Thirteen favorite "Dancing with the Stars" alums and 13 favorite pro dancers Cha cha cha'd and Fox-trotted their way around the dance floor for the debut of the first ever all-star season. Six former winners hope to nab a matching mirror ball "bookend;" they're battling seven other fan favorites who will work hard to get their first shiny trophy.
One new aspect to this season: The scoring! Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba will be able to give half-point scores this time around. (6.5, 7.5, etc.) The judges also told us that they will be scoring particularly hard since this group has already had one spin around the floor.
Watching the show feels a little different with the all-star cast. In past seasons, you know there will definitely be some bad routines. And that awkwardness is part of the fun! This season, even the so-called "worst" isn't that bad. Sigh. That's part of the fun.
Here's how the scores played out for round one, from highest score to lowest:
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke -- 24.5 out of 30
We had to wait until the very end of the show to watch the season 3 champs perform, but it was worth it. Emmitt and Cheryl Burke came out of the box and reminded us why they earned the mirror ball trophy oh so long ago. Their Cha cha cha was the best dance of the night. The chemistry is still there; the talent is still there; the charisma is still there. Len said it best: "You can teach the mechanics but you can't teach flair."
Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd -- 24 out of 30
Gilles is here to bring sexy back to the show. And I'm pretty sure you could see women in the audience actually swoon when he came down the stairs in the ballroom. Gilles seemed a little taken aback when he learned he didn't get his original partner, Cheryl Burke. Then he met Peta Murgatroyd. Cheryl who? Peta and Gilles have great chemistry. The duo performed a gorgeous Foxtrot that had the judges swooning.
Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel -- 22.5 out of 30
The former Cheetah girl is now a Cheetah young woman. The dancer who was eliminated earlier than anyone expected in season 5 is out for redemption and Sabrina says she has a lot to prove. She'll be on that path with one big change; the first time around she danced with Mark Ballas. This time, the fan favorite is paired with Louis van Amstel and the duo is on fire. Sabrina was almost overly energetic with her Foxtrot; all the judges told her to rein things in just a little bit. Ahhh, youth.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff -- 22 out of 30
Apolo apparently likes mirror ball trophies as much as he likes gold medals. It's been five years since he took home the top prize, and back then, he did it with Julianne Hough. For the all-star round, Apolo is dancing with Karina Smirnoff. He likes that she pushes him; she likes his Olympic training regimen. The duo did a funky cha Cha cha cha, complete with glow in the dark accessories. I never thought I'd hear an LMFAO songs on this show, not quite a match! Len wanted to see more hip action from the speed skater, but Carrie Ann told him he was 3,000 times sexier than his first pass through the ballroom. Yes, 3,000 times. That's quite a scale.
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough -- 22 out of 30
The former Olympian won her past season with Mark Ballas; since she's now paired with Derek Hough she said she feels like she's cheating on her husband. Derek said to just consider him her second husband. The duo did an energetic Foxtrot that Carrie Ann loved, Bruno really liked, and Len was disappointed, saying "I am a cup of tea in a world of lattes." I think he meant he likes things old school and not so modern. I think.
Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy -- 21.5 out of 30
The season one champ has a lot of people questioning her victory. After all, they only did six dances back then. And she was on the show before it was a phenomenon. What Kelly has now is a drive she didn't have that first time around; that, and Val Chmerkovskiy. These two had instant chemistry during their Cha cha cha and if they keep up their commitment, can go very far.
Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower -- 21.5 out of 30
Like Apolo, Helio is a member of the former partners of Julianne Hough club. Producers paired him with another young, talented blonde, Chelsie Hightower for the all-star round. And while Helio does want another trophy to match the one he earned with Julianne, he has a loftier goal this time: he now has a daughter and wants her to see Daddy do something besides drive a race car. Helio's Foxtrot was fine; maybe not memorable, but perfectly fine.
Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya -- 21.5 out of 30
Another former champ gets a new partner! Since Cheryl Burke was paired with Emmitt Smith, Drew shifted over to Anna Trebunskaya. Her teaching technique is a lot tougher than Cheryl's, but there's a method to her madness. She sees a champ and wants that trophy! The judges put the duo's Foxtrot in the middle of the pack, and that's right where they belong.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani -- 21 out of 30
Melissa got oh so close during her season on the show, but did not take home the hardware. She says she wants that trophy BAD. Lucky for Melissa, she gets to dance with Tony Dovolani again. Technically, they are quite good, and performed another fine Foxtrot. However, they don't have the "zing" you feel from a lot of the other couples.
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson -- 20.5 out of 30
Joey and Kym Johnson kicked things off and that had to be tough. But the returning duo did a great job and brought a lot of energy to the ballroom with their Cha cha cha. Joey "brought it"... so much so that he was completely out of breath when he made his way over to (Emmy winning) host Tom Bergeron.The judges all had positive things to say, but they are scrutinizing the dances a lot more with this all-star group.
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas -- 19.5 out of 30
The reality TV/famous daughter seems to have grown up quite a bit since season 11. You really notice it when her partner Mark Ballas says things like "shake your butt" and she doesn't have a complete giggle meltdown. The couple's Cha cha cha earned them a "most improved" vote from Carrie Ann. Bruno said all the elements are there to make a champ; she just needs to focus, focus, focus.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- 19 out of 30
When you talk about chemistry on this show, Kirstie and Maksim Chmerkovskiy come to the top of a lot of people's lists. They work hard but they really look like they're having a lot of fun. And since they got so close in season 12 (they came in second), she really wants to make it to the end. Because as Kirstie says, coming in second is still losing. Their first dance was the Foxtrot, to a gorgeous Adele song, and they seemed to float around the dance floor. I hope they stay!
While standing before the judges, Alley planted a long, sizzling kiss on the lips of co-host Tom Bergeron.
"That's for your Emmy!" she declared after a second, referring to his big win from the night before. He looked dazed and the audience cheered.
Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus -- 17 out of 30
Pamela told us she really, really wanted to come back because she felt like she was just getting the hang of what the show is all about when she was eliminated the first go-round. She has a new partner, the fan favorite Tristan McManus. Pam said he needs to help refine her, and she needs to rough him up a bit! The duo's Cha cha cha was a little shaky, but they made it through. Len said it reminded him of when a kid is on a bike, and you take the training wheels off!
And believe it or not, someone will already get eliminated Tuesday night!