Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey took top honors for her Viennese waltz after earning all eights from the judges – and bringing Carrie Ann Inaba to tears in the process. Jennifer and partner Derek Hough performed an emotional routine to "These Arms of Mine" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Video of their rehearsals revealed the actress's struggles to contain her emotions facing memories of her late costar Patrick Swayze.
"Someone up there is going to be very, very proud of you," judge Bruno Tonioli said.
Other early frontrunners include Brandy, who the judges praised for her beautiful lines during the Viennese waltz with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Disney star Kyle Massey, who performed with a newly blonde Lacey Schwimmer. Carrie Ann declared Kyle her "first crush" of season 11 after their feisty cha cha. Both teams earned 23 points.
Bristol Palin, one of the night's most buzzed-about stars, danced a cha cha with partner Mark Ballas to Three Dog Night's "Mama Told Me Not To Come." During her routine, she ripped off a sparkling gray suit to reveal a much flashier red fringe dress. She earned 18 points from the judges.
Meanwhile, three teams tied for last place. Margaret Cho's silly Viennese waltz with Louis van Amstel did not impress Len Goodman, who called their choice to be humorous "inappropriate." Len also teased Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, who started rehearsals a week late, saying, "You've got the guns but no ammunition," after his cha-cha with Karina Smirnoff. And Carrie Ann labeled David Hasselhoff "the offspring of Donny Osmond and Jerry Springer" after a stiff cha-cha with Kym Johnson.
Relive the good, the bad and the sparkling with our live blog from premiere night.
Here's what you didn't see:
Premiere night was a family affair for the stars, with Jennifer Grey's daughter Stella sitting with husband Clark Gregg, and Brandy's daughter Sy'rai attending with her grandparents and uncle Ray J. Both girls took home DWTS T-shirts during commercial breaks. Sy'rai even caught The Hoff's sparkly "pleather" jacket when he stripped it off during his routine. "She had to give it back; they wouldn't let her keep it," Brandy told PEOPLE backstage after the show. "She was so proud, and she was really excited to see Maks."
Also in the audience: Rick Fox's daughter Sasha who sat with his girlfriend Eliza Dushku, Margaret Cho's mom, Kurt Warner's wife Brenda with all seven of their children, Kyle's aunt, and The Hoff's dad and daughters Hayley and Taylor. "My daughters laughed," said Hasselhoff. "They said, 'Hey, Dad, you and Michael Boulton got the lowest scores!'"
Former Dancing With the Stars contestants also came out to support the new cast. The Bachelor's Jake Pavelka arrived hand-in-hand with a pretty blonde, who followed him around the studio as he greeted old friends, including his season 10 costars Niecy Nash, Buzz Aldrin, Aiden Turner and Evan Lysacek.