Dancing With the Stars recap: The First Cut Is the Deepest
We meet the unlucky celeb with the honor of being season 24's first eliminated star.
Bad news, Dancing friends: It’s only week two of season 24, and Maks Chmerkovskiy has been sidelined with an extremely painful looking calf injury. The word is still out on how long Maks will be unable to dance, but all the fingers crossed that it’s a very short amount of time.
Not all is lost, though: America’s Dad Tom Bergeron has decided that DWTS fans should now be called “Mirror Ballers,” and because it’s Tom, it shall be so. That’s good news, right?
Before you get too overwhelmed with the extreme ups and downs of this show, let’s get to the dancing. It’s all leading up to the dreaded first elimination of the season. Hey man, someone’s got to be first… and it probably won’t be Simone Biles.
Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev
Cha Cha, “No Rights, No Wrongs” by Jess Glynne
It’s so nice when a dancetestant loves being on the show—and you guys, Nancy loves being on DWTS. And Artem loves that she loves it. And I love that Artem loves that… okay, you get it. You know what Nancy doesn’t love though? Compliments. Artem tells her she looks good during rehearsals and she leaves crying. GIRL. Pull it together. Anyway, Nancy and Artem are tackling a cha cha, and it’s time to see if the classy lady can shake things up. And she can! Sort of! Nancy and Artem still need to find their connection on the floor, and Artem’s last minute wardrobe malfunction doesn’t help things, but she’s much spicier than expected. And she doesn’t cry when the judges compliment her. The day is Nancy’s!
Judges’ Score: 28/40
Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko
Foxtrot, “Bad Intentions” by Niykee Heaton
Erika got a lot of flack from the judges for being too raunchy in her last routine, but Erika Jayne won’t apologize for being who she is. Both she and Gleb decide that they aren’t backing down on showcasing Erika’s personality. She’s a confident woman! Which, I guess is what leads us to one of the weirder DWTS routine concepts in which Erika gets pulled over by Officer Sexy and… foxtrots her way out of a speeding ticket? I don’t know, you guys, I don’t make the routines up, I just report back what I see. The judges praise Erika’s nice, elongated lines and the balance of her big personality with graceful foxtrot content. So, we’re getting somewhere with these two!
Judges’ Score: 28/40
Charo and Keo Motsepe
Paso Doblé, “España Cani” by Charo
Bruno calls Charo a “tornado of red taffeta” and no descriptor has ever been so dead on. Charo is excited for the paso this week — it’s a dance style that, much like Charo herself, expresses the passion and drama of Spain. It’s a dance she learned as a little girl with her mother, and the usual fireball of a woman gets a little teared up talking about it. It’s a softer side of Charo that lasts all of thirty seconds. Once the dance starts, Charo is just living it. Which, of course, means she’s a little all over the place and ahead of Keo for most of the routine. As expected, the judges love the energy and attitude but want more control in movement. Meanwhile, Bruno continues to fear for his personal safety.
Judges’ Score: 25/40
Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd
Foxtrot, “Love Me Now” by John Legend
Admittedly, I did not watch The Bachelor, so my reference point for Mr. Viall might be different from others, but I have to say, he’s much better than I was expecting (fearing?). In rehearsals, he’s nervous about dancing something as beautiful as the foxtrot, and he’s taking it very seriously. Some other stuff might happen during rehearsals, but I’m distracted by the cute monster that is BABY SHAI CHMERKOVSKIY. Put that baby on judges’s panel! Speaking of the judges, they can see Nick’s improved, but continue to tell him he needs to relax, breathe, and be calmer in his movements (Len especially goes to town on the pair). Because in the history of the world, telling someone repeatedly to calm down always works.
Judges’ Score: 25/40
NEXT: Say it ain’t so, Maks!
Heather Morris and Alan Bersten
Jive, “Grown” by Little Mix
There’s a little poetic injustice to the fact that the judges were bowled over by the partnership of Heather and Maks during their Viennese waltz (which they were totally underscored for, BTW), and now, due to what looks like a painful injury Maks sustains in rehearsal, that partnership might be put in jeopardy. Alan is great, but Heather and Maks had such potential! It’s a shame he sits out this jive, because it is a whole lot of fun. He had to have known Len would hate the little hip-hop interlude, but you can’t please everyone. The other judges love the kicky routine, but Len calls it “a waste,” and honestly, I’m worried about Len being this curmudgeonly this early on in the season.
Judges’ Score: 30/40
Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess
Viennese Waltz, “Unlove You” by Jennifer Nettles
Like, WE GET IT. Sharna and Bonner are both single and hot. Enough with the close ups of them holding hands, DWTS. It makes everyone uncomfortable. Focus on the sweetness, please! Bonner is excited to do an elegant Viennese waltz because it reminds him of the Texas two-step. After their gorgeous routine (Sharna’s dress, please and thank you), he dedicates the number to his uncle who is in a wheelchair after an accident — and then they cut to Bonner’s grandmother IN TEARS. So, obviously, I am also in tears. Anyway, Julianne and Carrie Ann commend the pair for executing simple choreography expertly. Bonner’s posture and frame is a highlight. Less is more, people. In both dance and showmance.
