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Needham's Raisman debuts with 21 points on ABC's 'Dancing'

Posted by Emily Wright  March 19, 2013 09:22 AM

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Aly Raisman is no stranger to waiting for her scores. The Olympic medalist dove back into that familiar routine during last night's season 16 premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" on ABC, where she danced a cha cha with partner Mark Ballas. The dance earned the couple a combined score of 21 from judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba.

The judges praised Raisman's first dance to One Direction's "Live Like We're Young," but recommended that she step out of her comfort zone and straighten her legs. "I feel like that was a little safe for you," Inaba said. "You can push it just a little more."

Raisman's 21 tied her for the second most points awarded in the premiere with fellow Olympian Dorothy Hamill and partner Tristan McManus, and country singer Kellie Pickler and partner Derek Hough.

The top-scorers of the night were Disney starlet Zendaya Coleman and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, the pro who made it to the finals of last season's "All Star" shows, then with partner Kelly Monaca. Coleman and Chmerkovskiy wrangled 24 points from the judges for a contemporary routine. "It’s so inspiring to see such a young girl doing so well, and such wonderful choreography," Toniloli said of the dance (video below).

Here is a full list of the scores from last night's episode:

Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy: 24
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: 21
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: 21
Dorothy Hamill and Tristan MacManus: 21
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson: 20
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: 20
Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd: 19
Victor Ortiz and Lindsey Arnold: 18
Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko: 18
Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani: 18
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess: 17
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke: 12

What did you think of the show? Were you impressed with Raisman? Check out what Twitter users thought of her in our live blog or contribute to the conversation in the comments!

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Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.

Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.

Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.

Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.

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