‘Dancing With the Stars’ premiere

Alyssa Moody Contributor
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It’s back! Season 12 of the ABC hit, “Dancing with the Stars,” premiered Monday night to more than 22 million viewers. The judges were loud, the sequins were sparkling, and the spray tans were dark, but it’s still unclear which star will take home the coveted disco ball trophy. “This is perhaps the widest-ranging collection of stars we’ve ever had,” said host Tom Bergeron, and their performances were as different as their resumes. This year, celebs had only three weeks to prepare their debut dances, and their surprisingly polished performances proved how talented this season’s roster is.

“Karate Kid,” Ralph Macchio took home the top score for the evening, earning an impressive 24 points. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called the star’s unexpectedly solid performance “an amazing surprise.” His flawless foxtrot and strong showmanship wooed the ladies in the crowd, and judge Len Goodman declared it, “the best of the night.”

“Cheers” star Kirstie Alley was one of this season’s most anticipated contestants, and the actress proved she had the talent to back-up the hype. Alley delivered a show-stopping cha cha that earned her an impressive 23 points, and solidified her as a top contender for the finals. Judge Bruno Tonioli declared her cha cha “the best of the night.” Alley took to Twitter after her performance and said, “I felt like Cinderella tonight.”

Disney Channel star, Chelsea Kane and NFL player Hines Ward each earned 21 points with their promising performances of a foxtrot and cha cha respectively. Carrie Ann Inaba appeared to have a little bit of a crush on the charming football star when she gushed, “You are exuberant and your smile lights up the whole stage.”

Early frontrunner and former ‘girl next door’ Kendra Wilkinson delivered a energetic but messy cha cha.  The reality-show queen charmed the audience with her signature spunk, which Tonioli refered to as her “full-frontal attack,” but she was criticized for her lack of technique. Both she and model Petra Nemcova earned a score of 18.

The worst performance of the night was talk show host, Wendy Williams’ atrocious interpretation of the cha cha. The usually outgoing and boisterous star was surprisingly shy and appeared to be very nervous as she stepped on to the dance floor. “I saw your real fear in your eyes before you started,” said Carrie Ann. “You need to unleash the beast,” said Len Goodman.

Tune in next Monday when all 11 contestants return to the ballroom for a new dance. Fan votes from the first two weeks of the competition will be combined with the judges’ scores to determine who will be the first star to have their dreams of disco ball glory shattered this season.