“Dancing With the Stars” opened its 17th season with a more interactive and relaxed approach. The ABC contest was trying to reach younger viewers with performances often reminiscent of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The standout week one: Amber Riley of “Glee.”
Valerie Harper, who is battling terminal brain cancer, received a thunderous ovation from the studio audience, which included Jennifer Lopez, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, and the cast of "Glee."
The caliber of the dancing was surprisingly high for a first week. "Jersey Shore" star Snooki was the biggest surprise, but the other standouts were Corbin Bleu and Elizabeth Berkley.
Here’s how the show unfolded:
“Pretty Little Liars” actor Brant Daugherty turned on the sexual electricity for a sassy cha cha cha with partner Peta Murgatroyd, who swooned over his good looks. “Fabulous,” Len Goodman said of the dance. Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli saw a lot of potential but called Daugherty on a mistake. Points: 22.
Actress Leah Remini, who said she hadn’t danced before, had a grand time on a charming foxtrot with Tony Dovolani. Sassy and classy, Inaba ruled. Tonioli saw a foxy foxtrot with influences of Miley Cyrus. That was praise. Points: 21.
“High School Musical” star Bleu joined Karina Smirnoff for her first contemporary dance ever. The stylish routine, with lifts, was incredibly challenging for the first week. Inaba saw “emotion in motion,” and Tonioli praised Bleu’s tender touch. Points: 24.
Jack Osbourne displayed a delightful attitude and great posture on a foxtrot with Cheryl Burke. “Joyful, playful and uplifting,” Tonioli said. “You were so smooth,” Inaba said. Points: 23.
“Glee” actress Riley strutted with a star’s confidence on a show-stopping cha cha cha opposite Derek Hough. Tonioli called her a tigress, Inaba bowed to her, and Goodman said it was incredible. Yes, she was wonderful. Points: 27.
"Saved by the Bell" alum Berkley, a former dancer, looked like a pro on an elegant contemporary dance with Val Chmerkovskiy. “Just lovely to watch,” Goodman said. “A great piece of dance,” Tonioli said. Points: 24.
“Science Guy” Bill Nye played a mad scientist dancing an awkward cha cha cha with his creation (Tyne Stecklein). Goodman found it painful, but Inaba said Nye was alive, happy and the heart of the show. Fans at the show loved him. Points: 14.
Former football star Keyshawn Johnson tried hard on an uneven cha cha cha with Sharna Burgess. Goodman liked the attitude but said the technique needed work. Tonioli said it was hard for a big man to move on the fast dances. Points: 17.
Christina Milian joined Mark Ballas for a dramatic contemporary dance with big moves. Inaba and Goodman said Milian needed to open up more, but Tonioli praised the intensity. Points: 22.
Comedian Bill Engvall worked hard and clowned hard, too, on a zany foxtrot with Emma Slater. Goodman said he needed more fluidity, but Inaba said she was pleasantly surprised. Points: 18.
Emmy-winner Harper, beloved for playing Rhoda Morgenstern, danced happily but a bit awkwardly on a foxtrot with Tristan MacManus. “It’s good to be alive, and it’s even better to be dancing,” she said. Tonioli found her radiant and stylish. “Beautifully done,” Goodman said. Points: 21.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi ended the show with a brassy cha cha cha opposite Sasha Farber. Inaba liked that “Snooki” went for it. Goodman praised the footwork. "Snooki" will be one dancer to watch. Points: 23.
We learn who goes next Monday, because ABC has reduced “Dancing” to once a week.