Dancing With the Stars season 27: Who made an early case for the Mirrorball?

ABC reopened its ballroom doors on Monday for Dancing With the Stars‘ 27th season, and the two-hour broadcast featured some staples of the series: Tearjerking backstories! Len Goodman dashing the contestants’ hopes! Bruno Tonioli being a grade-A creep!

Of course, DWTS is also one of TV’s least cynical series, so Monday’s premiere mostly featured amateur dancers simply trying their best not to face-plant in front of millions of people. And no one did! The season is already off to a solid start.

The competition series will air two episodes this week, with the first elimination already slated for Tuesday night. Which pairs made an impression during the premiere, for better or for worse? Let’s recap the highlights and lowlights of Monday’s broadcast:

BEST OF THE NIGHT
DeMarcus Ware and pro Lindsay Arnold (Cha-Cha) — I’ll admit I’m a little biased here, seeing as DeMarcus and Lindsay are my predicted winners for Season 27. But their cha-cha was also immensely fun, and the pro footballer proved early on that he can handle the acrobatic tricks that Lindsay is fond of including in her routines. If DeMarcus’ movements get more fluid as the weeks go on, he and Lindsay could certainly be sticking around the ballroom for a while. Judges’ Score: 23/30

13 PHOTOS
'Dancing With the Stars' season 27 pairings
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'Dancing With the Stars' season 27 pairings

Danelle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Lindsay Arnold and DeMarcus Ware

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Sasha Farber and Mary Lou Retton

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

"Grocery Store Joe" and Jenna Johnson

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Val Chmerkovskiy and Nancy McKeon

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Witney Carson and Milo Manheim

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Alan Bersten and Alexis Ren

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Cheryl Burke and Juan Pablo di Pace

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Emma Slater and John Schneider

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko

(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

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BEST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP)
Juan Pablo Di Pace and pro Cheryl Burke (Salsa) — Ignoring Len Goodman’s incredibly strange comment that Juan Pablo is “a hunk with the junk in the trunk” — even typing it gives me the heebie-jeebies! — the Fuller House actor delivered the sexiest performance of the broadcast, without question. Like most contestants in Week One, Juan Pablo has a little fine-tuning to do. But his chemistry with Cheryl was immediately captivating, and his comfort level with tricky choreography will only get more impressive as the weeks go on. Judges’ Score: 22/30

MOST MANIC
Bobby Bones and pro Sharna Burgess (Jive) — Radio personality/American Idol mentor Bones was moving so quickly around the dance floor, I’m amazed we didn’t see Road Runner-esque dust clouds forming around his feet. To be fair, Bones’ enthusiasm made his performance instantly memorable, which is a serious challenge when you’re up against 12 other couples. But his excitement gave way to movements that were distractingly herky-jerky at times, which sometimes brought the routine from fun to frightening. Judges’ Score: 20/30 

MOST AWE-INSPIRING
Danelle Umstead and pro Artem Chigvintsev (Foxtrot, pictured right) — It’s hard to properly critique Danelle, who is the series’ first-ever visually impaired contestant. How do you knock points off her score when it’s a big deal just for her to walk down the stairs? Fortunately, the judges didn’t have much to criticize on Monday’s premiere, as Danelle — regardless of her blindness — turned in one of the night’s smoothest and most technically proficient performances, even if it was lacking in intricacy. But please, someone, anyone: Gently remind Bruno Tonioli that Danelle is fully blind and cannot see the body parts he’s pointing to during his critiques. Judges’ Score: 18/30 

WORST OF THE NIGHT
Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and pro Jenna Johnson (Quickstep) — Oof. Oof. I will cop to being a regular Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise viewer (we all have our vices, people!), and I adore Grocery Store Joe. But this was not good. On one hand, the reality-TV star — who is adorably awkward even when he’s not on the dance floor — was saddled with a highly difficult style right off the bat, so we can only fault him so much for that performance. But man, I was actually watching through my fingers during that disastrously out-of-sync middle section. Bachelor Nation, I suspect Joe needs you now more than ever. Judges’ Score: 14/30

21 PHOTOS
Celebrities you forgot competed on 'Dancing With the Stars'
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Celebrities you forgot competed on 'Dancing With the Stars'

Kim Kardashian (Season 7): 11th place

(Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Tucker Carlson (Season 3): Last place

(Photo by James Sorensen/ABC via Getty Images)

Billy Ray Cyrus (Season 4): 5th place

(Photo by James Sorensen/ABC via Getty Images)

Paula Deen (Season 21): 9th place

(Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Pamela Anderson (Season 10): 6th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

David Hasselhoff (Season 11): Last place

(Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

Jerry Springer (Season 3): 5th place

(Photo by James Sorensen/ABC via Getty Images)

Martina Navratilova (Season 14): Last place

(Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty images)

Joey McIntyre (Season 1): 3rd place

(Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

Nancy Grace (Season 13): 5th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Shannen Doherty (Season 10): Last place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Kate Gosselin (Season 10): 8th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Denise Richards (Season 8): 12th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Penn Jillette (Season 6): Last place

(Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

Heather Mills (Season 4): 7th place

(Photo by Liam Daniel/ABC via Getty Images)

Wayne Newton (Season 5): 10th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Priscilla Presley (Season 6): 8th place

(Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

Debi Mazar (Season 9): 12th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Bill Nye (Season 17): 11th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

Geraldo Rivera (Season 22): Last place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)'n

Steve Wozniak (Season 8): 10th place

(Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)

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