(USATODAY.com) - New pros and "a fantastic collection of new stars," as host Brooke Burke-Charvet put it, launched a new season of Dancing With the Stars on Monday on ABC.
Highlights included fan favorites Valerie Harper and Bill Nye, with Amber Riley rocking the ballroom.
What wasn't new: Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. And, of course, veteran host Tom Bergeron, who mistakenly referred to it as Season 1 at one point. He quickly added, "It all feels new to me!"
There were a few changes, along with the fact that the show only airs one night a week, instead of two. Bergeron had a new place to stand - next to Carrie Ann instead of Bruno. The stars didn't run up to a skybox to chat with Burke-Charvet while they awaited scores. Instead, they hung out with her in a "pit" right near the judges. Bergeron joked that it was because "the celebraquarium went condo!" And after the stars danced, they got their scores right after the judges made their remarks. Burke-Charvet did her interviews backstage and in a "warm-up room." And she even chatted with fans in the audience.
News flash: During a random chat, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi told Burke-Charvet that she doesn't want to be called Snooki anymore. "I am Snooki, but I feel like now that I've had a son, I grew up into a woman. And that's Nicole."
Asked Bergeron: "Is 'Snicole' all right?"
Said Snooki, "I like that."
Here's how the stars stacked up:
Amber Riley of Glee said she's a "theater kid" and ballroom dancing is "a dream come true" for her. "I'm a big girl. I'm not small, but I think that it would be good for someone my size actively, actually trying to dance." She and pro partner Derek Hough performed a sassy, snappy cha cha. Derek is, of course, amazing. And Amber was right there with him, working the floor in a spangled, glittery dress. The crowd responded with a standing ovation.
Judges comments: Bruno yelled above the cheering, "You are the tigress of Season 17!" Carrie Ann got up and bowed to her. Len said he needed "a medic ...I'm palpitating, perspirating and flatulating. Full-on flat-out fabulous." Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27
Corbin Bleu, known from High School Musical, obviously knows how to move. Pro partner Karina Smirnoff said, "There's definitely an expectation for Corbin to dance well." She said she usually has the crazy ideas, but "with Corbin, I've met my match in the crazy department." Their expressive contemporary dance was graceful and impressive. The crowd loved it.
Judges: Carrie Ann wailed. "Well done! ... It was beautiful." Len said, "That was full on. It had attack, it had attitude, your lifts were great." Bruno said Corbin was "strong, powerful, athletic" and yet he had a "tender touch." Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24
Elizabeth Berkley from Saved By the Bell and Showgirls has been dancing since she was a kid. Now she's a new mom and wants to "reconnect" to her dancing. With partner Val Chmerkovskiy, Berkley danced a moving contemporary dance to Imagine.
Judges: Carrie called her a "gorgeous, sensuous, beautiful, passionate angel." Len said it was "just lovely." Bruno said, "The original showgirl is back and she means business." Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24
Snooki (she'll always be Snooki to us) said that before she got pregnant she was "a hot mess." Now, the 50-pounds-lighter mom to Lorenzo, 1, is ready to dance. "I'm very excited to show America that I'm a different person now that I'm a mom and I'm not a hot mess ... and that I can actually dance." She and pro Sasha Farber ended the night with a sizzling cha cha.
Judges: Carrie Ann said it was "great" and loved that she "went for it." Len said she was like a "little pocket rocket" and he loved her footwork. Bruno praised her legs. "I felt awesome," said Snicole. Scores: 8, 8, 7 = 23
Jack Osbourne, who has multiple sclerosis, said sister Kelly, who came in third during Season 9, is "a far better dancer than I am and probably ever will be. However, I'm not counting myself too short." His parents, Ozzy and Sharon were in the audience to cheer him on as he and partner Cheryl Burke danced a charming foxtrot. Sharon wept with joy when he finished the number.
Judges: Len liked it, "You can dance! ... I loved your footwork." Bruno called it "joyful, playful and uplifting" but told him to watch his turns. Carrie Ann disagreed, and said, "That was nothing but class! ... It's in the Osbourne genes!" Scores: 8, 8, 7 = 23
Christina Milian, pop singer, described her partner Mark Ballas' choreography as "slightly unusual." She wept in rehearsals, saying she was "nervous," adding, "I can't believe I'm doing this." Their contemporary dance on a smoky stage had a goth feel to it and showed that Milian clearly knows how to move.
