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"Dancing with the Stars" kicks off 17th season

Amber Riley and Derek Hough perform during the "Dancing with the Stars" season premiere on Sept. 16, 2013.

The new season of "Dancing with the Stars" got under way on Monday night with a fresh crop of celebs and some very high scores.

"Glee" star Amber Riley and partner Derek Hough wowed the judges with their cha-cha and earned the night's top marks -- three nines, for a combined score 27 out of a possible 30.

Bruno Tonioli called Riley the "tigress of season 17," while Len Goodman professed, "I'm palpitating, perspirating and flatulating."

Former "High School Musical" star Corbin Bleu also made a smashing debut, earning a trio of eights for his contemporary routine with Karina Smirnoff. "Saved by the Bell" star Elizabeth Berkley earned the same score for her contemporary routine with Val Chmerkovskiy.

But not everyone fared so well. "Science Guy" Bill Nye, who told he was "so uncoordinated" in rehearsals and "extraordinarily nervous" heading into the competition, got the night's lowest scores -- a 14 out of 30 -- for his cha-cha (appropriately, to "Weird Science") with pro partner Tyne Stecklein.

"You had all the elements in there but they were all backward and forward," Tonioli told him.

The night's emotional highlight came courtesy of Valerie Harper, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year. Her foxtrot brought the judges to their feet for a standing ovation and had Carrie Ann Inaba in tears. They rewarded her effort with a trio of sevens.

There's no results show this season, so fans will have to wait until next Monday night to find out who is eliminated. Here's how the competition stacked up, from the highest scores to the lowest:

Amber Riley and Derek Hough (cha-cha) -- 27/30 (9,9,9)

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff (contemporary) -- 24/30 (8,8,8)

Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy (contemporary) -- 24/30 (8,8,8)

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber (cha-cha) -- 23/30 (8,8,7)

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke (foxtrot) -- 23/30 (8,8,7)

Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd (cha-cha) -- 22/30 (7,8,7)

Christina Milian and Mark Ballas (contemporary) -- 22/30 (7,7,8)

Valerie Harper and Tristan McManus (foxtrot) -- 21/30 (7,7,7)

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani (foxtrot) -- 21/30 (7,7,7)

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater (foxtrot) -- 18/30 (6,6,6)

Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess (cha-cha) -- 17/30 (6,5,6)

Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein (cha-cha) -- 14/30 (5,4,5)

What did you think of the stars' first dances? Share thoughts in the comments and vote in the poll above for who will win the mirrorball trophy.