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‘Dancing With the Stars’ premiere: Ranking all the contestants from best to worst

After a colorful debut and eight weeks of low scores, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was voted off “Dancing With the Stars” on Nov. 11. (Video: The Washington Post)

“Dancing With the Stars” had more controversy than usual leading up to its Season 28 premiere Monday night. Last month, when ABC announced that President Trump’s former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was joining the cast, outrage erupted on social media that the falsehood-prone former administration official would have a chance to repair his image on a powerful TV platform.

“The Internet kind of broke talking about Sean Spicer being on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” Spicer’s professional dance partner, Lindsay Arnold, said in their prerecorded introduction video. Apparently, Spicer — who performed a salsa to the Spice Girls hit “Spice Up Your Life” — was trying to break the Internet again on his first episode, because he showed up wearing this:

...which led to many Twitter comments like this:

Here’s our ranking of all 12 pairs from the first night, from best to worst:

‘Dancing With the Stars’ perfected a formula for kitschy, escapist joy. Can it survive today’s politics?

1) James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater (tango, judge scores: 7, 7, 7 for a total of 21 out of 30 points)

Age: 42

Best known as: Dawson from the hit WB teen drama, “Dawson’s Creek.”

Story line: He wants to show his five young children to not be afraid to try new things. Plus, he misses being in front of an audience.

Performance: He crushed it. “We have a leading man in the house!” Carrie Ann Inaba shouted, sounding relieved. Although Van Der Beek was the last dancer to perform, most of the others were rough to watch. (Blame first-week jitters?) Len Goodman complimented his technique and thought it was terrific, while Bruno Tonioli loved that he was completely in control of the dance the entire way through.

2) Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko (cha-cha, judge scores: 7, 6, 6 for a total of 19 out of 30 points)

Age: 24

Best known as: Country singer and runner-up of “American Idol” Season 10 in 2011.

Story line: She has been performing music since she was a kid, but has never danced before. Will that be a problem?

Performance: Alaina impressed the judges with her energy, though Tonioli had criticisms about her footwork. Overall, he thought it was a “polished” performance: “It was like watching a sultry Southern belle giving me a steamy cha-cha the way I like it,” he growled. Inaba complimented Savchenko’s choreography as “powerful,” while Goodman enjoyed her rhythm — although he thought the introduction was a bit long-winded.

3) Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy (fox trot, judge scores: 6, 6, 6 for a total of 18 out of 30 points)

Age: 21

Best known as: A Sports Illustrated model and daughter of supermodel Christie Brinkley.

Story line: Her mom was originally supposed to be in this cast, but during rehearsals, she fell and broke her arm. So Sailor bravely stepped in to take her place for the rest of the season. Monday afternoon, Wendy Williams accused Brinkley of faking her injury so her daughter could get national TV exposure. When People magazine asked Brinkley about this, the supermodel “burst into tears” and said she was “totally shocked” by the accusation.

Performance: Brinkley-Cook scored Brownie points right away when she ran to her mom in the audience, cradling a cast; the moment the dance ended, they both started crying. The judges gave her a rave, of course, complimenting her talent and skills with only three days of practice. When Goodman started to offer actual criticism, everyone started yelling at him.

4) Mary Wilson and Brandon Armstrong (fox trot, judge scores: 6, 5, 6 for a total of 17 out of 30 points)

Age: 75

Best known as: Founder of legendary group the Supremes, the first female group at Motown Records.

Story line: She’s the oldest contestant in the competition. HOW will she fare?!

Performance: Wilson impressed the judges in a way that few other contestants did in Week 1, including Goodman: Even though he’s the same age as Wilson, he said, he wishes he could do a fox trot as well as she did. Tonioli and Inaba were almost too star-struck to speak, though they agreed it was “well done.”

5) Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten (cha-cha, judge scores: 7, 7, 6 for a total of 20 out of 30 points)

Age: 24

Best known as: Last season’s “Bachelorette” star who dumped the “winner,” Jed, in the finale when she found out he never broke up with his girlfriend before he joined the show.

Story line: “My heart’s been through a lot,” Brown confessed in her prerecorded intro, adding that after the madness of the Jed situation, she wants this show to be a “fresh start.”

Performance: Goodman called this a “crisp, clean, confident” dance that actually contained elements of the cha-cha, which is basically a rave. Tonioli was a bit more critical, saying she has to work on her balance. Inaba loved her attitude and said that while Bersten was “dragging her around” at the beginning, she recovered nicely.

6) Karamo Brown and Jenna Johnson (salsa, judge scores: 6, 5, 6 for a total of 17 out of 30 points)

Age: 38

Best known as: The “culture expert” on Netflix’s hit series “Queer Eye.”

