After a shortened spring season with all athletes, “Dancing With the Stars” returned Monday for its 27th edition — and things were officially back to normal. There were plenty of impressive moves; a couple of seriously unfortunate dances; some sniping between the judges; and, of course, tons of glittery costumes.
Here’s our ranking of all 13 pairs from the first night, from best to worst.
1) DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold (cha cha, judge scores: 8, 7, 8 for a total of 23 out of 30 points)
Best known as: The NFL player who spent nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, then moved to the Denver Broncos, who won the Super Bowl a couple of years later.
Story line: He’s retired from football, so he’s looking for a new competition that he can dominate.
Performance: Athletes always do well on this show, and it looks like we night have a front-runner. Len says DeMarcus has a fantastic presence, a wonderful personality — and, hallelujah, he can dance! Bruno agrees he’s delightful, marveling that DeMarcus is so strong yet so light in his steps. Carrie Ann concurs that his athleticism and charisma will take him quite far.
2) Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke (salsa, judge scores: 7, 7, 8 for a total of 22 out of 30 points)
Best known as: Kimmy Gibbler’s estranged husband on Netflix’s hit spinoff, “Fuller House.”
Story line: His co-stars, Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin, have already competed on the show. Can he live up to their legacy?
Performance: Carrie Ann says Juan Pablo and Cheryl’s chemistry is already off the charts. Although Juan Pablo had some technical issues, hard-to-impress Len says it was still a “top rate” dance. Bruno is a huge fan: “I mean, come on, that’s a salsa that gets under your skin!”
3) Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong (jive, judge scores: 8, 7, 8 for a total of 23 out of 30 points)
Best known as: An R&B singer whose debut album made a splash in 2014.
Story line: It’s Brandon’s first year as a pro. Can he help guide Tinashe to a win?
Performance: The audience really loved this dance. Len thinks it had plenty of “snap, crackle and pop,” particularly for the first week, and says it’s a top-notch performance. Bruno likes that the routine was both fun and impressive. Carrie Ann believes Tinashe is a star and encourages her to show off even more personality.
4) Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten (jive, judge scores: 7, 7, 7 for a total of 21 out of 30 points)
Best known as: An Instagram influencer (nearly 13 million followers) turned Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.
Story line: She’s competing in memory of her mom, who loved the show, and passed away a few years ago from cancer.
Performance: The judges adore her. Carrie Ann thinks it was well-rehearsed and well-choreographed, while Bruno calls Alexis “a stunner.” Len is especially enthused and thinks they did a really great job with a jive.
5) Milo Manheim and Witney Carson (cha cha, judge scores: 7, 6, 7 for a total of 20 out of 30 points)
Best known as: The star of Disney Channel original movie “Zombies,” and son of “The Practice” star Camryn Manheim.
Story line: As the youngest competitor at 17, will he be able to keep up?
Performance: Bruno thinks Milo’s timing is “brilliant.” He makes a convoluted zombie comparison, which sounds negative, though ultimately declares Milo did great. Carrie Ann critiques some of his moves and notes that his extremely tall stature is great for dancing. Len gives the best compliment of all: “You’re a dancer, well done.”
6) Danelle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev (fox trot, judge scores: 6, 6, 6 for a total of 18 out of 30 points)
Best known as: The Paralympic alpine skier who has earned three bronze medals at the Winter Paralympic Games with her husband, Rob.
Story line: She’s the first-ever blind competitor on the show, so she and Artem are understandably anxious.
Performance: “That was so lovely,” Bruno gushes, before he offers a critique of how she should move her arms. Len says he can tell Danelle is nervous, though he thinks she has a lot of potential. Carrie Ann calls the bond between Danelle and Artem “magical,” and thinks once Danelle relaxes, she will go in a “beautiful” direction.
7) Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe (fox trot, judge scores: 7, 5, 6 for a total of 18 out of 30 points)
Best known as: Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter franchise.
