Monday's debut of the all-star edition of Dancing with the Stars brought some familiar faces back to our TV screens—none of which was more welcome than that of Shawn Johnson.
And as the former Olympic gold medalist proved with her opening number on Monday's premiere, she's still the best bet to take home the Mirror Ball trophy in the end—just like she was in Season 8.
Paired with pro Derek Hough, Johnson danced a fox trot that earned largely positive reviews from the judging panel. Even if they didn't give her perfect scores all around, all three of the judges had good things to say.
Per the Examiner's Jane Lasky, Len Goodman's and Bruno Tanioli's only complaints were that the number didn't completely resemble a real fox trot at times, but Carrie Ann Inaba insisted that the routine was "what the all-star season is all about."
And if that's the case, Johnson is in luck: She was the runaway favorite when she took home the show's top honors in 2009. The fans dialed in for her then, and they certainly will now, despite the fact that Johnson is a bit further removed from her exhilarating Olympic campaign.
In fact, according to the Des Moines Register's Sarah Dose, another run on the hit ABC show is precisely what Johnson needed when the producers came calling. Ever since retiring from gymnastics, there's been a hole in her life where competing used to be—so there's no better time for her to be vying for the DWTS all-star crown against the likes of Apolo Ohno, Kirstie Alley and Pamela Anderson.
Johnson told Dose:
I kind of felt like I was at a low. Like, "What now?" I felt like it was a chance to compete at something again. I don’t know, it’s just really exciting to me.
From what we could see on Monday, though, the lack of training hasn't hindered her at all.
Back in Season 8, Johnson won when she was partnered with Mark Ballas. As long as those fans keep voting for her—along with her 328,000 Twitter followers—she is assured of being the toughest competition any other contender will face this season.
Even if her fox trot doesn't really look all that much like a fox trot.
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