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Chaz Bono Gets High Marks in First Episode of 'Dancing With the Stars'

(ABC)

Chaz Bono, the transgender son of Cher, earned rave reviews from the judges and competitors for his ballroom debut on “Dancing with the Stars."

“I think there is a really good possibility [Chaz will win] because he has got so much heart,” cable news host and fellow contestant Nancy Grace said Monday night shortly after stepping off the hardwood. “He smoked it.”

Bono, 42, performed the Cha Cha with partner Lacey Schwimmer and tied for eighth place with “Queer Eye” presenter Carson Kressley.

All eyes were on Bono, who stirred up a huge controversy when it was announced last month that he would be on this year’s edition of the show.

People wondered whether the man born Chastity Bono and who underwent a sex-change operation two years ago would have the footwork to compete or just be an oddity who would make an early exit.

But it appears Chaz is in it to win it. “Great, great debut,” judge Bruno Tonioli raved. “You should be proud.”

Judge Len Goodman said the performance -- set to “Dancing in the Streets” -- was “right on time,” and featured “good footwork.”

“I think Chaz did great,” Kressley said after the show. “I think you always wonder about people who are a little bit heavier or older -- if their bodies can handle it. I am not overweight, and my knees are killing me."

“I think Chaz did great,” soap star J.R. Martinez said. “What everyone was saying could have broken him down.”

Last week, the American Family Association urged viewers to boycott the show. “This is going to be very confusing for children and [Bono] should not be included,” a spokesman said.

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