Welcome back, mirror ball lovers! We trust you have moved beyond the shock and awe of Sean Spicer’s tweet suggesting the Dancing With the Stars judges need more Christ in their lives. Only then can they know the difference between a so-so salsa and a caliente one!
Before we raise the curtains on the first elimination of season 28, a shout-out to the DWTS executive producers for paying tribute to dearly departed contestants Valerie Harper and Florence Henderson, who now have a permanent place in the ballroom with their own Hall of Fame stars (see below). “Although Dancing With the Stars is a competition show, in reality, we are a big close family whose heart has broken over the loss of season 17 bright light Valerie Harper,” co-executive producer Deena Katz tells EW. “She will be forever in our hearts as well as in our ballroom, as we will be installing a permanent star on our ballroom floor in Valerie’s memory.”
Onto the show!
Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd. The baller opened up about the 12 strokes and six heart attacks he suffered after his “accident” in Las Vegas. Perfect walk-up to the salsa, right? “I thought you were more relaxed,” Tonioli said. “I can see a progression. A small step in the right direction.” “It’s difficult for you. You are a very tall guy,” Goodman said. “Peta, you are doing a fantastic job … you’ve got a ways to go, but you are on the right track.” Were those tears, Lamar? Score: 12 out of 30.
Mary Wilson and Brandon Armstrong. All those cha-cha steps were a bit too much for mama Supreme, but boy did she rock the heck out of that white fringe dress. “You own the room when you come out,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said. “There were a lot of little missteps but the way you performed it in your face, you couldn’t tell.” “Straighten your legs a bit more,” added judge Len Goodman, which threw Wilson a bit because she thought he said “spread your legs.” Gotta love this family-hour programming! Score: 15 out of 30
Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke. The NFL player could use at least 40 more visits to the indoor skydiving tube but he sure had a good time — with his gorgeous partner. “You are so enjoyable to watch,” Inaba said. “However, there were tons of mistakes. It was so fast, it was hard to get back on.” “It was flat-footed,” harrumphed Goodman. “You went wrong numerous times.” Score: 15 out of 30
Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold. Spicer canvassed the neighborhood with placards and bumper stickers to drum up votes for his birthday tango. “Better than last week,” mumbled Goodman. Added Inaba, “You were working as a pair.” Score: 16 out of 20
Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy. The model was intimidated to rumba with her sexy partner and it showed. She was all legs and no libido. “You are made for this dance but your intention has to be much, much stronger,” said judge Bruno Tonioli. “What you are lacking is consistency,” Inaba said. “You have to set the tone.” Score: 18 out of 20
Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko. Alaina tried to channel her 10-year-old self into her paso doble because, apparently, her younger self could pull off a bodysuit and splits! “Looks like it felt amazing for you!” said Inaba. “What would your mama think about this?” said Tonioli. “Nasty suits you! It was a strong and focused performance.” Score: 19 out of 30
Karamo and Jenna Johnson. Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” helped put some speed in his quickstep but despite a warning from his future mom-in-law Carol, Goodman was not satisfied. “Absolute lack of content,” he said. Tonioli and Inaba disagreed. Score: 19 out of 30
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber. The singer admitted she used to be bullied for her footwork on Fifth Harmony, so she tried to prove her naysayers wrong with an alluring Viennese waltz — assuming you could see it. Why so dark, DWTS lighting people?! “You can dance!” exclaimed Tonioli. “It was a compelling, heartfelt performance. Next up: a hug from Inaba! “To the haters, boo-ya!” she said. Score: 20 out of 30
James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater. After revealing he danced the cha-cha in Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 because he secretly wanted to be on DWTS, the actor got to do it for real on Monday — adding in an impressive split jump (did he actually touch his toes?) and a slide across the stage. He got to go first for the night, too! “Another solid performance,” said Goodman. “James knows how to open big!” added Tonioli. Too bad no one mentioned the salmon-colored velvet jacket that he wore to the Emmys on Sunday. Ooh la la. Score: 20 out of 30
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson. The actor’s dad had brain surgery so it’s been a tough week for Mitchell, but his samba didn’t show it. “Plenty of recognizable steps,” Goodman said. “You’ve got a nice easy action about you.” “It was never forced,” said Tonioli. “Very, very musical.” Score: 20 out of 30
Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov. The former Office star got rave reviews for foxtrotting to “Fly Me to the Moon.” “That was amazing,” said Inaba. “How refreshing,” Goodman said. “I like the music. I like the routine.” Note to her competition: old school moves and tunes goes over well with Goodman. Score: 21 out of 30
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten. The bachelorette copped to a childhood of dance lessons — and had the pictures to show for it. Her Viennese waltz, which was the last performance of the night, definitely showed it, too. “You whisked me away to another world, only with the movement!” said Inaba. “Were you holding out on us last week?” “You had lovely musicality through your arms,” Goodman said. “Best dance of the night.” Score: 24 out of 30
And the first eliminated dancer was…Mary Wilson! For the first time in the show’s history, the judges made made the final decision on who would go home after the live vote. On Monday, it came down to Wilson and Lewis. Going forward, every Monday night will feature the live vote combined with the judges’ score, tabulated in real time. After the bottom two are announced, Goodman, Tonioli and Inaba get the last word.
Not ready to stop talking about DWTS? Join me and Patrick Gomez as we interview Katz Tuesday on the latest edition of “Eye on the Ball,” only on Sirius XM On Demand!
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