by Tierney Bricker | Mon., Mar. 17, 2014 7:08 PM
Welcome back to the ballroom!
Dancing With the Stars returned for its 18th season tonight, with 12 new celebrities kicking off their quest for the coveted mirrorball trophy. But NeNe Leakes, Candace Cameron Bure, James Maslow and more weren't the only new faces on the ABC reality hit's premiere as new cohost Erin Andrews made her debut as cohost alongside Tom Bergeron, taking over for Brooke Burke-Charvet. (And yes, we know Andrews competed on the show before, so she isn't technically new, but semantics!)
So who stood out during the first night of competition? And which celeb is already in danger? Plus, who tied the record for the highest premiere score ever?
Need a quick refresher on Season 18's pairings before we get into it? Here you go:
Billy Dee Williams & Emma Slater
Candace Cameron Bure & Mark Ballas
Charlie White & Sharna Burgess
Cody Simpson & Witney Carson
Danica McKellar & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Diana Nyad & Henry Byalikov
Drew Carey & Cheryl Burke
James Maslow & Peta Murgatroyd
Meryl Davis & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
NeNe Leakes & Tony Dovolani
Sean Avery & Karina Smirnoff
Amy Purdy & Derek Hough
Highest Scores: Holy early frontunner, Batman! Olympic ice-dancer Charlie White scored a 27, which ties the series' record for the highest score in a premiere. Looks like all of his lifting experience will definitely come in handy! Plus, who knew DJ Tanner could bust a move?! Full House alum Candace Cameron Bure scored an impressive 25 with her contemporary dance.
Wonder Years star Danica McKellar and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy notched a 24 with their debut foxtrot, while Val's brother Maksim, who made his return to the show after a two-season break, also landed a 24 thanks to his cha-cha-cha with Olympian Meryl Davis, White's ice-dancing partner. Also scoring a 24 were Amy Purdy and Derek Hough.
Lowest Scores: Points for dancing to a Star Wars medley and cameos from R2-D2 and Ewoks, but Billy Dee Williams only managed to net a 15 from the judges for his lackluster cha-cha-cha. Rounding out the bottom three? Diana Nyad, who notched an 18 with her foxtroy, while hockey player-turned-fashionisto Sean Avery, who scored a 20 with his partner Karina Smirnoff.
Best Nickname: Bruno Tonioli dubbed NeNe Leakes "Sister Sassy" and we loved it. But how'd the Real Housewives fan favorite do on her first outing? She and partner Tony Dovolani scored a respectable 21 with their cha-cha-cha.
Best Critique: "I'm like having a big-time crush on you because you are just so cute," Carrie Ann Inaba told Big Time Rush boybander James Maslow, who scored a 21. He also revealed he and partner Peta Murgatroyd went on a date once. Here's hoping that chemistry takes them far this season!
What did you think of the Season 18 premiere? Any early favorites? Sound off in the comments!
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