Story line: Brown said he “begged” producers to be on the show. Will his persistence pay off? Meanwhile, he ran into trouble last month when he proclaimed that Spicer was a “really sweet guy” and said he believed “if you can talk to someone and meet in the middle, you can learn about each other and help each other both grow.” After a backlash, Brown deleted his Twitter account.

Performance: The judges must have had high hopes for Brown, because although it was a solid dance, they felt let down. “It was all a bit disappointing, really,” Goodman said by way of kicking things off, adding that Brown’s hip action needed work. Tonioli complimented his style but had the same hip complaint. Inaba also thought that Brown was too reserved and didn’t live up to his potential.

7) Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson (tango, judge scores: 6, 5, 5 for a total of 16 out of 30 points)

Age: 41

Best known as: The Nickelodeon child star from “All That,” “Kenan & Kel” and “Good Burger.”

Story line: Can the public finally separate him from Kenan Thompson, his most famous co-star?

Performance: The judges were fairly optimistic about Mitchell’s potential — they all said some variation of “You made some mistakes and weren’t great, but it’s only Week 1 and we loved your attitude!” Tonioli seemed especially pleased, and said Mitchell had serious determination.

8) Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber (cha-cha, judge scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 out of 30 points)

Age: 26

Best known as: One of the members of pop group Fifth Harmony, which was assembled on “The X Factor.”

Story line: Like the rest of her former band members, she’s officially a solo artist — will she set herself apart with the art of dance?

Performance: “There’s a lot of hip thrusting and gyrating,” Goodman said scornfully, and added, “There’s a lot of sort of Beyoncé stuff in there, which I’m not a fan of.” (He admitted that Brooke was still a very “competent” dancer.) Frankly, we didn’t even hear what Tonioli and Inaba said next, because we were wondering how quickly the Beyhive will come for Goodman.

9) Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke (salsa, judge scores: 5, 5, 5 for a total of 15 out of 30 points)

Age: 44

Best known as: Two-time Super Bowl champion for the Baltimore Ravens.

Story line: He is clearly eager to relive his NFL glory days and famed “squirrel” dance.

Performance: For offering some mediocre scores, the judges gave a lot of compliments. “You know how to bring your A game,” Inaba gushed, while Tonioli was also thrilled with how he moved. Goodman added that he showed great potential.

10) Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov (cha-cha, judge scores: 5, 5, 5 for a total of 15 out of 30 points)

Age: 55

Best known as: Meredith the alcoholic Dunder Mifflin employee on NBC’s “The Office.”

Story line: She has barely danced, ever. Will her lack of experience catch up to her?

Performance: Mediocre! Inaba declared it a “great first dance” as Goodman stayed critical, advising Flannery to straighten her legs during the dances. Tonioli raved, “You can run my office anytime,” although he had some critiques about Flannery’s movement.

11) Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd (fox trot, judge scores: 5, 3, 3 a total of 11 out of 30 points)

Age: 38

Best known as: Los Angeles Lakers star and ex-husband of Khloé Kardashian.

Story line: Odom said in his intro that he wants people to know “the real me” — probably referring to the fact that he’s also known for his well-documented addiction issues after he nearly died of an overdose in a Las Vegas brothel in 2015.

Performance: It was rough! The height difference between is Odom (6-foot-10) and Murgatroyd (5-foot-7) was significant, and Goodman thought “it lacked finesse.” Tonioli sympathized that the fox trot is the hardest dance to learn and pointed out lots of mistakes. Inaba, feeling pressure to offer something positive, said she loved that Odom wasn’t afraid to stand up straight and show off his full height.

12) Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold (salsa, judge scores: 4, 4, 4 for a total of 12 out of 30 points)

Age: 47

Best known as: President Trump’s first press secretary and inspiration for Melissa McCarthy’s Emmy-winning impression on “Saturday Night Live.”

Story line: His casting caused furor with fans and high-profile figures at ABC, given his history at the White House: Berating the media and falsely announcing Trump’s inauguration crowd was the largest ever, calling concentration camps “Holocaust centers,” etc. In his intro, Spicer said people have a “one-dimensional” idea of him and he joined the show because “It’s been two years since leaving the White House, and I thought it was finally time to enjoy myself.”

Performance: Arnold bluntly stated that Spicer’s dancing ability is at a “pre-preschool level” and it showed. You know it’s bad when Goodman barely says anything except, “I admire your courage coming on this show.” Tonioli and Inaba went with “strangely entertaining.” “There were some elements of salsa there,” Tonioli said doubtfully. “Not always on time or on rhythm.”