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Season 31 of Dancing with the Stars began with a bang as 16 celebrities, and their professional partners took to the ballroom floor. Fans responded to the first episode on social media, claiming they were both “impressed” and “pumped” for the new season. However, they also reacted to what they said were some “really awful” dances as the show made its Disney+ debut.

'Dancing with the Stars' pros open season 31 of the new Disney Plus series.
‘Dancing with the Stars’ pros during season 31 opening number | ABC/Eric McCandless

The premiere of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ season 31 was a window into the past

The live, two-hour episode of DWTS began as it did before the coronavirus pandemic. A splashy opening number ushered in the installment, and a packed studio audience welcomed the contestants and pros. For longtime fans, the premiere looked back at what Dancing with the Stars used to be, escapist television at its purist.

The program made several key tweaks as it moved from broadcast television to streaming. DWTS veteran Conrad Green returned as the series executive producer. Season 19 Champion Alfonso Ribiero is now assisting Tyra Banks as co-host, speaking to celebrities and pros from the returning Sky Box, which has been out of commission for several years since the pandemic began in 2020.

Another blast from the past was returning pros Louis van Amstel and Mark Ballas.

Van Amstel competed in the series for ten seasons. His closest finish to the top was third place alongside Kelly Osbourne in season 9. He last competed with Paula Deen in season 21.

Ballas is a two-time mirrorball winner. He finished first with athletes Kristi Yamaguchi (season six) and Shawn Johnson (season eight). 

‘Dancing With the Stars’ fans ‘impressed’ and ‘pumped’ for season 31 even after some ‘really awful’ dances

carrie ann inaba, len goodman, derek hough and bruno tonioli judge dancing with the stars.
Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli | ABC/Eric McCandless

Mark Ballas Fans Cry ‘Never Thought This Day Would Come’ Ahead of ‘DWTS’ Return

Dancing with the Stars fans were really “impressed” and “pumped” for the newest season of the competition show. They took to Reddit to discuss what they liked and did not enjoy about the first episode of the Disney+ series.

“I was impressed by the show,” wrote one fan. “Pumped to see the changes they’ve promised come true.”

“Oh boy, some of those dances were really awful,” penned a second Reddit user. “The extra time is just what this season needed, though. Full packages, actual judges’ comments, and a proper goodbye. I give Disney+ a 10!”

“Ten minutes in, I already feel like this is the show I loved. I love having the audience back; the skybox and that pro number were great. Jordin/Brandon was a great couple to start the season. Welcome back, DWTS!” exclaimed a third viewer.

“The show’s pacing is much better than in the past few seasons. Nothing feels rushed, and the intro packages complement the dances nicely,” noted a fourth DWTS fan.

Who went home? Who was safe?

Shangela and Gleb Savchenko, Cheryl Ladd and Louie van Amstel, Selma Blair and Sasha Farber, Jordin Sparks and Brandon Armstrong, Daniel Durant, and Britt Stewart claimed the first five safe spots.

The following pros and stars claimed the remaining week two spots.

Jessie James Decker and Alan Bersten; Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater; Wayne Brady and Witney Carson; Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy; Joseph Baena and Daniella Karagach; Heidi D’Amelio and Artem Chigvinstev; Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas; and Vinny Guadagnino and Koko Iwasaki made it to week two. Sam Champion and Cheryl Burke were the final duo deemed safe.

Teresa Guidice, Pasha Pashkov, Peta Murgatroyd, and Jason Lewis were the final two couples for elimination. Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli voted to save Teresa and Pasha, ultimately sending Lewis and Murgatroyd home in week one.

Dancing with the Stars streams live on Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on Disney+.