Yes, dance friends, we've hit season 18 on "Dancing With The Stars."
It seems like only yesterday we were all fighting over whether it was Kelly Monaco or John O'Hurley who REALLY won that first mirror ball trophy.
Since then we've seen more than 200 actors, athletes, singers and reality TV stars Waltz their way through the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. Twelve new stars have jumped into the competition for this spring season. And so it begins!
Here's a rundown of the season 18 premiere night's scores, from highest to lowest:
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess -- 27 out of 30
Fresh off his gold medal victory for ice dancing at the Sochi Olympics, White tackles dancing on a real floor. He has Sharna Burgess to show him the way and lucky Sharna. He's good! Especially when he gets to open with a Contemporary number.
Triple "9's" on opening night is pretty spectacular. Charlie and Sharna try to downplay any advantage he may have, saying, "Wait 'til we get a Latin routine." But come on. The judges were all impressed with Carrie Ann Inaba calling them poetry in motion.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas -- 25 out of 30
Admit it... we all watched "Full House" at some point in our lives! And little DJ Tanner is a grown up, beautiful woman and a wife and mother of three. She tells us she loves to dance, but asks Mark Ballas NOT to make her too sexy; she's more comfortable in her "mom-ness."
They get the tough contemporary dance assignment for their first dance, but they nail it. Mark is over the top with creativity on the choreography of this routine. Carrie Ann gave them a "9" and said she was so impressed she wanted to immediately see the dance again!
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough -- 24 out of 30
We're all slackers. This paralympian danced her way from Russia to Los Angeles with virtually no sleep. Wins a bronze medal on Friday and is competing in a dance contest on Monday. Amy and Derek Hough Cha Cha Cha'd their way to an impressive first score.
Head Judge Len Goodman said it best -- they can't score her any differently because of her disability and still that means a "gold medal" for the routine. Bruno Tonioli called Amy "Wonder Woman" and Carrie Ann said she is a beacon of light.
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- 24 out of 30
It's no surprise that the gold medal Olympian for dancing on ice is a pretty darn good dancer on a wood floor. Maksim Chmerkovskiy is thrilled to have such a talented student. She's equally thrilled to have handsome Maks showing her the ropes.
Maks asks, and she makes it clear, she is NOT dating her skating partner, Charlie White. The judges all gush over their Cha Cha Cha, with Bruno calling the dance sharp and lyrical and dubbing Meryl the "queen of spins."
Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy -- 24 out of 30
Winnie Cooper is all grown up! Danica's enthusiasm for the show is infectious. Val Chmerkovskiy may have to reign in some of that exuberance as we move ahead but for a first week, it's fun to see. Danica has a couple goals for this season: She wants Val to help make her "cooler," and she wants people to see her as more of a woman and not just little Winnie from "The Wonder Years."
Her debut Foxtrot was elegant and fluid. Len's first impression was "terrific;" Carrie Ann loves her energy; and at the end of the dance Danica was so overtaken with emotion she rushed over to give Bruno a kiss. Of course, that was Bruno's favorite part of the dance!
Cody Simpson and Witney Carson -- 22 out of 30
The girls are screaming for this one! Cody is a teen dream from Australia. He has a lot of poise for a 17-year-old! New pro Witney Carson gets to debut her style this season and begins with Cody and a cha Cha Cha.
Bruno called them the poster couple of "youth" (host Erin Andrews said it better when she called them the double mint twins). Len complimented his attack and energy, but encouraged him to work on technique and finesse. Cue boos from young girls.
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke -- 21 out of 30
Drew earned a lot of cheers from the crowd. He may be the "everyman" contestant for season 18. He's lost 80 pounds over the past several years and he wants to learn to do things, like dance, that he couldn't do before when he was heavier. Cheryl Burke loves that her star is actually famous and that she didn't have to "google" him!
Drew is a big fan of hers, too, from previous DWTS seasons. So far, the toughest thing for Carey is hitting marks and standing up straight. He says his stand-up comedy and day job on "The Price is Right" is much more "free form." They perform a delightful Foxtrot, with Len calling him "watchable" and Carrie Ann dubbing him the "crowd pleaser."
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd -- 21 out of 30
So apparently this guy from the group "Big Time Rush" and pro dancer Peta Murgatroyd went out on a date once upon a time. And now they're paired on DWTS. Peta's reaction? "Holy Moly." They wouldn't elaborate on whether it was a "date date" or a "friend date" but for the next few weeks, they say it's all going to be strictly professional.
In the ballroom, they performed a very good Foxtrot, with Bruno's main advice being to breathe! Carrie Ann admitted she has a little crush on James now and Len related to the young performer, saying the two are obviously on the show as "eye candy" for the ladies.
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani -- 21 out of 30
Nene kicked off this round with a rousing Cha Cha Cha with her partner Tony Dovolani. Right before she danced, NeNe tweeted it was time to "shake what her Mama gave her" ... and she did!
This "Real Housewife of Atlanta" wants to make sure her larger than life personality always gets to show through during this competition. No worries, there is no way she can be contained! Len called her dance fun and a great start and Bruno said they were just scratching the surface of what she can do.
Sean Avery and Karina Smirnoff -- 20 out of 30
This former hockey great seems like he'll be a tough nut to crack. But if anyone can do it, Karina Smirnoff can. He initially seems very serious but there's definitely a personality in there! Sean channels his best Kevin Bacon (from his favorite movie, "Footloose") in his Contemporary routine.
Len called the dance intense, but wants more finesse. Bruno called him powerful, focused, connected and committed. Carrie Ann called him fascinating... and THAT made him smile!
Diana Nyad and Henry Byalikov -- 18 out of 30
The champion swimmer is certainly in deep with this competition. Her partner, Henry Byalikov, calls her a fish out of water and that may be an understatement. She says she doesn't even wear high heels; now she's being asked to dance in them!
Diana uses the same mantra she did when challenging herself on a long swim: "find a way." She and Henry Foxtrot their way through the first round; Bruno tells her she's headed in the right direction.
Billy Dee Williams and Emma Slater -- 15 out of 30
Well THAT happened. Lando Calrissian, aka actor Billy Dee Williams, God bless him and his 77-year-old, arthritic and double hip replacement body. He pretty much walked his way through a "Star Wars" number with Emma Slater. And he was cheered on by R2D2, some storm troopers, and a couple ewoks. Bruno thought he played it too safe and too "C3PO." He wants more "Darth Vadar."
Will the "Star Wars" fans keep Billy Dee in the dance galaxy? We'll find out next Monday when we see our first elimination of the year!
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