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Chelsie Hightower DWTS

March 20, 2012 by staff 

Chelsie Hightower DWTS, Dancing With the Stars, the show you love — and love to mock — returned Monday on ABC with that familiar theme song, tons o’ spangles and jiggles, hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet; judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli; musical director Harold Wheeler and the band; spray tans for everyone, and a ballroom full of fans and semi-famous folks.

So how did the fabulous lineup of stars and their pro partners do? Here’s how the hoofing went down, with surprisingly high scores for a first night. Jaleel White and Katherine Jenkins are tied at the top spot of the leaderboard, while Melissa Gilbert, Gavin DeGraw and Martina Navratilova are tied at the bottom:

Jaleel White said “the biggest misconception people might have about me is that I’m clumsy.” Urkel proved it with his charming foxtrot with pro Kym Johnson. Said Carrie Ann: “Smooth, smooth, smooth.” Len said he “loved” the routine. “It had elegance. It had sophistication.” Bruno said he felt like he was watching “the great Gregory Hines. Fantastic.” Scores: 9, 8, 9 = 26

Len praised her “musicality” and “detail” throughout the dance. Bruno called it “exquisite. The style of impeccable.” Carrie Ann said she was “fabulous. … Really amazing.” Scores: 9, 8,9 = 26 (“Highest score ever on a premiere event,” said Brooke.)

About a half hour into the show Kate Gosselin tweeted: I’m loving the dancing on @DWTS this season already! So glad I don’t have to dance tho! Happy on my sofa! Lol #dwts

William Levy, called “the Mexican Brad Pitt” (although he is Cuban), drew cheers and screams from the crowd as he was introduced. The Latin heartthrob and partner Cheryl Burke steamed up the dance floor with a sxy cha cha. He got a lengthy standing ovation and Bruno called him “the hottest package of the season.” Said a fawning Carrie Ann: “I’d like to thank ABC for my job. … You can dance. … I really like the way you move.” Len praised his control, saying, “Well done.” Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24

A smiling Sherri Shepherd and partner Val Chmerkovskiy danced a fun, elegant foxtrot. Said Carrie Ann: “I loved watching you dance.” Len agreed: “Fun, fun, fun.” Said Bruno: “It’s the joy of dance — and you can move very, very well. … You light up the room.” Sherri squealed with delight. When Brooke asked how it feels to finally be dancing, Sherri said, “Short of birthing my child, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I think I left a bub on the floor. Can somebody find it, please?” Scores: 8, 7, 8 = 23

Gladys Knight vowed she was here “to win!” She and partner Tristan MacMa**s danced a lively cha cha. Knight, in red, smiled and swished her way easily through it, earning her a standing ovation and cheers. Said Bruno: “The legend has got the moves. … You are a star, a real one.” Carrie Ann: “I am so honored you are on our dance floor!” Len praised her “naturalness.” Scores: 8,7, 8 = 23

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