Season 16 of “Dancing With the Stars” premiered Monday, and it looks as though Disney star Zendaya Coleman and NFL player Jacoby Jones are the early ones to watch.
Coleman, who goes by just her first name, Zendaya, goes into tonight’s episode at the head of the pack. Her contemporary routine with partner Val Chmerkovskiy last week had judges raving, earning her 24 out of a possible 30 points.
At 16, she’s the youngest competitor ever on the program.
Asked how it felt to be so young and at leading the group of 12 dancers vying for the mirror ball trophy, Zendaya said it was “amazing.
“I think I’m still trying to understand that it really happened,” she said, “and now it’s about working harder and just proving that that’s not all I could do … that’s just a taste of what I can come up with.”
Jones, of the Baltimore Ravens, landed in the middle of the pack with 20 points, but his upbeat performance pleased the ballroom audience and generated a lot of buzz.
Jones admits that he still has a lot to learn about ballroom dancing.
“All I hear about is posture, the smiles and the toes …,” he said.
His partner, former “Dancing With the Stars” champion Karina Smirnoff, said when she learned she would be partnering Jones she looked him up on the Internet.
“And I thought to myself ‘he’s kind of mean, he looks so serious’ … and you meet him he’s the biggest goofball you’ll ever meet,” she said.
But practice isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes Smirnoff needs to be tough when Jones gets in trouble.
When that happens, she calls him by his full name.
“And if he’s (in) really, really, really big trouble, I usually call him ‘Jacoby Rashad Jones’ and he goes ‘don’t call me by my full name, woman!’” she said.
Scores from the stars’ performances from tonight will be added to their scores from last week. The couple with the lowest overall total of judges’ scores and viewer votes will be cut from the competition during the results show on Tuesday.