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'Dancing With The Stars' season 14 premiere: Jaleel White, Katherine Jenkins tie for highest score ever on opening night

Actor Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson and classical singer Katherine Jenkins and her partner Mark Ballas perform on 'Dancing With The Stars' on Monday, March 19, 2012. (Adam Taylor)

March 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
As season 14 of "Dancing With The Stars" got under way Monday night, it was clear that it may be the most evenly-matched and competitive season ever.

See a full recap of all the action Monday on "Dancing With The Stars"

Not one couple performed poorly, but two teams did outdo the others to share the judges' top spot on a night that was split between the Foxtrot and Cha Cha Cha.

Katherine Jenkins and partner Mark Ballas Foxtrotted their way to 26 out of 30 points - shockingly high for the first week of competition. Minutes later, Jaleel White and partner Kym Johnson got the same score for the same dance.

The couples know it's only the beginning.

"It's one week at a time," White said. "It means I'm drinking tonight."

"I think I'll be just as emotional next week," Jenkins said. "Sorry, Mark, I'm going to be just as stressed."

With triple eights, telenovela star William Levy placed third on the judges' leaderboard. The first move America saw was his partner, Cheryl Burke, putting her hands on his rear end.

"Isn't that what everyone wanted?" she said. "You can thank me, girls at home watching."

One point behind them was a four-way tie for fourth place between Roshon Fegan and partner Chelsie Hightower; Jack Wagner and partner Anna Trebunskaya; Gladys Knight and partner Tristan MacManus; and Sherri Shepherd and Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

Shepherd said she was prepared in case didn't go so well.

"I brought my own mirror balls with me just in case we didn't do well," she said. "I told everybody, as soon as I come out in this dress, all you're going to see is frickin' boobs. What can we do? We stoned them up and blinged them up and made them look pretty."

Two teams tied for fifth place with their triple sevens: Maria Menounos with partner Derek Hough and Donald Driver with partner Peta Murgatroyd.

Menounos said having to go first caught her by surprise.

"Going first is so nerve-racking," she said. "If I had gone second or third, you kind of would've gotten a little settled, but it was like, bam! Here we go!"

Driver was a huge crowd pleaser, and in this competitive season, so were the three teams who landed - just barely - at the bottom with 20 out of 30 points: Melissa Gilbert with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Martina Navratilova with partner Tony Dovolani and Gavin DeGraw with partner Karina Smirnoff.

"Everyone brought their A-game," Gilber said. "I was amazed at the level of ability of everybody.

There's no elimination this week. All 12 couples return to dance again Monday and the first couple to be voted off will be revealed the following day.

See a full recap of all the action Monday on "Dancing With The Stars"

Check out photos of this season's "Dancing With The Stars" premiere.


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