'Dancing With the Stars': Who performed best in season 21 premiere?

The contestants for 'Dancing' this season include chef Paula Deen, conservationist Bindi Irwin, and Alek Skarlatos, who recently helped stop an attack on a train in Belgium. 'Dancing' airs on ABC.

Rob Latour/Invision/AP
Nick Carter, former Backstreet Boys singer, is a contestant on this season of 'Dancing With the Stars.'

The popular ABC reality competition “Dancing With the Stars” returned on Sept. 14, with celebrity contestants such as Bindi Irwin doing particularly well during the season premiere.

In the first week, the results for the celebrity contestants and their partners were close. Irwin and her partner Derek Hough (brother of judge Julianne Hough) received one of the highest scores with 24 after performing a jive routine. Former Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter and his partner, Sharna Burgess, also received a score of 24 after they performed a cha-cha. 

“Braxton Family Values” star Tamar Braxton and her partner, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, were close behind with a score of 23 after performing a quickstep, as were “Big Time Rush” actor Carlos PenaVega and his celebrity partner, Witney Carson, with the same score for their performance of a jive. PenaVega’s wife, “Spy Kids” actress Alexa PenaVega, and her partner Mark Ballas also performed a jive and got a score of 22. 

Alek Skarlatos, who helped foil an attack on a train in Belgium, and his partner, Lindsey Arnold, performed a foxtrot and received a score of 22 as well.

Other contestants for “Dancing” this season include Irwin, celebrity chef Paula Deen, singer Andy Grammer, and actor Gary Busey as well as Vine personality Hayes Grier, jockey Victor Espinoza, singer Chaka Khan, and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kim Zolciak Biermann. 

The pro dancers participating include Tony Dovolani, Keo Motsepe, Mr. Chmerkovskiy, Ms. Burgess, Louis van Amstel, Karina Smirnoff, Anna Trebunskaya, Emma Slater, Allison Holker, Derek Hough, Mr. Ballas, Ms. Arnold, and Ms. Carson.

Former judge Len Goodman departed before this season, so the remaining judges on the show are former contestant Julianne Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli. 

The show has often aired on both Mondays and Tuesdays, but this year, the second episode will not always happen and the second show of the week will not always center on the results of the competition. Tonight’s episode will reportedly expand on the Sept. 14 episode, going behind the scenes to see what happened as the contestants prepared to make their debut. 

Ratings have stayed mostly steady for the reality competition over the last few years, though the season finale for the last season, which aired in spring 2015, was down in total viewers from the spring 2014 season finale and behind the spring 2013 season finale as well. For the spring season, viewers have often dropped after the season premiere and then gone up again for the spring season finale. The 2015 spring season continued to follow this pattern. 

If “Dancing” history is anything to judge by, Mr. Espinoza is a contestant to watch, though he had one of the lower scores last night with 15. Athletes of all types have traditionally done well on “Dancing.” Mr. Carter, who received one of the highest scores, could also be a top contender. Singers have also often done well, and Carter’s former band, the Backstreet Boys, often performed dance routines on tour and in music videos, so learning steps isn’t a new task for him.

The newest episode of “Dancing” airs tonight at 9 p.m.

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