First impressions of the new 'Dancing' stars

Heathermills_jonathanroberts_dancinDancing with the Stars opened up a new season Monday night, and since I know you all want to know, here it is: Heather Mills' prosthetic leg stayed on.

Paul McCartney's former wife, whose left leg is amputated at the knee, performed a fairly decent fox trot with partner Jonathan Roberts near the end of the show. She wasn't great, but she wasn't bad either, falling somewhere in the middle of the pack of new celebrities.

ABC has tweaked the show's format a little, giving all 11 stars -- as ever, defined fairly loosely -- two chances to perform before the first results show next week.

Also as ever, our knowledge of ballroom dance here at Zap2it is, shall we say, limited. But here are a few impressions based on what we saw Monday, with the men doing the cha-cha and the women the fox trot.

HOT TO TROT

Lailaali_maksimchmerkovskiy_dancingIt's not much of a surprise that Joey Fatone, tonight's top scorer with 24, is a strong dancer. Dude was in *NSync and has done a fair amount of musical theater, so he should be a favorite. But I didn't figure Laila Ali was going to be so good. The Greatest's daughter is confident like her dad, and she showed it en route to finishing just a point behind Fatone.

COULD BE CONTENDERS

After Ali and Fatone, there were several people -- including Mills -- who showed some potential. At the top of that list is -- who knew? Besides lover of all things 90210 TV Gal, I mean -- Ian Ziering. Ol' Steve Sanders showed some surprising chops, and he's paired with two-time champ Cheryl Burke, so he could go pretty far.

Olympic speed-skating medalist Apolo Anton Ohno, who like Ziering scored a 21, seems like a natural performer. The primary reason I haven't lumped him in with the top two is that he's in the middle of his sport's season and might not have as much time to practice as his fellow dancers.

Former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey did reasonably well too, but it looked like, at least when she's in heels, that she's taller than her partner, new pro Brian Fortuna. Mills, late addition John Ratzenberger and NBA great Clyde Drexler had some good moments too and could probably last several weeks. And Paulina Porizkova, she's pretty -- and also reasonably graceful, dancing with season one champ Alec Mazo.

THANKS FOR PLAYING

Billy Ray Cyrus better hope that a lot of Hannah Montana fans, or people who still know the words to "Achy Breaky Heart," or something, watch Dancing with the Stars. Because he's already trotted out a mullet wig (which Karina Smirnoff wore during their routine), and where do you go from there?

Leeza Gibbons, who's made a lucrative career out of being inoffensive, was just that in her fox trot. But she was also kind of stiff and unexpressive, which led to the night's second-lowest scores.

What were your first impressions? Who's got the skills to take home that mirror ball?

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