Warning: This recap for the Season 17 premiere episode of "Dancing With the Stars" contains spoilers.
Monday's premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" had it all: New stars, new pros, and even a new "pit" to keep the stars closer to the action. But there was also some surprising new insight into who might really have what it takes to win the show's 17th mirrorball trophy.
While some contestants — Corbin Bleu, Elizabeth Berkeley, Christina Milian, and even Valerie Harper — are known for their previous dance experience and were expected to do well, the shocker of the evening was Jack Osbourne. The reality star — who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last May after experiencing vision loss — came out and stunned the judges with a lively foxtrot, scoring 23 out of 30 points and securing himself near the top of the leaderboard.
"I'm telling you what, you can dance!" Len Goodman cheered, while Bruno Tonioli applauded the star's light feet and described him as "skipping around the yellow brick road."
Carrie Ann Inaba said, "It's in the Osbourne genes!," a nod to Jack's sister, Kelly, who competed on the show back in Season 9. Jack's parents, Ozzy and Sharon, were clearly moved as they sat next to their son's wife in the audience and wept.
On the ladies' side of the competition, "Glee" star Amber Riley helped prove that Derek Hough may just be the best darn choreographer this show's ever had. Amber — whose performance numbers on the Fox musical comedy usually don't showcase her dance moves — left viewers in awe with an energetic cha cha that had Bruno dubbing her "The Tigress of Season 17."
"That's how you take it, that's how you shake it, that's how you make it yours!" he declared.
Len was more blunt: "I need a medic here," he said. "I'm palpitating, perspirating, and flactuating… Week 1 and you come out and dance like that!"
Amber and the four-time mirrorball-winning Derek scored an astonishing 27 points, the first premiere night triple nines in the show's history, according to co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet.
Valerie's performance was, of course, another highlight of the show. The 74-year old TV legend — who's best known for her roles in the classic sitcoms "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda" — faced her ballroom challenge the same way she's been facing her terminal cancer diagnosis: bravely and with a positive attitude. Joking that she's "way past" her "expiration date," the former Broadway dancer said, "It's good to be alive and it's even better to be dancing!"
The actress received 21 points and a standing ovation from the audience after an elegant foxtrot with pro partner Tristan MacManus. A clearly emotional Carrie Ann told her, "Thank you for being on our show."
And then there was Snooki, er, Nicole. The "Jersey Shore" alum claimed she's no longer a "hot mess" and wants to be known by her big girl name. (Host Tom Bergeron asked if he could call her Snicole.) And guess what? The new mom's cha cha with Sasha Farber was surprisingly good, and nothing like the raunchy, fist pumpin' moves we've seen her do at those Jersey clubs. Score: A very respectable 23 points.
On the other end of the spectrum was Bill Nye and his new-to-the-show pro, Tyne Stecklein. The "Bill Nye the Science Guy" star got the low score of the evening after a robotic cha cha that had Bruno telling him he had the wrong "formula." Len cringed and compared the routine to a wax job: "It was painful while it happened and lovely when it was over," the gruff judge said. Score: 14 points and a chorus of boos from an audience that was chanting "Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!"
Somehow, we think they're still chanting…
Here's the full list of scores from the "Dancing With the Stars" premiere:
- Amber Riley and Derek Hough (27 out of 30 points)
- Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy (24 out of 30 points)
- Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff (24 out of 30 points)
- Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke (23 out of 30 points)
- Nicole Polizzi and Sasha Farber (23 out of 30 points)
- Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd (22 out of 30 points)
- Christina Milian and Mark Ballas (22 out of 30 points)
- Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus (21 out of 30 points)
- Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani (21 out of 30 points)
- Bill Engvall and Emma Slater (18 out of 30 points)
- Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess (17 out of 30 points)
- Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein (14 out of 30 points)
Watch the full episode:
"Dancing With the Stars" airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.