In Premiere, Dancing Trumps Stars

“Dancing with the Stars” seems more and more old fashioned every time it comes on. A ballroom competition! Before an audience required to dress up! Featuring “stars” so obscure, a few of them have never rang a bell.

For its 14th season premiere Monday, the top scores were already 26 out of 30 – two 9s and an 8 each – for opera singer Katherine Jenkins and the guy who played Urkel, Jaleel White, who you wouldn’t recognize if he walked right past you.

Just behind them was William Levy, a telenovella star who got a lot of screams from his fans.

So there may not be big stars on the show, but there is big dancing. They’ve had several weeks to practice the first dance; their real skills or lack of them may emerge later.

There were no joke candidates, or half-hearted participants. So even the oldest performer (and arguably biggest name) Gladys Knight, pictured, got 23 points – two 8s and a 7 – for her inaugural performance. The lowest score of the night was 20 – two 7s and a 6, for three different contestants, Gavin DeGraw, Martina Navratilova and Melissa Gilbert. And nobody did so badly as to even earn a 5 or below.

Everyone kept patting themselves on the back about the best opening show ever. But against “The Voice,” and with so few big names involved, it may also be their worst opening show, ratings-wise.

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