Judges’ Score: 29/40
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber
Cha Cha, “Burning Up” by Jessie J feat. 2 Chainz
There comes a time in every young gymnast-who-is-performing-on-Dancing-With-the-Stars’ life that she must shed her skin of perfection and grace and get down with her bad self. Yes, that’s right; it’s Simone’s turn to learn how to be sexy via a choreographed dance routine. Our little girl is becoming a woman! The girl looks hot during her cha cha, but she still performs with that gymnast smile. Julianne echoes what Sasha was telling his partner during rehearsals: Simone needs to do more than just perform the steps, she needs to feel them. Once she gets the character and performance bit down, Simone will be a force. When in doubt, more floor humping.
Judges’ Score: 29/40
Chris Kattan and Witney Carson
Jazz, “Hey Ya!” by Outkast
When we started this whole thing, I had no idea Chris Kattan would be making me cry on the regular. He tells Witney about breaking his neck 14 years ago, and the subsequent surgeries he’s had to endure, as well as the pain of not being able to do the physical comedy he was once known for. It brings Witney to tears. She thinks her partner is brave and wonderful, and so does every other person in the ballroom. Their jazz routine plays up the comedy and it is definitely entertaining. Chris knows he’s not the best dancer, but he’s here to have fun. The judges note his improvement over last week, but the most moving moment is when Chris says he finally feels welcome in the ballroom. Dear Lord, Chis Kattan with the tearjerker interviews!
Judges’ Score: 22/40
NEXT: The magical dance benefits of jet lag and snake venom
Normani Kordei and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Cha Cha, “Give Me Your Love” by Sigala feat. John Newman and Nile Rodgers
Normani and Val have just arrived from Japan, where Fifth Harmony is on tour, to grace us with their dance moves. Seriously, after even a two-hour flight I look like I was shot out of a garbage chute, so I commend Normani for dancing her face off while suffering from severe jet lag. The judges wanted Normani and Val to work on their chemistry, and work on it they did. There’s much more partnering in this cha cha routine, and the two sparkle together. Carrie Ann tells Normani she has star power and that the routine showcased her power, strength, and sexiness. Val tells us that the two of them drank snake venom… do with that what you will.
Judges’ Score: 32/40
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater
Viennese Waltz, “Suffer” by Charlie Puth
THESE TWO. Emma and Rashad are quickly becoming my favorite pair to watch. And not just because they’re so easy to look at. Rashad is putting a lot of effort into getting his Viennese waltz down right and, thanks to a little prodding from Emma, tells us a sad story about a tough breakup… AS IF WE COULDN’T LOVE HIM ANY MORE. He uses those feelings in the dance, and, well, Bruno didn’t know a Viennese waltz could be so steamy. Carrie Ann loves the connection between Rashad and Emma (YES, GIRL), and Julianne applauds Rashad for truly leading his partner. He looks like he could scoop Emma up like a baby, but in the hottest way possible. I guess that’s all you need for a quality waltz. #TheMoreYouKnow
Judges’ Score: 32/40
Mr. T and Kym Herjavec
Paso Doblé, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
The pair’s first dance was all about The A-Team; for their paso they take on Rocky 3. Squeezing out Mr. T’s claims to fame for all their worth, I guess. In all seriousness, Mr. T seems like a very sweet man, and, as Kym points out, he’s taking the entire DWTS process to heart. He wants to perform the best that he can. But it’s tough to take on a boxing-themed routine and not conjure up memories of Mark Ballas and Paige VanZant performing an unreal paso in the UFC Octagon. Sorry, Mr. T! He’s definitely improved from his first dance though, and the judges see it, too. They note his intensity and focus but want bigger movements from the big guy.
Judges’ Score: 22/40
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold
Cha Cha, “Bust A Move” by Young MC
The best part about David and Lindsay’s partnership is, hands down, their rehearsal packages. They look like they’re having the best time together, and even though David isn’t the best dancer, he is certainly the most entertaining. Also, his sprinkler was great and Lindsay not incorporating it into their ’90s-themed cha cha is a huge misstep. Though their costumes are amazing, the routine is frantic. Maybe all David’s lip synching got in the way? The judges love the charisma and energy because they aren’t robots, but David needs to start working on technique. Footwork is just as important as performance value, Bruno reminds the couple. Look at Bruno, being the task master all of a sudden!
Judges’ Score: 27/40
Alas, all the best parties end with some type of casting out of the dead weight, so I’m told, and Dancing With the Stars is no different. The first elimination is always tough to swallow since most people haven’t been given a ton of time to really show us their stuff. Oh well, life’s hard. Get over it. And after announcing that Chris and Witney and Charo and Keo are in jeopardy, Tom and Erin have to send Chris and Witney home. Chris seems sad and disgruntled. Oh, Mango! You will be missed!