"Dancing with the Stars" has officially kicked off its 17th season. Twelve celebrity contestants danced on the ballroom for the first time with their pro-partners on Monday, September 16. As announced before, the show will only air one episode a week this season and due to an inevitable format change, the first eliminated contestant will only be revealed next week.
Each pair danced either a cha-cha-cha, a foxtrot or a contemporary routine. Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd started off the competition with a cha cha cha. Carrie Ann Inaba saw "a lot of potential" with the young actor as Bruno Tonioli said the routine was "a season teaser of things to come." Len Goodman called it "fabulous". The "Pretty Little Liars" star earned 22 out of 30 points.
Leah Remini, getting support from friend Jennifer Lopez who sat among the audience, came out next. She dance a foxtrot with Tony Dovolani. "Are you sure you never did this before?" Bruno asked her, disbelieving that she had never danced before. Len thought it was "a little bit careful in places," but praised it for being "clean and precise." Carrie Ann added with some advice, "Your hands are gorgeous, just extend in the future." Leah got 21 points.
Corbin Bleu danced a contemporary number which his pro partner Karina Smirnoff had never done before. Carrie Ann praised the choreography and Karina's "first contemporary ever," while Len gushed, "I am confused this is week 1. That was full on, it had attack, well done." Bruno said the dance was "strong, powerful yet you have an expressive touch." The "High School Musical" actor earned 24 points.
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke danced a foxtrot with his parents sitting among the audience. His mother Sharon Osbourne was brought to tears by his performance. "Jack, I'm telling you, you can dance!" Len said. Bruno said the number was "joyful, playful" and "uplifting," which Carrie Ann admitted she was "blown away." Jack earned 23 points.
Amber Riley set the bar even higher after she danced a funky, high-energy cha-cha-cha with Derek Hough. Bruno declared, "Amber you are the tigress of season 17." Carrie Ann bowed to Amber, while Len jokingly said he needed "a medic ...I'm palpitating, perspirating and flatulating." On a more serious note, he added that it was "full-on flat-out fabulous." The "Glee" star got 27 points.
Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy's moving contemporary was deemed "lovely" by Len. Carrie Ann described her as a "gorgeous, sensuous, beautiful, passionate angel," while Bruno enthused, "The original showgirl is back and she means business." The "Saved By the Bell" actress earned 24 points.
Next up was Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein who entertained the crowd with his wacky, mad scientist-inspired cha-cha-cha. Though so, it was lack in technique as Len said, "Well Bill it was like being waxed it was painful while it happened and lovely when it was over. It was fun and had comedic moments." Carrie Ann told him to loosen his hips and improve on his footwork, but praised him for making the show special. The Science Guy earned 14 points.
Dancing a cha cha cha with Sharna Burgess, Keyshawn Johnson got mixed reviews from the judges. Len said his attitude was terrific, but needed to work on the technique. Bruno noticed he sometimes lost timing, and Carrie Ann said he was "a little stiff" in the beginning, but "once you got those hips going you got the moves." The former NFL player got 17 points.
Christina Milian danced a contemporary number after calling her partner Mark Ballas' choreography "slightly unusual." Carrie Ann commented, "You move beautifully, but I think you need to open more." Bruno "loved it," and Len advised her "not to be so careful." The singer got 22 points.
Bill Engvall and Emma Slater performed a snazzy foxtrot. Len said it was "well done," and Bruno sensed "a ... hint of elegance," but the judges agreed that he needed "more fluidity." The funnyman earned 18 points.
Defying the odds when doctor found her brain cancer was "close to remission," Valerie Harper once again stunned people with her performance of foxtrot with Tristan MacManus. Len praised her "ease and elegance." Teary Carrie Ann said the actress was "setting an amazing example... Yes, you have to work on your spots, but you brought me to tears with your courage." Bruno added that she was "radiant," but pointed out minor issues regarding the set of her shoulders and balance. Valerie earned 21 points.
Rounding up the performance that night was Snooki, who now prefers to be called Nicole. Her peppy cha cha cha with Sasha Farber impressed Carrie Ann, who said her form was great. Len said she was like a "little pocket rocket" and liked her footword. Bruno also loved her legs. The MTV reality star got 23 points.
Based on the scores from the judges, Amber Riley leads the pack so far, while Bill Nye is at the bottom of the scoreboard. Their points will be combined with viewers' votes to determine who will be eliminated next week.
Amber Riley and Derek Hough - Cha Cha Cha:
Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff - Contemporary:
Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy - Contemporary:
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber - Cha Cha Cha:
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke - Foxtrot: