Amber Riley sure brought her "A" game during her first time on the floor during Dancing With the Stars' Sept. 16 season premiere, and as the Glee star told Us Weekly, performing the cha cha with Derek Hough was as effortless as it looked on TV! "Glee is more grueling [than] DWTS. Trust me," Riley admitted after judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli gave her and Hough the night's highest score of 27 out of 30.
Hough, on the other hand, warned Riley, 27, that her opinion of the rigorous DWTS rehearsal sessions may change as the competition progresses. "Ask her again in a few weeks," the seasoned pro joked to Us. "DWTS is live and it's one take, so this is eventually going to be harder," Riley, who channeled Beyonce during her dance to "Wings" by Little Mix, later said of her new venture. "On Glee, there's cutaways, a take two . . . 11 other people distracting your bad dancing. If you forget something, they can edit it out."
Just as she did with the judges, Riley far surpassed the expectations of Hough, who helped Kellie Pickler dance her way to victory last season. "I saw right away she was really good at maintaining the things I was teaching her. She would come in the next day and have retained that information," Hough told Us. "We were able to get better and better. I'm going to whoop her a-- now!"
Appearing in the first three Glee episodes in a guest star capacity -- including the anticipated tribute to the late Cory Monteith -- Riley said seeing cast mates Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale and Ashley Fink in the audience only added to her adrenaline rush and pushed her to wow the crowd. "[Seeing them] gave me a lot of energy because my whole entire family was out there also," said Riley. "They were in front of me [while I danced]. I asked them not to sit there and they did anyway!"
Riley's scores, along with those of other DWTS celebs including Leah Remini, Snooki and Corbin Bleu, will be coupled with viewer votes and one contestant will be sent home next week.
Watch Amber Riley and Derek Hough's cha cha from Monday's DWTS premiere above now!