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Keyshawn Johnson goes home on 'DWTS' but Valerie Harper deserves an award

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DANCING WITH THE STARS - "Episode 1701" -- "Dancing with the Stars" is back with an all-new cast and fresh show format. The competition began with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Kicking off with a spectacular opening number featuring the entire cast, each couple then performed a Cha Cha, Foxtrot or Contemporary routine. (ABC/Adam Taylor) VALERIE HARPER, TRISTAN MACMANUS

Keyshawn Johnson was the first to get sidelined in this year's "Dancing with the Stars" competition and that was probably the right.

His dancing didn't measure up to past NFL competitors and, in this crowd, he's clearly a benchwarmer.

But how Bill Nye manages to get fan votes when he spends most of his time doing anything but dancing is a real head scratcher. Even the judges are nice to him and, face it, what he's doing isn't rocket science.

Monday it was clear Amber Riley, Corbin Bleu and Elizabeth Berkley are the pack leaders.

But also Valerie Harper and pro Tristan MacManus taught viewers a very big lesson. From different generations, the two found common ground in her bravery and his compassion. During their rehearsal scenes, she struggled with a bum knee. He tried to get her to rest but she soldiered on and you could see the pride -- and emotion -- welling in the kid. When they got on the dance floor (greeted by a standing ovation), they weren't about to play the sympathy card. They pushed forward, did a respectable job and communicated so much. Obviously, they're not going to win this competition. But the show's producers should begin crafting an award named in Harper's honor. She's the most determined, heroic contestant in 17 outings.

Leah Remini got props (for opening up about Scientology during her rehearsal scenes) and for moving well. She's not as good as Bill Engvall, who seems to be in the bottom somehow. He channeled his inner Derek Hough and did quite well.

Jack Osbourne and Christina Milian are overrated. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi is better than you think. Brant Daugherty could be "most likely to succeed." He and Peta Murgatroyd did a dance that suggested "50 Shades of Grey." Watch them climb.

So, where are we now? Bill, Bill and Leah could be in the bottom three next week.

Valerie will stay in as long as she wants to do this.

Christina needs to make a move; Snooki needs to get some of those "Jersey Shore" kids to stop by.

It's early, but a Corbin vs. Amber finale wouldn't be out of order.

And Derek Hough? Thanks to his Emmy win Sunday night, he's becoming a bigger draw than some of the "Stars."


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