She’s just 16. But Disney star Zendaya displayed confidence and grace well beyond her years at Monday’s premiere of Dancing with the Stars, leaving her fellow dancers struggling to find enough superlatives to describe her high-scoring performance.
“I mean, oh my gosh,” Dorothy Hamill told PEOPLE. “Doesn’t matter if she’s 16 or 12 or 100. It was just beautiful.”
Added Karina Smirnoff, standing with her Super Bowl champ partner Jacoby Jones: “We probably won’t be able to do what she did today after 10 weeks! Because that takes years of practice and training.”
Coleman, this season’s youngest contestant, seemed pleased with her contemporary dance, which earned her and partner Val Chmerkovskiy the night’s top score of 24 points. But rivals beware: She says she’s still figuring things out, and can’t wait to get even better.
“I’ve been really working really hard and, I guess you could say, saving everything I’ve been learning for today,” she said. “It’s basically the exact opposite of what I’m used to. Hip-hop is more relaxed, it’s more loose … I’m having to forget what I already know.”
She added: “I’m really just excited to dive into the next thing. Let’s get our shoes on now. Let’s go. Let’s get a head start.”
So is Coleman – with hip-hop experience and an impressive first performance – an early favorite to win?
New pro Lindsay Arnold sure thinks so. “She’s such a great dancer,” said Arnold. “She has great lines. And they performed a very good piece tonight. I think she’s going to do really well.”