For most of the contestants and their partners, it was love at first sight – or bite in one instance
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Though Dancing with the Stars fans are just hours from welcoming the newest batch of celebrities into the ballroom during Monday night’s season 21 premiere, the competitors themselves took a few all-important first important steps weeks ago when they met their partners and began showing off their moves.

Luckily for this season’s contestants, their initial encounters with the pros and with America’s latest dance obsession were (mostly) stress-free. Sure, they might not have expected to hop straight into the splits or find themselves becoming the center of attention quite so quickly, but nobody said the quest for the Mirrorball Trophy would be easy.

Below, check out all 13 stars at the very beginning of their DWTS journey. Piece of advice: If you’re smart, you’ll follow Paula Deen‘s lead and rustle up some snacks before getting down to business.

First day of rehearsals, you say? For Tony Dovolani, that was no excuse to take it easy on Kim Zolciak-Biermann.

And though Nick Carter seemed a little anxious about being thrown into the Dancing deep end, he wasn’t quite as overwhelmed as partner Sharna Burgess, who was a huge Backstreet Boys fan in her teens.

Karina Smirnoff and her partner, jockey Victor Espinoza are doing their best to conquer one big (or should we say small?) issue

Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, the show’s first married contestants, are already getting competitive.

Bindi Irwin brought a special little friend along for her first meeting with pro Derek Hough.

Hayes Grier is bringing something else to the floor – a very, ahem, unique technique (our condolences to his partner Emma Slater)

Singer Andy Grammer might have originally been paired up with Peta Murgatroyd (who will be sidelined for much of the season due to injury), but he was just as thrilled to find out he would be working with Allison Holker.

Despite earning his notoriety in a very serious situation, train hero Alek Skarlatos just can’t resist getting carried away by a very current dance craze.

It seems neither can Tamar Braxton or Chaka Khan.

Gary Busey is already psyched to start working on his dance with Anna Trebunskaya.

And finally, Deen outdid all of her fellow contestants when she welcomed partner Louis Van Amstel into her home for some good old Southern cooking.

Season 21 of Dancing With the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.