*Amber Riley earned a near-perfect score on Monday’s season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” prompting judge Bruno Tolioni to call the “Glee” star the “tigress of season 17.”
Although early favorite Corbin Bleu of “High School Musical” fame wowed the crowd as predicted with a 24 out of 30-point contemporary dance with partner Karina Smirnoff, it was Riley, 27, and dance partner Derek Hough who earned three nines.
Judge Len Goodman said of her fiery cha cha cha, “I’m palpitating, perspirating and flatulating.”
As could be expected, the emotional highlight came from Valerie Harper, diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year, who brought Carrie Ann Inaba to tears with her 21-point foxtrot with Tristan MacManus that received a standing ovation from the audience. Although the judges respected the effort, Tonioli critiqued the actress’s shoulder movement.
Meanwhile, Christina Milian and Mark Ballas danced a 22-point contemporary that Tolioni “loved,” but Inaba panned for a lack of connection with the audience.
And then there was Keyshawn Johnson.
The NFL star-turned-ESPN commentator and partner Sharna Burgess managed a show-low 17 points for a cha cha that Inaba critiqued for being “a little stiff” in the beginning. She was being kind.
Watch highlights below.