NeNe Leakes made her debut last night on Dancing With the Stars—and it looks as if she's bringing some fierce competition.
For the premiere episode, NeNe and her partner Tony Dovolani showed off their skills with a cha-cha dance and the pair are making a good impression with the judges. How'd they score? A respectable 21 points. Check out her performance:
It wasn't the highest score of the night, however. Olympic ice-dancer Charlie White earned a 27 (the highest score for a contestant in a premiere episode ever!) while Danica McKellar and partner Val Chmerkovskiy got 24 points. Also scoring 24: Olympian Meryl Davis (dancing with Val's brother Maksim) and Derek Hough and Amy Purdy.
That's not to say NeNe (who earned the nickname "Sister Sassy" from Bruno Tonioli) should sweat getting thrown off the show. Billy Dee Williams earned the lowest numbers for the night (15 points) while Diana Nyad (18 points) and Sean Avery (20) fared slightly better.
Even if NeNe doesn't take home the gold, she may have another reason to celebrate her DWTS run. She says she's trying to shed some pounds from all that dancing.
"I'm hoping to lose 20 pounds and get back in shape from being sick," she tells E!. (Last year, NeNe was admitted to the hospital for blood clots.) "All these other contestants—especially the athletes—to me are great competitors, they understand competitions, and they have the endurance. A lot of them are young and they work out. I don't work out but that's one of the reasons to join the show."
But she's definitely planning to bring her A-Game. "Charlie and Meryl, I'm coming for ya!" she says. "I solemnly swear…I want to step out there and do the best I can do. If my best takes me all the way then that's great, if it just takes me part of the way, then I'll accept that too. I just want to know that I gave my best."
Check out NeNe backstage at DWTS with her partner, Tony (courtesy of People magazine).
What did you think of NeNe's Dancing With the Stars debut? Tell us in the comments.