'Dancing With the Stars' premiere recap: Simone Biles takes an early lead
Simone Biles shone in the season premiere.
— -- Twelve celebrities made their debut on "Dancing With the Stars" on Monday night as the hit reality competition kicked off its 24th season in high style with its 400th episode.
Hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews returned, along with judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. Goodman was out for part of last season because of commitments to the U.K.'s version of the show, "Strictly Come Dancing."
The new cast: Fifth Harmony singer Normani Kordei, paired with Valentin Chmerkovskiy; Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, with Artem Chigvintsev; actor Chris Kattan, with Witney Carson; rodeo professional Bonner Bolton, with Sharna Burgess; the iconic Charo, with Keo Motsepe; Nick Viall of "The Bachelor," with Peta Murgatroyd; "Glee" actress and singer Heather Morris, with Maksim Chmerkovskiy; World Series champion baseball player David Ross, with Lindsay Arnold; "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Erika Jayne, with Gleb Savchenko; NFL star Rashad Jennings, with Emma Slater; "The A-Team" star Mr. T, with Kym Herjavec; and gold-medal-winning Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, with Sasha Farber.
Monday night was an opportunity for the cast to introduce themselves and have some fun strutting their stuff. Kordei kicked off the night with a dazzling quickstep and scored a 27 out of 40. She was followed by Kerrigan, who wowed with a Viennese waltz and nabbed 28 out of 40.
Things took an unusual downturn when former "SNL" performer Chris Kattan appeared as his character from "A Night at the Roxbury," reprising his signature moves to Haddaway's "What Is Love." This was not well received by the judges, in spite of Inaba's gushing and awkward enthusiasm. Kattan pulled the lowest score of the night, with a 17.
Bolton did a country-themed number with Burgess and earned 22 points. He was followed by the tireless Charo. She seems to possess the energy of a caffeinated squirrel and was unstoppable in her salsa with Motsepe. Despite her seemingly boundless enthusiasm, she got a surprisingly low score of 21 from the judges, which drew boos from the studio audience and caused her to ask, "Porque?"
Former Bachelor Nick Viall earned a very respectable 24 points for his cha-cha, and Heather Morris' waltz pulled a 28. She was equaled in points by retired Cubs catcher Ross, who surprised everyone with his quickstep.
"Housewives" star Jayne turned in a sexy salsa, which Goodman deemed "too raunchy." In spite of this, she earned a respectable 24 points. Jennings showed his prowess on the field is equaled on the dance floor, as his cha-cha racked up 31 points.
Mr. T brought a lot of heart to his cha-cha to the "A-Team" theme song but got only 20 points.
Finally, Biles may be following in the dance steps of last season's winner, her fellow gold medalist Laurie Hernandez. Biles floated across the dance floor during her tango and pulled down 32 points, the evening's top score. Goodman called her routine with Farber "the dance of the night."
"Dancing With the Stars" returns Monday on ABC.