Judges: Carrie Ann said, "You move beautifully" but told her to open up more. Len said the dance "really suited" her and urged her to "really come out." Bruno "loved" the intensity. Scores: 7, 7, 8 = 22
Brant Daugherty, a hunky actor who has appeared on Pretty Little Liars, Days of Our Lives and Army Wives, said he has no singing or dancing experience. "I'm a single threat," he joked. But all his pro partner Peta Murgatroyd cared about was asking, "Are you single?" He replied, "That's how we're going to start this?!" And then he admitted, "I am." She said, "I am, too." He immediately worried he'd have to impress her. Their dance, a cha cha to Blurred Lines, was sexy and had a perfect beat for hip thrusting. "Good start!" said Bergeron.
Judges comments: Len loved it and called it "fabulous." Bruno said it was "hot stuff" but noticed he missed his timing. Carrie Ann: "You have a lot of potential. ... I think this chemistry is going to be fun to watch." Scores: 7, 8, 7 = 22
Valerie Harper said she had a problem this week. "Not the cancer," she said. "My sore knee!" She added, "Nothing serious, but strained." She jokingly blamed her "slave driver" partner Tristan MacManus. Harper explained to cameras that she has "always loved dancing" and is happy to have a chance to "perform for people" again. She and Tristan danced a sweet foxtrot, with Valerie smiling and swirling around the dance floor. Of course, they got a standing ovation. "It's good to be alive -- and it's even better to be dancing," she said.
Judges: Bruno said, "How can you criticize a national treasure? You are an inspiration to the nation." He said she was "radiant," and added some suggestions about her frame. Weepy Carrie Ann said she was "setting an amazing example... Yes, you have to work on your spots, but you brought me to tears with your courage." Len praised her "ease and elegance." Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21
Leah Remini admitted she was nervous. "I wanna leave!" In her rehearsal segment the King of Queens sitcom star said, "I need to lose weight. I need to not look silly." Her partner Tony Dovolani said, "I've had some pretty crazy partners in the past, but Leah's a force of nature." Their foxtrot went smoothly, with Leah giving it some attitude. Jennifer Lopez was spotted in the crowd cheering her on and chewing gum.
Judges: "Are you sure you've never done it before?" teased Bruno. "It was a bit of a foxy trot. She went Miley Cyrus for a moment!" Carrie Ann called her "sass and class!" Len said it was "clean" and "precise." He said she should be proud. Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21
Bill Engvall, stand-up comic and actor, said his friends think he has "absolutely lost" his mind for doing the show. "But I would love to be the redneck's dancing king." He and partner Emma Slater put on a snazzy foxtrot, with Bill commanding the dance, although his arms flew out in a funny way throughout it.
Judges: Len said, "Well done." Bruno said, "I felt something. ... I could sense a ... hint of elegance." Carrie Ann said she was "happily surprised." They all said he needed "more fluidity." Scores: 6, 6, 6 = 18
Keyshawn Johnson, NFL star, is finding out how different the ballroom is from the football field. He and partner Sharna Burgess teased each other in rehearsals but their cha cha to Bruno Mars' Treasure was steamy - but mostly because of her tight gold pants, not his lumbering frame.
Judges: Bruno pointed out that "the bigger you are, the harder it is to do these steps. The issue is the timing." Carrie Ann said the beginning was "a little stiff." Len said his "attitude was terrific," he just needs to work on technique. Scores: 6, 5, 6 = 17
Bill Nye the Science Guy says he and his new pro partner, Tyne Stecklein, have a name for their team - "hot knowledge." He added, "I think you'll be able to figure out which is which pretty quickly." Nye called it "the best example of beauty and the geek." He said he "loves to dance," but mostly swing dance. They did a cha cha to Weird Science by Oingo Boingo. It was appropriate and fun, but Bill definitely had some trouble that even hamming it up couldn't hide. The crowd chanted, "Bill! Bill!"
Judges: Len said it was "liked being waxed -- painful when it happened and lovely when it was over." He got booed for it. Bruno said "this formula's not going to get you the Nobel Prize." Carrie Ann said, "You're the kind of contestant that makes Dancing With the Stars the special show that it is." She called him "the heart of the show." Scores: 5, 4, 5 = 14
No one was eliminated this week. The first star will be sent home next Monday.