June 27, 2010: Actor J.R. Martínez arrives at the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards held at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nev. (2010 Getty Images)
J.R. Martínez waltzed his way into the judges hearts as he owned the ballroom with partner Karina Smirnoff on the 13th season premiere of Dancing with the Stars Monday night.
The show kicked off at 7pm on ABC, from Los Angeles, Calif.
With swift moves and confidence Martínez swayed Smirnoff to and fro putting the former Army veteran and his partner in the lead as one of the top contenders striving to win the coveted Mirror Ball trophy.
"For me J.R. Stands for "Just Right" said DWTS judge Len Goodman. “The best performances of the night, you were right up there."
Goodman’s fellow judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba agreed.
"[You were] right on top tonight, Tonioli said. "I can't wait to see the Latin, because you did very, very well in the waltz.”
“You're able to bring emotional quality to your dance,” added Inaba. “"I was absolutely touched by your performance.”
Martínez, a former infantry man who in Iraq suffered severe burns while on deployment, endured 32 surgeries in 34 months. He is known for his acting skills on the popular soap opera All My Children.
The couple closed the night with a 22 point lead and are tied with competitors Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani's whose waltz also caught the judges’ eyes.
Other notable contestants include Chaz Bono, formerly known as Chastity Bono—the first transsexual contestant of the show.
Bono impressed the judges, especially Goodman with his “good footwork” and “right attitude.”
Cher’s son and dance partner earned a solid 17 points for strutting their stuff with a good attitude
“I had no idea you were so cuddly and cute,” Tonioli wailed. “I think people have been waiting all night to see you, Chaz,” Inaba said. “You did not disappoint!"
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