After various bumps in the road, Dancing With the Stars Season 32 finally hit the air on Tuesday night.
What was once a perfectly satisfactory competition series has desperately struggled to recapture its former glory.
The biggest flaw in Dancing With the Stars Season 32 Episode 1 out of the gate is ABC's decision to eliminate a competitor during the season premiere.
We get it: You want the series to have stakes and highlight that anyone could be eliminated anytime.
But as a viewer, watching the arcs of the competitors is one of the best parts of the show.
Knowing what they've gone through and how they approach criticism delivers compelling stories that allow us to root for the people we like.
Unfortunately, by the end of the premiere, Matt Walsh's time on the reality TV hit was already over.
In the past, competitors have had more than one dance before getting the boot, allowing them to get comfortable and reach their potential before facing elimination.
The cutthroat nature of the latest season doesn't allow for that, thanks to the decison to have a bottom two on night one, leading to an elimination.
Most of the contestants have never danced on live TV before, and they'll be slowly trying to navigate the ballroom with their partner while remembering the advice their pro dancer gave them in rehearsal.
It's hard to do all of the above with first-show jitters, so the competitors should have more than one dance to assess how receptive they are to feedback and, more importantly, whether the jitters fade.
Matt's first dance wasn't very good. There's no escaping that, but contestants have improved significantly in the past after taking feedback on board.
The show's point is to be judged based on your performance and try to win over the judges by showing improvement. That could have been possible with Matt and Koko.
Having a night-one elimination is a decent way to get the show in the headlines, but it wastes a perfectly good celebrity and their pro dancer.
The best comparison I can make is Big Brother. It's a wildly different show, but when the premieres were pre-recorded in the past, there were many occasions when someone was sent packing on the first night.
You don't even get a chance to form an attachment with the star because they've put their life on hold to move across the country to be in the house... only for them to be removed from the process in the first episode.
Big Brother has rectified that in recent seasons, and we're thankful for it, but it seems ABC is more interested in keeping up the stakes and talking points instead of letting the competition develop organically.
That's not to say I don't agree with the bottom two of the Dancing With the Stars Season 32 premiere. It's evident that Matt and Mauricio Umansky needed to up their game quickly.
But many other competitors were at the same level, including Tyson Beckford, Alyson Hannigan, Harry Jowsey, and Jamie Lynn Spears.
Something tells me the series would have found a way to cancel the elimination had Hannigan or Spears been in danger of elimination. They're big names who will probably bring fans to the show.
While I'm happy we'll see how all of the above will progress into the second week of the competition, it's a shame Matt wasn't afforded the same opportunity.
With the WGA strike ending and the SAG-AFTRA strike still well underway, it's hard to believe that ABC thought ending someone's time after their first dance was a good idea.
One extra episode would make a big difference in the current climate. Networks have fewer offerings right now, so there's an incentive to take a more subdued approach to the quest for the Mirrorball Trophy.
It's not all bad, though. The premiere benefited from the one-two-punch of Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough.
Hough has been with the series for years, and this is her latest position, and she's got plenty of chemistry with Ribeiro.
The series has been in a bit of a rut, hosting-wise, since the firings of Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.
They were both perfect hosts, and the show shouldn't have attempted to fix what wasn't broken.
Tyra Banks was a fun host, but fans were never going to connect with Bergeron's replacement, so his firing was one of the series' biggest blunders.
If the series isn't bringing Bergeron back, it has solved its hosting problem with Ribeiro and Hough.
They had a rapport from the first moments of the season premiere that never let up, and they're destined to have a long and storied time as the competition hosts.
Beyond the stupid elimination and the improvement in hosts, many likable celebrities are on Dancing With the Stars Season 32.
The show has definite scope to get its groove back, but the next few episodes will be crucial.
What are your thoughts on including a boot on the premiere?
Do you think it's detrimental to the series?
What are your thoughts on Alfonso and Julianne teaming up to host the show?
Hit the comments.
Catch new episodes of DWTS on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.