There were tears, stage villains looking for love, the scandalized seeking redemption, history making partnerships — and there was some seriously good dancing.
Season 30 of “Dancing With the Stars” exploded in its opening first night Monday with 15 stars transformed into ballroom dancing wildcards. They all brought their own brand of dance floor swagger along.
Host and executive producer Tyra Banks hit the floor with even more confidence since her rookie season, bringing back her trademark multiple outfit changes. Len Goodman, stuck in England due to the COVID-19 pandemic last season, returned to the head judge chair (one of four judges alongside Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Derek Hough).
With the first eliminations taking place next Monday, all dancers survived the night. Here were the major moments:
‘DWTS’ cast revealed! ‘Cobra Kai’ star Martin Kove, Peloton’s Cody Rigsby, Olivia Jade join season
Spice Girls’ Melanie C is no ‘Wannabe’ on the dance floor
On the day after the 25th anniversary of the Spice Girls hit “Wannabe” (originally released on September 19, 1996), Sporty Spice made a powerful statement on the dance floor. Paired with the forever-shirtless Gleb Savchenko, Mel C, 47, was the first out of the gates with a cha cha to… wait for it, “Wannabe.”
It was a joyous romp even if the smile was a little too fixed (call it opening act nerves)
“You won’t be taking any taxi homes in the near future,” said fellow Brit judge Goodman. Setting the tone for the night, Mel C scored a 27 out of 40.
‘Bachelor’ Matt James rocked Crocs, rolled hips
Paired with pro dancer Lindsay Arnold, “The Bachelor” star Matt James, 29, showed himself to be a quirky dancing partner, wearing Crocs to his first rehearsal. Come dance time, he rocked a charismatic cha cha to Rick James’ “Give It To Me Baby” where he showcased an impressive stage presence, body rolls and somehow found the camera to look the audience bang in the eye.
Goodman said of James’ post “Bachelor” dance future, “Your future is going to be rosy.” Bad pun, but true.
The duo scored a 24 out of 30.
JoJo Siwa made history with partner Jenna Johnson, shot to the top
YouTube and “Dance Moms” star JoJo Siwa, who came out as a member of the LGBTQ community earlier this year, had her historic, first-ever same-sex “DWTS” pro partner revealed as Jenna Johnson. During rehearsals, Siwa, 18, asked her partner, “Who technically in this position is the dude?” when practicing their ballroom dance.
But dancing the quick-step to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” — a dance perfectly suited to Siwa’s sensibilities — the duo wore matching outfits and were simply en feugo. In one stunning moment, Johnson slipped in a move and Siwa somehow managed to catch her, pull her back to her feet, without really missing a beat.
“History just happened on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” Banks said dramatically at the end of the number.
“This was a groundbreaking moment,” said Tonioli. “I’m so high.”
The duo climbed to the top spot with 29 out of 40 points.
Wrestling villain ‘The Miz’ was no heel
Perhaps the biggest question marks on the dance floor were answered with an exclamation point. WWE superstar villain, and self-described “egotistical jerk,” Mike “The Miz” Mizanin was born for the nationally televised dance floor. With no body oil in sight and in a Tommy Bahama-esque Hawaiian shirt, The Miz, 40, vowed, “I’m going to cha cha the hell out of this dance floor.” Then he showed off his surprisingly nimble footwork, flare and a beaming smile with partner pro Witney Carson.
“Whitney, you have tamed the beast,” said Tonioli as the judges rolled with straight sixes. “You were incredible.”
The couple earned a 24 out of 30.
Olivia Jade shimmied from scandal to salsa
Olivia Jade, the daughter of “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, who were at the center of the 2019 college admission bribery scandal, noted in her opening video segment that she has been “racked up in scandal.” But she vowed to reveal another side.
“I’m not trying to pull the pity card, I need to move forward and do better,” Jade, 21, said. “I want to show people I have a different side, I have a work ethic.”
In a fringed green dress, Jade showed an impressive salsa with partner Val Chmerkovskiy, as her older sister Isabella Rose, 23, looked on from the audience. “This is the start of a brand new chapter,” said Inaba, who commented on Jade’s “great lines and great legs.”
Jade scored a solid 25 out of 40.
Suni Lee showed gold medal grace and grit
It’s going to be a fascinating journey watching Olympic gymnastics star Suni Lee, 18, bust out of her shell and show us the person behind the competitor. Her moments on “DWTS” opening night showed a pizza-loving teen who is really sure she can’t really dance. Paired with pro dancer Sasha Farber, Lee showed moments of raw athletic awesomeness — bouncing up from a split with shocking alacrity and giving precise kicks and flicks in her jive.
“My golden girl, you can jive baby,” said Tonioli. Hough summed it up with his critique: “A little less perfection, a little more perfection.”
The duo scored 28 out of 40.
Martin Kove showed no mercy to the paso doble
“Cobra Kai” and “Karate Kid” star Martin Kove, 74, the oldest dancer in the competition, showed flickers of his arch-villain John Kreese. That is before his paso doble started.
Kove opened with a pre-dance lecture, preaching, “Weakness, doesn’t exist in the ballroom.” He then danced a halting paso doble, showed a few martial arts moves and had partner Britt Stewart scurrying around the floor as flames emerged from a stage machine. Tonioli called the machinations “unprepared.” Goodman called it “a gallant effort” but still gave a rare 3 score, sending Kove to the bottom of the leader board.
He received a 13 out of 40.
Amanda Kloots brought tears to the dance floor
“The Talk” co-host Amanda Kloots made an emotional outing, talking about the 2020 death of her husband Nick Cordero. “I miss him every single day,” Kloots, 39, said, breaking into tears in her introductory video. Monday night, she proceeded to hit a smoking hot tango with pro partner Alan Bersten. The whole re-emergence had former “Talk” co-host and judge Inaba in tears.
“You brought tears to my eyes. I know what you have been through. Nick is looking down on you,” said Inaba, who composed herself to give quick advice. “Oh and watch your neck placement.”
Kloots earned a 28 out of 40.
Brian Austin Green stepped out with his girlfriend
The “Beverly Hills, 90210” star surprised absolutely no one when it was revealed that his pro dance partner would be real-life girlfriend Sharna Burgess — the rare couple going into the competition.
Green and Burgess showed enough couple electricity to have Bravo reality show execs fumbling for their mobile phones. “If I mess this up, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sharna left me,” Green, 48, said in his video. The duo opened their tango with a fiery kiss and danced up a storm.
The couple earned a 24 out of 30.
“Dancing With the Stars” returns Sept. 27 for first eliminations (ABC, 8 EDT/PDT).