Courtesy of ABC
Courtesy of ABC
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Dancing With the Stars premiered last night and it looks like this might be the most competitive season yet. With new rules – judges can give ½ points and dancers were given three weeks to prepare for the night’s performance – was all that extra practice time worth it? Judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli weigh in.

OK! GALLERY: KIRSTIE ALLEY KEEPING UP WITH DANCE PRACTICES FOR DANCING WITH THE STARS

Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson

Season 4’s second place finisher, Joey, and partner Kym danced the cha-cha to Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)” and if the smoke machine wasn’t enough, the couple’s dance moves proved this season is going to be on fire! Joey finished the dance exclaiming, “I can’t breathe!” While the judges thought he needed to work to his posture, Bruno believed, “You always bring it on and bring it large.” Len told the couple, “What was good has gotta be great, and what was great, has to be exceptional.” Carrie Ann confessed Joey was her favorite showman. Dancing aside, I couldn’t help but relish in this season’s potential for a boy band rivalry. Will NYSNC fans come out in droves to support their favorite dancer or will 98 Degrees prove the bigger fan base after all these years?

Score: 6.5, 7, 7 with a total of 20.5

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough

Just because you retire from gymnastics (at 20!) it doesn’t mean you lose any of those moves! Shawn and her new partner, Derek, danced the foxtrot to “Good Time” by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson to the delight of the audience and judging panel. Mark Ballas, look away! Bruno called the Olympian a “precious little princess” and Carrie Ann confirmed that she loved the dance – “It’s what All-Star season is all about.” Len said it didn’t quite feel like a foxtrot, preferring a more traditional rendition, but joked, “I’m really a cup of tea in a world of lattes.” That’s one way of putting it…

Score: 8,6.5, 7.5 with a total of 22

Sabrina Bryan and Louis Van Amstel

The “Cheetah Girl” sent home Season 5 in one of the most surprising eliminations throughout DWTS’ 15 seasons on television came back with a vengeance last night. Dancing the cha-cha with partner, Louis, to “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction was the perfect welcome back for Sabrina. “You came with a fire under your booty,” Carrie Ann shouted. The only criticism the judges offered was that Sabrina looked to “over dance” during tonight’s performance, but what’s wrong with a little drama? I think Carrie Ann got it right when she said, “There’s nothing like a woman scorned.” Watch out contestants!

Score: 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 with a total of 22.5

Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower

Before the dance even started, Helio and partner Chelsea received a standing ovation from the audience, but was it deserved? Dancing the foxtrot to “Pride and Joy” by Marvin Gaye, the pair fell victim to a couple of technical mistakes, but were otherwise a “joy to watch.” The race car driver told Chelsea he was going to try this hardest this season and it looks like after Week 1, we’ll get to see more and more of that this season.

Score: 7, 7.5, 7 with a total of 21.5

Pamela Anderson and Tristan Macmanus

“You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse might not have been the best song choice for Pamela and partner Tristan. The pair’s cha-cha left the judges wanting more… and not in a good way. “There wasn’t enough work there for me to praise you,” explained an underwhelmed Bruno. Carrie Ann said, “You have a banging body and we want to see it get the right technique.” Perhaps it was Pamela’s nerves that contestant Bristol Palin has “got the whole Tea Party” behind her that knocked the Baywatch star off her groove.

Score: 5.5, 5.5, 6 with a total of 17

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani

The Bachelor’s jilted contestant, Melissa, is partner with Tony this season and with a new husband, baby, and year to show off her dancing skills, it seemed like everything’s coming up sevens. Hear that, Jason Mesnick? The two danced the foxtrot to Sweet Charity’s “Hey Big Spender” and proved exactly why Melissa made it to the finals in her season. “Your lines are gorgeous,” Carrie Ann cooed. “Your extensions are fabulous.” Bruno couldn’t help but boast, “You actually got stronger, sassier and sexier!” While the judges advised the pair need more body contact and less theatrics, Melissa and Tony are definitely one to watch this season.

Score: 7, 7, 7 with a total of 21

Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff

“Is it just me or did you just get 3,000 times more sexy,” Carrie Ann asked. When it comes to Apolo, the answer is always yes! During rehearsals, Karina the Olympian was pretty confident about his return – until his partner took him to work. Dancing the cha-cha to “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, the couple didn’t seem rusty, but Len didn’t believe it was a gold medal performance. “Maybe bronze,” he offered. Ouch!

Score: 7.5, 7, 7.5 with a total of 22

Gilles Marini and Peta Margatroyd

Switched at Birth's Gilles returned this season – much to the audience and Peta’s delight. “I think I hit the jackpot,” she giggled. The couple’s interpretation of the foxtrot danced to “Call Me Irresponsible” by Frank Sinatra was a crowd pleaser, but is that any surprise? Carrie Ann called it “poetic and gorgeous.”

Score: 8, 8, 8 with a total of 24

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas

One of DWTS’ most controversial contestants proved last night that she was also the most improved. Bristol and Mark danced the cha-cha to “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” by Pink and girl proved she has some sex appeal! While I’m not too sure how much Sarah Palin appreciated Mark’s encouragement to, “shake that ass, let it got nuts,” – it certainly worked. Or was it having her whole family in the audience?

Score: 6.5, 6.5, 6.5 with a total of 19.5

Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya

After beating his new partner in season two of the dance competition, it was understandable why the pair might not have been the perfect match. During rehearsals, Drew and Anna made it clear there were no hard feelings, but it didn’t quite translate on the dance floor. Len was left unimpressed, but Bruno thought it, “looked like you guys danced with each other forever.” Despite the hot and cold reception, the couple walked away with a decent score.

Score: 7, 7, 7.5 with a total of 21.5

Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy

The first season winner and General Hospital star has returned to dance with Maksim’s brother this season. Since the first season of DWTS was shorter than the past few seasons are now, there are dances Kelly’s never done – like the cha-cha. Well, there’s no time like the present!  Stepping out on the dance floor, ABC certainly had to be worried about a wardrobe malfunction courtesy or the soap star’s sparkly outfit, but thankfully everything stayed where it should have. The judges bragged that Kelly’s still got it with Bruno giving another one of last night’s hilarious one-liners – “Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am!” Can Kelly win it all again?

Score: 7, 7, 7.5 with a total of 21.5

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Am I the only one that thinks Kirstie and Maks deserve their own reality show? Because they do. Last night, the two danced the foxtrot to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” but did they set the dance floor ablaze? Carrie Ann thought Kirstie didn’t turn up her “full speed” tonight while Len advised she lift her ribcage. Bruno loved the drama – but it wasn’t over! Turning to host, Tom Bergeron, Kirstie kissed the Emmy winner right on the lips. “That’s for your Emmy,” she explained. Seriously, just imagine what the cameras would capture. Rehearsals are just not enough Kirstie/Maks time for me.

Score: 6.5, 6, 6.5 with a total of 19

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke

Did DWTS save the best for last? It certainly seemed that way last night. The season 3 winners came to perform and perform they did. Dancing the cha-cha to Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” the couple walked away with the night’s best store. And the judges critique? Carrie Ann put it best when she shouted, ‘Yabba dabba do!”

Score: 8, 8.5, 8 with a total of 24.5

OK! GALLERY: GAVIN DEGRAW, MARIA MENOUNOS AND MORE FROM DANCING WITH THE STARS PARTY AFTER THE SHOW

Who is getting your vote? Which couple deserves to say goodbye next week? Tell us in the comments!

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