The competition is underway on Dancing with the Stars season 24, and tonight one couple becomes the first casualty in the battle for the Mirror Ball. The leaderboard and common sense point to Chris Kattan as the one going home tonight, but anything is possible in the ballroom.
The bigger news is that one pro is definitely out tonight: Maks. An injury has sidelined him for now, with troupe member Alan Bersten filling in as Heather’s partner tonight and possibly for a few weeks. That’s a role he’s quite familiar with as Alan also filled in for Mark Ballas in the second week of season 22.
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Maks is a no-show for the introductions and Gleb is dressed like a cop. Given his history, I’m assuming he’s a stripper cop like on Arrested Development.
Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev: Cha-Cha-Cha
Artem is excited to have a partner who can actually win for once. Nancy really doesn’t like it when Artem compliments her because she doesn’t believe it when people say good things about her. She’d probably hate me writing this, but she’s very sexy and her legs are fantastic. She needs to work on her fluidity when it comes to the transitions as well as her control. The judges liked it overall but noted a few stumbles throughout. Carrie Ann Inaba is probably right that the main problem is Nancy’s nerves.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
She stays the same as last week.
Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko: Foxtrot
These two aren’t going to change anything and will still be sexy despite Len Goodman’s objections. They are both extremely confident and refuse to apologize for being sexy. It’s a pretty strong routine without being too raunchy. I like the dancing with her lines and content, but I feel like the concept is forcing the sexiness down our throats. The premise is basically just Erika using sex appeal to get out of a speeding ticket.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
She’s up from all 6s, which is a big step in the right direction.
Charo and Keo Motsepe: Paso Doble
The passion of this routine reminds Charo of the hardships of her past and her parents’ tragedy. She’s all about representing Spain. She looks lost from the start and her performance gets swallowed by her giant puffy red dress. She barely stomps her feet and there’s little to no real Paso content. Like last week, the post-dance critique is a million times more entertaining because Charo is insane. The judges claim to love her passion.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+7+6=25
Wow, that’s a 4-point increase but Charo is still angry and tries to run down the stairs to attack the judges. I can’t tell if it’s a joke or if she’s genuinely crazy.
Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd: Foxtrot
Vanessa, the Bachelor’s current (and probably temporary) fiancee is at rehearsal and she might be getting some ideas when Peta brings her baby. Nick’s dancing reminds me a lot of Nancy. There are moments where he’s great and shows real promise with his lines, but then he stalls and overthinks at other times. Carrie Ann wants him to breathe and relax while Len found it too hectic and perhaps too difficult for Peta. I think everyone judge said “Relax” to Nick, which says it all.
Judges’ Scores: 7+5+7+6=25
Wow, that’s all over the place, but he’s still up a point from last week.
Heather Morris and Alan Bersten: Jive
Heather and Maks love the high-energy style, but during the rehearsal, he hurts his calf and screams out in pain when it happens. He’s out this week, so Alan takes over. It’s definitely fast and even includes a hip-hop breakdown in the middle where Heather is right in her comfort zone. Len liked the Jive, but he didn’t like the hip-hop part at all and thought it was a waste of his time. I might actually agree that her dance background is becoming a liability because Heather needs to transform into the ballroom and she’s not doing that with this routine. The judges are all over the place, but I think Maks sitting out may have contributed to some changes in the choreography and a reduced role for Alan.
Judges’ Scores: 8+6+8+8=30
Len is especially cranky tonight and I love it.
Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess: Viennese Waltz
Bonner likes this style because it reminds him of the Texas Two-Step. The routine is all about romance. The dancing is fine, but there’s a little too much Contemporary and not enough Waltz for me. But it’s all about the passion and they definitely have it. It’s an extremely simple routine that is designed to drive fans to want these two hotties to hook up. Carrie Ann calls it “elegant and refined,” plus “poetry in motion.” Len found it too timid and personal.
Judges’ Scores: 8+6+8+7=29
He’s up 7 points from last week. That’s a big swing.
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber: Cha-Cha-Cha
Sasha is pushing very hard to make Simone sexy. Their routine is on fire and if it wasn’t clear last week, these two just reminded us that they are the obvious frontrunners this season. It was sexy with tons of athleticism, but a little out of sync.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+8=29
The problem with being on top in week 1 is that there’s nowhere to go but down. She’s the first star to get lower scores than last week.
Chris Kattan and Witney Carson: Jazz
Chris gets very emotional because his back surgery means he can’t be a physical comedian anymore. But he’s just going to have fun. And I hope he’s enjoying it because I’m not. It’s another silly, ridiculous routine where he’s a zany old-time director with Witney as his star. There’s very little actual dance content (but more than last week). The judges like that he tried his best.
Judges’ Scores: 6+5+6+5=22
He’s up 5 points, but still way behind the pack.
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy: Cha-Cha-Cha
She just got off a flight from Japan earlier today because of her Fifth Harmony world tour. Is it just me or is casting someone with such a rigorous schedule seem like a terrible idea that is very easy to avoid? They do a very good job, but like Heather, it feels like they’re just playing to her strengths and letting her do a lot of stuff that looks like it could be choreography from her girl group. The judges love it.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32
She’s up 5 points and she’s heading off to China tonight. Val claims that they drank vampire blood, but he meant snake venom.
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater: Viennese Waltz
He gets emotional and vulnerable over a bad break-up where he bought an engagement ring, but then things turned sour. Wow, this is a fantastic routine, especially when compared to the swagger from last week. This is something completely different, more emotional and raw, with an easy sensuality and passion. He also moves very strongly with great lines and extensions. This routine confirms that he’s a huge threat. The judges are impressed and in awe.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32
He’s only up 1 point, but that’s still very impressive.
Mr. T and Kym Johnson: Paso Doble
He knows he deserved those bad scores last week, which makes me like him. He’s all about being a fighter and he has such a positive attitude. Let’s be honest, 90% of this routine is just Mr. T standing there while Kym dances around him. It’s fun to see them in a boxing ring dancing to “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky, but there just isn’t a whole lot there. Carrie Ann praises him for hitting every step. Yeah, all five of them.
Judges’ Scores: 6+5+6+5=22
That’s only a 2 point increase. He’s not mad about the scores. Wow, compare that to Charo, who was homicidal over a 7.
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold: Cha-Cha-Cha
David is like a kid again, dancing to “Bust a Move” by Young MC. He’s a child of the ’90s, back when Witney wasn’t even alive yet. This guy certainly has a Bill Engvall-style charm. It’s extremely silly, but not necessarily bad. It’s really fun and David does prove that he’s pretty light on his feet. It’s kind of like bad dancing on purpose, but the concept detracted from the actual content.
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+7+7=27
So he and Simone are the only stars to do worse tonight than they did in week 1.
And now that the dancing is done, it’s time to eliminate someone.
The first couple IN JEOPARDY is…Chris and Witney!
The second couple IN JEOPARDY is…Charo and Keo!
Everyone else is safe.
Chris Kattan and Witney Carson ARE ELIMINATED!
Yeah, no surprise at all. He just wasn’t very good and Witney continues her downward trajectory. After she won with Alfonso Ribeiro in season 19 she made it to fifth and fourth the next two seasons, but then dropped to eighth with Von Miller, 10th with Vanilla Ice, and now 12th.
32: Normani Kordei, Rashad Jennings
30: Heather Morris
29: Bonner Bolton, Simone Biles
28: Nancy Kerrigan, Erika Jayne
27: David Ross
25: Charo, Nick Viall
22: Mr. T
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)