Photo Credit: ABC/BOB D'AMICO
Dancing with the Stars is back with a new cast -- and they're ready to dance 'til they drop! With season 14 officially underway, it's clear the latest crop of contestants have one thing on their minds: taking home that mirror ball trophy.
In fact, their first dances were so impressive were so impressive that they earned unprecedented praise from judge Len Goodman. "Without a doubt, this is the best first show of any season," he said after the night's final performance.
Two contestants tied for the night's highest scores: Former Family Matters star Jaleel White and his partner Kym Johnson (pictured) and Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and her pro Mark Ballas both received 26 points for their opening numbers.
"That was exquisite," the always effusive Bruno Tonioli told Jenkins, who was emotional after her DWTS debut. "You're setting the bar so high that really you have a lot of live up to."
After White and Johnson's foxtrot, Tonioli even compared him to one of dancing's greatest legends.
"I'm telling you, I thought I was watching Gregory Hines," Tonioli told White.
But the biggest cheers for the night weren't for the highest points. Instead, they belonged to Cuban hunk William Levy, whose dance with Cheryl Burke nearly caused a riot from the excited audience, who gave the pair a standing ovation.
Tonioli stood on his chair and proclaimed the partners "the hottest package of the season."
"I appreciate the love," Levy responded to the outpuring of support. He and Burke earned the second-highest score of the evening, a 24.
Tying for third place were several pairs that received a 23: Gladys Knight, who also received a standing O for her cha-cha with Tristan MacManus.
"There's a naturalness about your dance," Goodman told the soul singer. "There's a rhythm and I loved the way you move"
Also earning a 23: former soap star Jack Wagner, Disney star Roshon Fegan, and The View cohost Sherri Shepherd (who also impressed with her foxtrot with Val Chmerkovskiy).
"I loved watching you dance," Carrie Ann Inaba said. "You have so much joy."
Rounding out the bottom of the leader board:
Maria Menounos and three-time champ Derek Hough, 21
NFL player Donald Driver and partner Peta Murgatroyd, 21
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 20
Tennis champ Martina Navratilova and partner Tony Dovolani, 20
Gavin DeGraw and last year's champ Karina Smirnoff, 20
Watch the recap of the first dances below!