Season 29 of "Dancing with the Stars" premiered Monday night and was packed with new faces, impressive dance routines, meme-able moments, and COVID-19 changes.
Plenty of safety protocols have been implemented to keep pro dancers, contestants, and judges safe. The trio of judges -- Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli -- are sitting 6 feet apart from each other. The season will also continue on sans audience for safety reasons, so the cheering and shouting was replaced with a pre-recorded audience track.
Fifteen celebrities hit the stage to compete for the Mirrorball Trophy including former “Bachelorette” Kaitlyn Bristowe, actress Anne Heche, Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean, rapper Nelly, and “Catfish” TV hot Nev Schulman.
But the biggest draw was Carole Baskin, the big cat activist who rose to stardom after her debut on Netflix’s highly popular “Tiger King.”
Check out some of the biggest and viral moments from the premiere.
Carole Baskin Hits the Dance Floor
DWTS producers knew that many people were tuning in to see Carole’s debut on the series, so they left her performance for last in hopes of drumming up some good ratings.
Pasha Pashkov was stunned to learn that he was going to be dancing with the "big cat lady" and seemed to draw inspiration from Britney Spears’ 2001 “I’m a Slave for You” VMA’s performance as he started off in a cage with fake tigers before joining Carole on the dance floor.
Carole aimed to impress all her cool cats and kittens in an animal print outfit as the duo danced the paso doble to “Eye of the Tiger." While the judges seemed to enjoy the performance, the duo scored the lowest score of the night -- 11 out of 30.
Baskin's Missing Husband's Family Takes Out an Ad
Smack dab in the middle of the Carole’s big night, the family of Don Lewis, Baskin's missing husband, ran an ad asking for any information about their father’s disappearance.
They weren’t coy about the fact that they think Carole had something to do with it as they offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who knows "who did this or if Carole Baskin was involved."
The claws are out.
Tyra Attempted to Smize Her Way Onto the Screen
Tyra Banks had some big shoes to fill after it was announced that she would be replacing longtime host Tom Bergeron and co-host Erin Andrews. Tyra isn’t green by any means -- in addition to hosting “America’s Next Top Model,” she previously hosted “America’s Got Talent,” -- and yet, the experience didn't save her during the premiere.
Fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment with Tyra’s hosting saying it fell flat and awkward at times. Others complained she kept trying to make it all about herself.
“Can I just say, what the heck was ABC thinking replacing Tom Bergeron with Tyra Banks on DWTS. His wit and quick comebacks made the show interesting. It’s so boring now I can’t stay awake,” one user tweeted.
Many couldn’t focus on Tyra’s hosting because of her multiple outfit changes. One user even compared her premiere gown with something you’d find at Bath and Body works.
Skai Jackson Takes the Lead
At 18, Disney star Skai Jackson is the youngest contestant on the show, which she considered to be an advantage.
After teaming up with pro dancer Alan Bersten, the couple blew the judges and the viewers watching at home and commenting on Twitter away with their futuristic tango set to Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.”
She came out with a fire that hopefully won’t be extinguished in future episodes and earned the highest score of the night with three 7’s from the judges for a score of 21 out of 30.
Fans Are Supporting Chrishell Stause
Chrishell may be used to closing leads on Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” but as judge Bruno Tonioli told her, she’s a long way from closing after her debut dance.
Her tango with Gleb Savchenko set to Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” landed them in the bottom three with 13 out of 30, but fans aren’t placing much of the blame on her.
Instead, they are coming to her defense on Twitter saying that the song choice wasn’t great and that Savchenko could’ve done better on the choreography.
Turn Down the Fake Cheering
Due to COVID, the show premiered to an audience-less venue and replaced the real audience cheers with a pre-recorded track that missed the mark. While the point of the faux applause was to hype the dancers and keep a sense of normalcy, viewers at home found themselves quickly annoyed by it.
Their biggest gripe was that it was way too loud and tuned out Tyra. "YOU CANT HEAR ANYTHING ELSE,” one fan tweeted. Hopefully, it’s a kink that producers work out in future episodes.