‘Dancing With the Stars’ season 25 begins with a bang

(Twitter @DWTS)

(ABC)– Thirteen celebrities and their professional partners strutted their stuff Monday night in their bid to win the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy, on the season 25 premiere of “Dancing With the Stars.”

After a splashy production number, hosts Erin Andrews and Tom Bergeron welcomed the new cast and revealed some changes for the landmark season. This year, there are only three judges: Len GoodmanCarrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. Because of time limitations, the judges will be limited to one comment per couple.

How they’ll be able to contain Bruno all season remains to be seen.

Things got underway with NFL champion Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke, returning for her 20th season. They danced a cha-cha to the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” While Owens may be fleet-footed on the football field, Len cautioned him to watch his feet when dancing. The judges awarded a total of 15, one of the lowest scores of the night.

“Shark Tank” star Barbara Cocoran, partnered with Keo Motsepe, did not impress the judges and she got the low score of the night with 14.

“Hamilton” star Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold tangoed to the high score of the night, with 22. With his Broadway experience and gymnastics background, Fisher could be a real contender for the Mirror Ball Trophy.

WWE star Nikki Bella proved to be fierce in her preinterview, body-slamming Artem Chigvintsev, but was less confident going into her dance. Len said she had good body context, but needed to stop looking down and earned 20.

In her preinterview, ESPN personality and former Paralympic swimmer Victoria Arlen shared her heartbreaking tale of overcoming adversity.

“I was paralyzed for 11 years,” she said. “When I was 10, I got sick and slipped into a vegetative state for four years and was pretty much written off as a lost cause. At 15, I started to slowly make my way back into the world. About a year and a half ago, I started walking after spending 10 years in a wheelchair. I can’t feel my legs. If I fall, I apologize. I think this is a big statement to myself as well as the people that wrote me off. I’m here, I lived, and I’m ready to dance.”

Arlen and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, danced a cha-cha and earned a 19 from the judges.

Lindsey Stirling, a Billboard No. 1 artist who has appeared on the show for musical performances, danced a cha-cha with returning pro and two-time champion Mark Ballas. Len said, “You come out with the cha-cha-cha, crisp, clean, lovely leg action, nice hip action. That, for me, is the dance of the night.”

The judges awarded her 22, tying for first place with Jordan Fisher.

Judges’ scores:

  • Jordan and Lindsay – 22 out of 30
  • Lindsey and Mark – 22
  • Vanessa and Maks – 21
  • Nikki & Artem – 20
  • Victoria and Val – 19
  • Frankie and Witney – 19
  • Nick and Peta – 18
  • Derek and Sharna – 18
  • Sasha and Gleb – 18
  • Debbie and Alan – 17
  • Drew and Emma – 16
  • Terrell and Cheryl – 15
  • Barbara and Keo – 14

“Dancing With the Stars” returns next Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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