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VIDEO: Katherine Jenkins Wows On 'Dancing With The Stars'

VIDEO: Katherine Jenkins Wows On 'Dancing With The Stars'

03/20/2012

It was a night of highs and higher highs on the Dancing with the Stars leaderboard on Monday night's Season 14 premiere, with frontrunners Jaleel White, 35, (partnered with Kym Johnson) and Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins, 31, (dancing with Mark Ballas) nabbing tying first-place spots with scores of 26. Low scores of 20 went to Melissa Gilbert, 47, and Gavin DeGraw, 35.

One thing seems certain though — the overall caliber of Dancing with the Stars contestant is improving. DWTS judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli all agreed (a shock in itself) that this season's kickoff was the highest in performance quality of any since the show's inception.

For Jenkins' part alone, the praise showered on her for her foxtrot brought the singer to tears. Inaba called it the "best first dance on the first episode ever," while the often-harsh Goodman called it "cracking," and Tonioli warned, "You're setting the bar so high that really you have a lot to live up to."

Jack Wagner, 52, Gladys Knight, 67, Roshon Fegan, 20 and The View talk show host Sherri Shepherd, 44, solidly hit median scores in the premiere episode, getting a fair bit of criticism from the panel but ultimately thumbs-ups for solid performances. Sexy Latin star William Levy, 30, and his partner Cheryl Burke came in slightly higher with a 24, while Donald Driver, 37, and Maria Menounos, 33, just eked past last place with scores of 21.

Since it is only Week One, the stars get a pass on an elimination episode. The first elimination will come on Tuesday, March 27, based on combined scores of last night's and next Monday's dances, plus — of course — audience's votes. Tune in to Dancing with the Stars Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Check out a clip here:

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Read more: Dancing with the Stars, Jaleel White, Kym Johnson, Gavin DeGraw, Jack Wagner, William Levy, Donald Driver, Katherine Jenkins, Sherri Shepherd, Mark Ballas, Melissa Gilbert, Roshon Fegan, Maria Menounos, Martina Navratilova, Gladys Knight

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