'DWTS' Recap: Chaz Bono Surprises Everyone

Chaz Bono and Lacey SchwimmerSeason 13 of Dancing With the Stars is going to be a good one, possibly the best one ever, in fact. Of course, there was really only one dancer anyone really cared about (let's be serious). So after weeks of hype, the question was answered: Chaz Bono can dance!

Take that, haters! Seriously, he was good. He and Lacey Schwimmer danced a mean cha-cha set to "Dancing in the Streets." It earned high praise from the judges -- "great, great debut Chaz, you should be proud," Bruno Tonioli told him -- but only earned a 17 out of 30. For week one, though, it was probably enough to keep him there.

More importantly, his presence broke a barrier that needed to be broken. Like the show or hate the show, Dancing With the Stars is breaking some big barriers with this.

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The cast is incredibly diverse. Elisabetta Canalis is Italian while her partner Val Chmerkovskiy (and his brother Maks) is Russian. It goes on and on, from Carson Kressley who is gay to JR Martinez who is burned on half his face from war to Hope Solo who can kick Maksim Chmerkovskiy's bum in soccer to Nancy Grace who is in her 50s and still feisty and energetic.

This isn't a cast who can be pigeonholed or typecast or stereotyped in any way and that makes them a pretty incredible, really exciting cast to watch.

Every season, I am impressed by the diversity the show attracts, but this is by far the best. There is diversity in backgrounds, ages, body types, race, sexual orientation, and gender. It's a cast that will be fun to watch, but most importantly, it's bringing home the notion that not everyone has to be the same or conform to certain standards in order to be awesome.

People across the US watch this show, so if you live in a big city, maybe this isn't that shocking or enlightening, but for some, this is a big, big deal. This may be the first time some people have had exposure to a transgendered person and maybe they learned something Monday night.

Chaz Bono is pretty much just like everyone else. Except he can dance better. My guess is he stays at least through Tuesday night, but my early money is on him to go pretty far.

In the meantime, it's moving to see the incredible diversity this show brings to the table. This is the first season I have been really excited about in a long time.

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Image via ABC

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