'Dancing With the Stars' Season 21 Kicks Off With Fierce Competition & Pleasant Surprises

Dancing With the STarsWhoa. Season 20 of the show definitely brought some of the best talent we've seen in a while, but after watching the Dancing with the Stars season 21 premiere tonight, it's clear that the new cast is more than ready to battle it out for the mirror ball trophy!

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Man ... did Tamar Braxton come out of the gate running, or what? Granted, her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, is last season's champion, but still -- it's virtually impossible to perform a quick step that well on the first night of the competition. It'll be interesting to see how she improves even more as the weeks progress.

And then there's Hayes Grier, the 15-year-old ... Vine star? He seems like a good kid (but a little cocky) -- but how in the heck did Emma Slater wind up being paired with him? Um ... when was the last time they gave her someone within say ... a few years of her own age? She deserves a break, for crying out loud.

Andy Grammer was a total cutie. Who knew he had moves in addition to some pretty powerful pipes?

And OMG -- Paula Deen. She was cute as a button, y'all. Sure, she's definitely better in the kitchen than in the ballroom, but at least she enjoyed herself, right?

Oh, and you gotta love that they paired Witney Carson with a married dude this year. With Carlos PenaVega's wife Alexa competing with Mark Ballas, Witney won't have to worry about romance rumors this time around. (Nice move, ABC.)

That brings us to Kim Zolciak. While it was kind of a shocker that she didn't show off her midriff on the first night (since that's kinda her thing), she definitely brought the sex appeal. Although ... her dancing skills aren't exactly on point just yet. Hopefully she'll stick around for a few more weeks so she'll have a chance to work on them.

Of course, Kim is really going to have to kick it into high gear if she's going to come close to catching up to Bindi Irwin! OMG -- can you say front-runner?!? She and Derek are totally in it to win it. (Her dad would be so proud.)

As for the resident underdog of season 21 -- it's Gary Busey for sure. He's the dude who doesn't know how to move but who fans won't be able to get enough of. He'll be back for another week or two. Mark my words.

Oh -- and the dude from the train, Alex Skarlatos! What a cool surprise -- and how awesome is it that DWTS chose to cast him? Love it.

But the last dance of the night was more than worth waiting for -- Nick Carter blew it out of the park! Backstreet's back, baby. With a bang.

Based on tonight's performances, next week's elimination will likely be either Paula Deen, simply because of her scores, or Chaka Khan, because these kids today just don't appreciate '80s music like they should. Granted, Kim Zolciak gave the most lackluster dance of the night, but her loyal Real Housewives of Atlanta fan base should be enough to keep her around for the time being.

 

Image via dancingabc/Instagram

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