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Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars opened last night with one of the strongest first shows ever as well as some news things for the season.

Most importantly, no more Samantha Harris! Brooke Burke, who won season 7, is now co-hosting. She was nervous when the night started but got stronger as it went on and I think she’ll be okay.

I don’t like where they have Brooke stationed, back in an aquarium-like room at the rear of the ballroom. It’s awkward how they make the stars watch the show from there, awkward watching them file back in after a dance and awkward getting the dancers from talking with the judges to the glassed-in room for their interview.

I love the new graphics package. The new titles look spiffy as do the bumpers in and out of the rehearsal footage. The new scoring screen is a little clunky, especially when watching in HD becuase it barely fills the middle 4:3 part of the screen (and they had some issues with the screen during the recap that they need to work out).

But, enough about the changes, let’s look at the dances in the order they happened:

  • Chad & Cheryl (Cha Cha Cha): Great start for the football player. He had some footwork issues, which is to be expected this early. He’s got the right attitude about the show though and should go far this season.
  • Shannen & Mark (Viennese Waltz): She overcame her fear and gave a nice performance. She was at her best when she smiled becuase it really looked like she was loving the moment. If she’s around for the finals (and I think she can be) I’d like to see her do this again because I’d like to see her really make this number soar.
  • Erin & Maks (Cha Cha Cha): I was surprised to find the ESPN reporter could move this well. She had some good shake and some good lines, especially on the high kicks.
  • Jake & Chelsie (Viennese Waltz): He was lead footed as he started, but got better as he went and Chelsie did some beautiful choreography. However, he should never hold a rose again on this show…it’s too cliched.
  • Nicey & Louis (Cha Cha Cha): She shook her jiggly bits and it was great. Louis and her are going to have a lot of fun this season and I think she can go far because she’s got the right mindset.
  • Evan & Anna (Viennese Waltz): The dance was beautiful, but Evan seemed disconnected from it and did have some footwork issues. I’m worried about the lack of chemistry here and I’m not sure Anna is the pro that can make Evan rise to his off-ice potential.
  • Buzz & Ashley (Cha Cha Cha): Buzz would’ve been better off with the Viennese Waltz as the first dance. The cha cha cha was a bit much to throw at him out of the gate. Kudos to him for going for it and to Ashley for doing what she could to keep it on track.
  • Nicole & Derek (Viennese Waltz): This waltz, from a choreography standpoint, was as good as Evan’s. The chemistry between Nicole & Derek, however, knocked it out of the park. Nicole’s going to be one to watch if she’s this good consistently.
  • Aiden & Edyta (Cha Cha Cha): Aiden tried, but it was like he was in slow motion and really seemed to move only the minimum amount necessary. I suspect he can do better, but so far I’m not impressed.
  • Kate & Tony (Viennese Waltz): She was so stiff even though Tony gave her the simplest choreography of any of the waltzes. Unless she dances far better next week, I think she’ll be first to exit.
  • Pam & Damian (Cha Cha Cha): Here’s someone else with jiggly bits who knows how to use them. Overall I enjoyed her performance, despite some messy moves in the middle. She had a lot of fun with it, and that works in the cha cha cha. I thought the 8 from Bruno was high. I think he judged her looks more than her dance.

No results show this week, so these scores and votes will combine with next week’s to make the first elimination. Right now, I think Kate will exit. Buzz will be too popular for a while yet and Aiden is a bit protected since he’s got the soap following.