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Posted at 08:38 AM ET, 09/20/2011

Chaz Bono makes strong debut on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (Video)

Chaz Bono

Bono, with partner Lacey Schwimmer. (Matt Sayle/AP) | GALLERY: Click the image above to view more photos from 'Dancing with the Stars' season 13 premiere.

Chaz Bono — perhaps the most controversial contestant on the new season of “Dancing With the Stars” among a field that includes professional shouter Nancy Grace — proved during last night’s episode that he has the foot-moving skills to stay in the competition.

After weathering some nasty online comments from “DWTS” fans who felt that someone who had undergone a sex change operation had no place on their beloved ballroom dancing show, Bono strutted onstage with partner Lacey Schwimmer looking confident, then followed-up with a strong cha-cha to the tune of “Dancing in the Streets.”

As Emily Yahr reports in the TV Column’s “Dancing With the Stars” recap, the judges rewarded Bono with good but not exceptional scores: a 5, a 6 and a 5. (Based on the scores from Carrie Ann Inaba and co., the front-runners right now are Chynna Phillips, Hope Solo and J.R. Martinez.)

At least one person was pretty happy for Bono: his mother Cher, who issued the following tweet after he was finished: “WOW ! HOW GREAT WAS MY SON? “THE GREATEST,THING GREATEST THING,GREATESTTHING NO MATTER WHAT !WHAT! WHAT!” HES A WINNER ! I Was So Nervous.”

But, perhaps predictably, his performance divided others. On ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” message board, a thread that began with one fan declaring “Chaz was terrible!” sparked some debate, including comments from those coming to his defense.

“I thought Chaz did a wonderful job, especially considering it was the first dance, and I sincerely hope that HE remains on the show for MANY weeks!,” one fan wrote. “HE was obviously having a wonderful time out there, and it was a lot of fun to watch HIM!”

In my opinion, Bono certainly did well enough to prove he belongs on “Dancing With the Stars” for another week. The question is: Will he get voted off tonight despite that? Or will Elisabetta Canalis or Ron Artest, earners of last night’s lowest “DWTS” scores, get the boot instead?

Watch Bono’s performance below, as well as the Viennese waltz performed by David Arquette, whose frustration with himself after making an error made him that much more endearing. (And yes, as predicted in this blog, estranged wife Courteney Cox was indeed in the audience, cheering him on.)

Chaz Bono’s performance:

And the dapper — and, by the end of the waltz, sweaty — David Arquette:

By  |  08:38 AM ET, 09/20/2011

Categories:  Celebrities | Tags:  Dancing With the Stars

 
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