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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Premiere Recap: Lindsey Stirling and Jordan Fisher Lead, Barbara Corcoran Struggles

Dancing With the Stars kicked off its 25th season (yes, 25th!) with plenty of sparkle, shine and tears. On the Monday, September 18 episode, the new pack of Mirrorball hopefuls performed their first dances for the panel of three judges: Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman. Erin Andrews was back to conduct the post-performance interviews, and had her own stumbles along the way. Here’s how it all went down.

Dancing With The Stars
‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 25 Cast Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images

The Good

Vanessa Lachey decided to do the show because she spends all her time doing things for her husband (who is also competing) and her kids and she wanted something for herself. The judges loved her cha cha with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy and awarded her a solid 21.

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On their heels were Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev, who performed a tango that ended with her body slamming him into the ground. Len praised their body contact but urged her to stop looking at the floor.

Malcolm in the Middle alum Frankie Muniz was all giggles while practicing with Witney Carson. Even though he grew up in show business, he’s clearly still shy and hoping that being on the show will help him come out of his shell. They brought some solid chemistry to their foxtrot that the judges adored and ended with a 19, which was pretty great considering what little confidence Frankie seemed to have in his dance skills.

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Victoria Arlen is a former athlete-turned-journalist who was paralyzed for 10 years but can walk now – though she has zero feeling in her legs. Val Chmerkovskiy said she’s the closest thing he’s ever seen to a miracle and their cha cha wowed the judges and audience. Carrie Ann was in tears as she called it “one of the most joyous performances” she had ever seen. They too received a 19.

The Bad

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke performed the first dance of the season. T.O. said he’s here to show the world that he’s not as arrogant as he seems on the football field. Cheryl wants to prove that she still has it 20 seasons in. Their cha cha actually looked fine, but Len scolded Terrell for heel leads. Erin confused the comment as a good thing. The judges gave him a score of 15.

Next came Debbie Gibson and Alan Bersten. He was born in 1994, so he doesn’t really understand her whole ‘80s music queen vibe. He helped her practice through her pain from Lyme disease to perform a foxtrot that was well received by the judges and landed them a few points ahead of Terrell and Cheryl at 17.

The Needs Real Improvement

Property Brothers star Drew Scott hopes that being on the show will help get him ready to dance at his wedding. He and Emma Slater performed a foxtrot that had the judges pretty speechless – but not in a good way. Len politely said that he is a “fixer-upper” and the judges gave him a 16 (which actually seemed pretty generous).

Barbara Corcoran turns businesses to gold, but her salsa with Keo Motsepe didn’t shine the way they’d hoped. Barbara had fun with the routine, which involved dancing to a Ludacris song while money rained down on them. The judges gave them a 14.

The Best

Two clear stars of the night were Lindsay Arnold and Jordan Fisher. He’s fresh off a stint in Hamilton, which means he’s used to live performing (and live performing that involves dancing). Lindsay was psyched to have a partner who was her age for once, but she was probably even more psyched when she saw just how good Jordan was going to be. Their tango blew away the judges, who rewarded them with a 22, the highest score of the night.

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Mark Ballas has returned after a year off from the show and is paired with electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling. It turns out, in addition to playing the violin, Lindsey can dance! Len admitted he’d expected her to be good at the lyrical dances, but said she’d blown him away with their “crisp” and “clean” cha cha. He declared it the dance of the night – but technically they tied with Jordan and Lindsay.

Everyone Else

Pretty Little Liars alum Sasha Pieterse decided to come on Dancing With the Stars to get in shape for her wedding. Her parents were professional ballroom dancers, but her dancing skills were obviously not at a pro-level (at least not yet!). Paired with Gleb Savchenko, she shimmied her way through a cha cha that the judges liked a lot. Carrie Ann said Sasha owned it and the judges gave her a score of 18.

Nick Lachey wants everyone to know that yes, he was in a boy band, but he was in 98 Degrees, and they were the “non-dancing boy band.” This means he cannot dance. Paired with Peta Murgatroyd, he struggled through a cha cha. Len complimented him on “going for it” and not holding back, but admitted the dance moves needed some work. They ended up with a solid 18 and then Erin shared a video interview from 2009 where he said he would never be on the show.

Former LA Laker Derek Fisher and his partner, Sharna Burgess, were determined to break the track record of basketball players on Dancing With the Stars. (ICYMI, they haven’t done very well.) Derek’s mom is a mega-fan of the show who freaked out when she found out he was going to be on it. Sharna and Derek performed a salsa that Bruno said needed better hip action. They ended up with a solid 18, though.

Tell Us: Which couple was your favorite tonight?

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