Story line: She originally wanted to be a dancer but got rejected from dance school. Will this be her redemption?
Performance: “Let’s get this straight — you can dance,” Carrie Ann announces. Still, Evanna has some work to do, particularly with her shoulder movements. Len is more critical, because he doesn’t think the dance fit her very well. Bruno praises her dance ability but is most interested in making Harry Potter references.
8) Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess (jive, judge scores: 7, 6, 7 for a total of 20 out of 30 points)
Best known as: The country radio personality who pulls the occasional controversial stunt, and a mentor on “American Idol” last season.
Story line: He has no dance experience at all. Will he be able to handle the rigorous routines?
Performance: Bobby loses his mind with excitement at the end, jumping around and falling on the dance floor. The judges don’t know quite what to make of it all; Bruno sums the performance up as “exquisitely demented.” Carrie Ann goes with “Rough around the edges, but something about it was incredible.” Len admires Bobby’s energy but thinks he got too carried away.
9) Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber (cha cha, judge scores: 6, 7, 6 for a total of 19 out of 30 points)
Best known as: The gold medal-winning gymnast who dominated the 1984 Olympics, and became the first female athlete to appear on a Wheaties box.
Story line: She’s been out of the spotlight for years. Can she recapture her competitive edge?
Performance: Len declares Mary Lou is “pretty nifty for 50,” though he advises her to work on her footwork and calm down a bit, as she rushed through her dance. Bruno likes her a lot but points out a couple of small mistakes. Regardless of the errors, Carrie Ann loves her and says she’s “still golden.”
10) Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy (quickstep, judge scores: 6, 6, 6 for a total of 18 out of 30 points)
Best known as: Jo from “The Facts of Life,” a classic 1980s sitcom.
Story line: She’s freaked out by all of this but wants to show her kids that you should face your fears.
Performance: Bruno pokes fun at Nancy’s many facial expressions during the dance, yet he loves her energy. Carrie Ann thinks Bruno was unnecessarily harsh because Nancy’s face told the story. Len declares it “a solid performance,” which is the best you can really hope for sometimes.
11) John Schneider and Emma Slater (fox trot, judge scores: 7, 5, 6 for a total of 18 out of 18 points)
Best known as: “The Dukes of Hazzard” star and country singer.
Story line: He admits he’s not a great dancer. Will he overcome his lack of ability?
Performance: Carrie Ann sounds surprised as she says that John really knows his way around the dance floor and that he has a rather natural elegance. Len disagrees, saying while the performance was a decent effort, it “lacked any finesse.” Bruno rambles on for a while, and it sounds like he thought it was okay.
12) Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko (salsa, judge scores: 6, 5, 6 for a total of 17 out of 30 points)
Best known as: A Comedy Central comedian and roast expert who aimed a zinger at Tom Bergeron during the cast introduction.
Story line: She’s terrified of dancing in public but wants to prove she can take on the challenge.
Performance: Len isn’t pleased — he calls the performance “cool and too careful.” Bruno offers the tepid, “It wasn’t a total train wreck.” All the judges seem upset by the lack of Nikki’s hip movement during a salsa. Carrie Ann avoids giving too much technical instruction, a bad sign, but says Nikki has a great “body and spirit” for dance.
13) Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson (quickstep, judge scores: 5, 4, 5 for a total of 14 out of 30 points)
Best known as: The fan favorite (known as “Grocery Store Joe”) who got cut the first night on “The Bachelorette” last season but made a comeback on “Bachelor in Paradise.”
Story line: On his third attempt at reality TV stardom, can he avoid the embarrassment of being eliminated so early?
Performance: Yikes. Carrie Ann hilariously struggles to say something nice and tells him, “You can push a shopping cart really well.” Len is upset because he likes Joe as a person, but the dance was so awful he can’t even come up with substantive criticism. Bruno also avoids being too mean and notes that Joe is extremely handsome, so it’s okay that he’s not a good dancer. You can’t have everything!