How’s this for a major TV plot twist: Dancing With the Stars‘ Season 24 premiere was so strong, not even Simone Biles seems like a lock for the Mirrorball anymore. (Gasp!)
ABC’s reality competition staple returned on Monday night, and although the two-hour debut featured a handful of duds (A for effort, Mr. T!), a staggering number of this season’s 12 couples showcased enough ballroom potential to land in the finale two months from now.
Normani Kordei? Handled a breakneck quickstep like it was nothing. Nick Viall? Much better at learning choreography than he is at finding love on TV. Charo? Slightly insane, but a performance powerhouse nonetheless.
Before you tell us who got your attention on Monday night, let’s break down a few of the evening’s highlights.
BEST OF THE NIGHT
Simone Biles and pro Sasha Farber (Tango) — Although she was given a run for her money during the premiere (particularly by football player Rashad Jennings), Biles still brought the evening’s strongest performance — a masterful combination of elegance, strength and sensuality. By no means is she a shoe-in for the Season 24 championship; in Monday’s premiere alone, at least five other couples proved they’re worthy competitors for the title. But Biles reinforced with this tango that she has the agility, power and innate understanding of choreography that she’ll need to go the distance. Judges’ Score: 32/40
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
David Ross and pro Lindsay Arnold (Quickstep) — Well, don’t I feel silly. Although my Season 24 odds gallery predicted that Ross was a lock for early elimination, it seems the former MLB catcher will be around much longer than I gave him credit for, after turning in a quickstep that was highly energetic and massively fun to watch. Given that he’s paired with Arnold, who has a knack for transforming athletes into ballroom pros, Ross may just be one to watch. Judges’ Score: 28/40
Bonner Bolton and pro Sharna Burgess (Cha-Cha) — To be clear, Bolton and Burgess probably have the most natural, intense chemistry of any Season 24 pair. (I can’t be the only one who thought they kissed at the end of their routine, right?) But I expected the professional bull rider to be a bit more athletic, and perhaps even graceful, in his movements; instead, he spent much of the routine trying to keep up with his partner, even when the choreography was more honky-tonk than Latin ballroom. Judges’ Score: 22/40
WORST OF THE NIGHT
Chris Kattan and pro Witney Carson (Cha-Cha) — I would have bet good money that Kattan would dance a Night at the Roxbury-themed routine at some point this season — and the producers were wise to make that happen in Week One, given that Kattan doesn’t seem long for this competition. But perhaps even more awkward than the comedian’s choppy movements on the dance floor was his brutal post-performance interview with Erin Andrews. Relax, dude! The audience has nothing against you! Judges’ Score: 17/40
With that, I turn it over to you. Who impressed you the most — or failed to impress you at all — during Dancing‘s season premiere? Tell us in the comments!