least. And why does Tony seem to always get paired with the cougar?
- Nancy Grace: Well, apparently, she is at least partly human. And her Irish partner is quite the charmer. Not yet motivated to fastforward past her as I did with Tom DeLay...
- David Arquette: Seemed to live up to the pre-show hype, although a bit rough and goofy around the edges (which expert partner Kym should be able to address). And did I see PeeWee Herman in the audience during his dance?
- Elisabetta Canalis: Who? Meh. Her heart didn't really seem in the dance, and she didn't really seem to be enjoying herself. And not helped by the cheesy choreography...
- Hope Solo: I like her. Sassy, self-deprecating, and also nice lines on the dance floor. My favorite so far.
- Carson Kressley: Rather amazing that Carson's flaming nature was overshadowed by the whole Chaz brouhaha. I hope he lasts for a while because he's freakin' hilarious, but I gotta confess I thought his technique was truly awful, so his charm will have to go a long way. I must agree that he puts the C in Caucasian...
- JR Martinez: Shocking, heroic, and inspirational backstory, and I think the first competitor with any kind of significant military background. Surprisingly smooth on the dance floor (especially after watching the rehearsal tape).
- Ricki Lake: Well, she's got the best pro in the bunch, and, like Kirstie Alley, surprisingly graceful on the dance floor--and I suspect she's got great performance chops for the high-energy numbers.
- Chaz Bono: Talk about the odd couple (but perfectly matched)... A pleasant surprise on the dance floor, with pretty snazzy footwork and the ability to 'sell' the dance.
So, in the final analysis? I'm tagging JR, Chynna, Ricki, and Hope as best bets for the four finalists, with David as a wild card.