updated 03/18/2013 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/18/2013 AT 10:45 PM ET
Will the youngest competitor ever on Dancing with the Stars end up being the best?
The show returned for season 16 Monday night, and there were some thrilling surprises, relieved celebrations and disappointing scores handed out during the two-hour premiere.
Keep reading for a full report. Spoilers ahead!
Sixteen-year-old actress Zendaya of Disney Channel’s Shake It Up proved herself in the ballroom with a stunning contemporary dance that had her leaping off the judges’ table and into their hearts. She and partner Val Chmerkovskiy earned the night’s biggest score of 24 points to kick off the season.
“Amazing!” said judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “You are a fantastic dancer with a maturity that is unexpected out of a 16-year-old.”
At the other end of the spectrum was comic D.L. Hughley, who prepared by smoking a quick cigar, then proceeded to choke on the dance floor.
He received just 12 points and withering criticism from the judges, including Bruno Tonioli, who said: “You terminated the cha cha cha.”