Compared to last season, the contestants of season 14 do better on their first performance night with each pair earning not less than 20.
"Dancing with the Stars" season 14 premiere has delivered the best premiere in the show's history. Making their debut in the ballroom on Monday, March 19, the contestants performed better than expectations which was marked with no scores less than 20 given to each team.
First to take the stage were Maria Menounos and Derek Hough who danced the cha-cha. Len Goodman excused her performance since he admitted, "Nothing can prepare you for the first dance," but added, "I thought you coped very, very well." Bruno Tonioli advised her "to open up the sex pot," while Carrie Ann Inaba called it "a strong, solid cha-cha." The "Extra" co-host earned 21 out of 30.
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya came out next to dance the foxtrot. Despite the "poor" technique, Len said he could enjoy the performance. Bruno gushed, "Beautifully acted, beautifully danced," and Carrie Ann chimed in, "You just took me to a happy place!" The "Bold and the Beautiful" actor got 23 points.
Partnered with Peta Murgatroyd, Donald Driver danced the cha-cha. Len thought the NFL champion lost time a little bit because he was too excited, but Bruno noted that he does have talent. The judges gave him 21 points.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff performed a romantic foxtrot which earned 20 points from the judges. Bruno said the "I Don't Want to Be" singer stiffened at the wrong moments, prompting the musician to make a dirty joke. Len agreed with Bruno, while Carrie Ann thought that his arm was hyper extended.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsea Hightower's cha-cha won the hearts of Bruno and Carrie Ann, with the latter calling it "the coolest spin I have seen in a cha-cha in all 14 seasons." Len, however, criticized the lack in technique. The Sander Loyer of "Camp Rock" got 23 points.
Sherri Shepherd brought fun to the ballroom when dancing the foxtrot with Val Chmerkovskiy. "I could do with a bit of Sherri every day of the week... You're light on your feet, your timing was good, and you light up the room!" Bruno said, while Carrie Ann added, "You are the happiest contestant we have had ever!" The co-host of "The View" earned 23 points.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were next to dance, performing the cha-cha. Carrie Ann admitted it "was a really difficult routine," while Len said, "I thought you coped very well with a difficult dance." Bruno added, "There is work to do, but I thought it was a very inspiring first performance." The "Little House on the Prairie" actress got 20 points.
Dancing the cha-cha, William Levy and Cheryl Burke were dubbed "the hottest package of the season" by Bruno. Len also praised the Welsh opera singer as saying, "You performed it right on the edge, but you kept control." She got 24 points.
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani earned mixed reviews with their foxtrot. Len thought "it was a little bit too careful," but Bruno said, "You really are stunning tonight!... I thought you were very elegant." Carrie Ann, meanwhile, advised her to work on her turns. The tennis player earned 20 points.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas were one of the standouts that night with their foxtrot. "I tell you what, that was cracking!" Bruno stated, as Carrie Ann declared it the "best first dance... ever!" She got 26 points.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus almost made Carrie Ann want to get up and dance when they performed the cha-cha. Bruno commented, "The legend has got the moves! You are a star! A real one!", while Len praised the "naturalness" in her dance. She earned 23 points.
Rounding up the performance night were Jaleel White and Kym Johnson who got another high score of 26 with their foxtrot. Len's comment was, "I loved the routine. It had elegance, it had sophistication," with Bruno gushing, "I thought I was watching the great Gregory Hines."
The 12 pairs will return next week for another round of performance, before one of them is sent home on Tuesday, March 27.