"Dancing with the Stars" Kicks Off New Season

Chaz Bono, Chynna Phillips, J.R. Martinez impress the judges, Artest stumbles

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Chaz Bono, left, and his dance partner Lacey Schwimmer pose ahead of their big debut.

    It’s anybody’s ballroom – but don’t expect (Metta) World Peace to break out.

    The Lakers star formerly known until last week as Ron Artest kicked off Monday’s Season 13 premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” by scoring the lowest of all 12 contenders, 14 points out of 30.

    Head judge Len Goodman called the NBA star’s footwork during his cha cha performance “atrocious,” though judge Carrie Ann Inaba praised his “fun factor.”

    If Artest stumbled out of the gate, all the judges agreed the Viennese waltzes by singer Chynna Phillips and wounded Iraq veteran-turned actor J.R. Martinez were the real deal. Both scored 22 points apiece to earn the highest scores of the night.

    “It wasn’t the best first dance I’ve ever seen, but I'll tell you what, it was close,” Goodman told Phillips.

    He later told Martinez that his initials must stand for “just right.”

    The judges were similarly smitten with actor David Arquette, author/activist Chaz Bono and Carson Kressley, of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” fame – though you wouldn’t know it by their middle-of-the-pack scores.

    Bono, who has generated headlines for being the show’s first transgender contestant, conceded Monday feeling pressure to succeed from all the media attention.

    “I really want to not suck,” Bono said in rehearsal.

    “I think people have been waiting all night to see you,” Inaba said after his cha cha cha. “And you do not disappoint.” She gave him a 6 out of 10.

    Judge Bruno Tonioli agreed that Cher's son had a “joyous” debut.

    At the bottom of the pack going into Tuesday’s elimination were Rob Kardashian, talk show host Nancy Grace and Elisabetta Canalis, the Italian model and TV presenter famous stateside for being George Clooney’s former squeeze.

    Canalis started her cha cha by jumping out of a bed, a move that Goodman said was “not my cup of tea.”

    “I liked the bed. You were good in bed,” countered Tonioli.

    Grace, the courtroom prosecutor turned tough-as-nails pundit, scored a 16 out of 30 for her cha cha cha.

    She also was told -- probably for the first time since hitting the small screen -- that she was “so cute.”

    “You’ve got spunk and you’ve got sass,” Inaba added.

    Other performers on Monday’s premiere were U.S. soccer star Hope Solo, former talk show host Ricki Lake and ex-“Hills” starlet Kristin Cavallari. They each scored the judges' accolades.

    Here's where everyone stands on the leaderboard:

    Chynna Phillips: 22
    J.R. Martinez: 22
    Hope Solo: 21
    Ricki Lake: 20
    Kristin Cavallari: 19
    David Arquette: 18
    Chaz Bono: 17
    Carson Kressley: 17
    Rob Kardashian: 16
    Nancy Grace: 16
    Elisabetta Canalis: 15
    Ron Artest: 14