In "Dancing with the Stars," there's an old and well-established rule: If you start off on the right foot, you'll end up on the right foot. Loosely translated, if you get great scores the first night, you'll almost certainly make it to the final three or four. There are exceptions to this rule . . . but not many of them.
With that in mind, our leaders who should go far, health permitting:
- Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani: Remarkable first night -- a 22 -- when no one even figured they'd be in the top five. ("No one," translated to mean "me.") They were the standouts, and the ones to beat, and in honor, I've posted their first dance below.
- J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: A tie! These guys are right there, and they, too, should be going the distance.
- Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Again, a very slight and absolutely negligible different with the foregoing leaders. I still say these two will win.
- Honorable mention: Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: Well, good score, but Hough -- arguably the biggest star on the floor, will make certain Ricki hangs on.
Now . . .who's got problems:
- Ron Artest and Peta Murgatroyd: Unless a miracle happens to them, they could be the first to go.
- Elisabetta Canalis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Again, last night's score of 15 bodes not-well-at-all.
- Finally, Nancy Grace and Rob Kardashian. Not a terrible start at all, but not mind-blowing either. They could get into trouble within a couple of weeks. But I think both are probably safe tonight.
Who goes tonight: Elisabetta Canalis. Yes, Metta World Peace had the worst score, but I suspect he'll get a good turnout from LA Laker fans. That should keep him in the hunt. By contrast, Elisabetta has no real constituent -- other than other women who dated George Clooney, and that's not really a sizeable portion of the voting population (a few hundred thousand), so I'm figuring she'll be hanging up her shoes in a few hours.