'Dancing with the Stars' Premiere: Chaz Bono Can Cha-Cha!

After suffering through intense pre-season criticism, the show's first transgender contestant pleased the judges. Who else had fancy footwork?

After a pre-season shrouded in controversy and protests, Chaz Bono made his debut on Dancing with the Stars to the audience's cheers and the judges' surprising delight.

Season 13 of ABC's hit competition show kicked off with all eyes on the transgender child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, whose presence had been loudly criticized by groups who thought him to be an inappropriate choice for the "family series." And adding to the pressure of being the first transgender contestant, was the fact Cher had admitted that he wasn't exactly the dancing type.

But when the hour was up, Chaz and partner Lacey Schwimmer had surprised the judges, who responded positively to their debut performance, a cha-cha-cha to "Dancing in the Streets."

"Chazzy Boy, you can dance!" said judge Carrie Ann Inaba.

Judge Len Goodman called Bono "Razzamataz Chaz" and praised his footwork, while Bruno Tonioli said, "So cuddly and cute. Great, great debut, Chaz. You should be proud."

The duo finished with a respectable 17 points.

But, of course, Chaz wasn't the only star to debut his fancy footwork on Monday night's show.

With ex-wife Courteney Cox and their 7-year-old daughter Coco cheering him in on, David Arquette gave a respectable 18-point debut with partner Kym Johnson, as the two danced the waltz to Queen's "Somebody to Love." And in one of the cutest moments of the night, the camera panned to a delighted Coco as Arquette gushed about his little girl: "She's just so beautiful... She's the love of my life."

But Cox wasn't the only famous face in the audience. The entire Kardashian clan showed up to support Rob Kardashian, including DWTS alum Kim Kardashian. But their presence wasn't enough to bring Rob luck, as he failed to wow the judges and received a 16 for his waltz with partner Cheryl Burke.

Ricki Lake, who has shed more than 8 inches off her figure, and her handsome young partner Derek Hough finished with a great 20 points after their waltz, while American soccer star Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy also impressed with their 21-point opening dance.

Soap-opera star and Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez was remarkably graceful with his partner Karina Smirnoff delivering a memorable Viennese Waltz. The couple received an impressive 22 points, tying with singer Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani for the night's top spot.

But it was the season's other professional athlete, Ron Artest, who drew the night's lowest score with a 14 for his first number, a cha-cha-cha with Peta Murgatroyd

But, as always, it's the viewers' votes that really count! 

Watch Chaz and Schwimmer's first dance below:

 

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