It was a big night in the ballroom – and not just because John McClane and GI Jane were in the house! Monday’s installment of Dancing with the Stars kicked off the first of what the network promised would include lots of action-packed tributes to the show’s 10th anniversary.
The premiere episode didn’t disappoint. There were lots of contemporary tunes (“Uptown Funk,” “Take Me to Church”), plenty of showstopping choreography (Derek Hough, so glad you stuck around this season!) and even quadruple hanky moments (welcome to the ballroom, Army vet and amputee Noah Galloway!).
No 9s or 10s were awarded just yet, but a couple of celebrities sure came close to earning some high scores. Here’s how the new contenders fared on night one:
Willow Shields and Mark Ballas
Her fluffy fringe skirt twirled nicely in this cha-cha – but goodness, the actress from The Hunger Games looked young up there! Then again, she is 14, the youngest celebrity ever on the show. “Like a glass of Alka-Seltzer – refreshing and makes you feel good,” said judge Len Goodman. “You’ve broken the ice now, you know what to do,” added judge Bruno Tonioli.
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson
The Shark Tank star was all smiles and very touchy-feely (of his partner’s lithesome hips) in this cha-cha with backup dancers and flying money. “I am completely blown away. I was not expecting that,” said judge Julianne Hough. Added judge Carrie Ann Inaba, “It’s not easy to come after a 14-year-old and exude youth.”
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker
Dancing to the best ’80s college tune ever, The Romantics’ “What I Like About You,” the Glee star – and cousin of Julianne and Derek Hough – came out with his guitar to perform a pretty gnarly jive. “You have the coolest jive I’ve ever seen,” said Tonioli. “It was full-on, flat-out lots of energy,” added Goodman.
Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe
She looked a little uncomfortable in those dancing shoes, but really – was anyone looking at the feet of the Carl’s Jr. Super Bowl commercial gal? All eyes were (natch) on the opposite side of her tail feather, which was probably a good thing since she missed more than a few steps during her jive. “You are so much fun to watch!” cooed Inaba. “There were a couple of things that stood out,” said Goodman. Yes, he said that.
Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev
It was a little early to trot out “Lady Marmalade,” but the gold-gown-wearing soul sister sure looked good dancing her first foxtrot. She got a standing ovation! (Granted, it was because she’s 70, but who cares?) “You rang my bell,” said Goodman. “That dance spoke for itself,” added Hough.
Chris Soules and Witney Carson
The latest Bachelor looked a little stressed during his jive. “I love a country boy, and I’m a little biased but I do love Footloose,” said Hough. “I do feel like your feet were a little loose.” Added Tonioli, “Rough, rugged yet totally charming.”
Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd
The pro footballer had a good time with “Uptown Funk,” but his booty work didn’t impress the judges. “Your footwork is atrocious,” Goodman said. “Peta, you gotta work on his feet.” “You are a beautiful, gorgeous man,” Inaba said, before slamming him with, “Don’t paste a smile on your face.”
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough
The Olympic gymnast performed a near-perfect foxtrot with the five-time champion. “It was polished, it was clean, but there was a lift,” said Inaba. “Like the Big Apple, it was sweet and delicious,” added Goodman.
Redfoo and Emma Slater
The LMFAO rapper looked awfully like he would be the first eliminated dancer after a dreadful cha-cha. “Well, Redfoo, you dance like your hair – a little wild and unkempt,” said Goodman. “I wanted to be more juicy wiggle in the booty area,” added Hough.
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess
The partner of the amputee Army vet said it best when she admitted he represents “the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced as a choreographer.” “You are a titan among men,” said Tonioli. “You really have a trump card. Play on that.” “You are broadening my scope of what dance looks like,” added Inaba.
Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani
The ol’ girl had a hard time keeping up with Olivia Newton-John‘s “Physical” during her cha-cha. “Be careful, you went on the wrong foot in the middle of the routine,” said Tonioli. “You are a ray of sunshine in this age-obsessed society,” Inaba praised.
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
The daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore – who were there with daughters Tallulah and Scout – performed a showstopping foxtrot. “Rumer, that was incredible! That was intense,” Inaba said. “Val, this could be your season,” added Goodman. “The best arms I’ve seen tonight,” topped off Tonioli.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.