Judges Divided: The First Elimination on DWTS
Updated: May 10, 2022
Welcome to the second week of Dancing with the Stars 2020! After meeting our contestants last week, they returned to the ballroom last Monday night with one more chance to prove themselves before the first elimination of the season…
(cover photo for this post is from the @dancingabc Instagram page)
(click on each team's name and score to view their dance clip)
Nev’s cha cha was so well executed, and a great way to start the night! It was really fun to watch, and I was impressed by Nev’s skill. He has an excellent stage presence, and I loved his big smile and sharp poses throughout the dance. Nev is a long-limbed guy, so when he fully extends his arms, it is really striking. His footwork was great, too! He has a knack for remembering his steps!
One thing that slightly annoyed me was the multiple comments the judges and Tyra made about Nev’s chest hair…at the end of the day, DWTS is a positive, uplifting, confidence-building show. However, there are definitely moments when I feel that they cross into slightly objectifying the people on the show. I’ve especially noticed this with the men.
Skai did so well last week, and she started her dance this week with confidence and a great sense of that samba rhythm. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a slip-up towards the beginning of the number. While going into a trick, Skai lost her balance and almost fell. She powered through and finished the dance strong, but I could tell she was pretty shaken up by it. The judges were very kind and encouraging, and Skai definitely has the poise and talent to bounce back after a blunder like that.
Also, can we take a second to talk about Alan’s hair?! When Skai was slipped, she very clearly grabbed Alan’s hair to right herself. For the rest of the dance, though, you could not tell it had been touched. His hair was so slicked back that it did not move an inch. I thought that was hilarious.
Once again, I will disclose that I am not a trained ballroom dancer, but it felt like there was something missing from this tango. Maybe it could have been a bit more sharp? Or maybe those laser lights were just distracting my eyes, haha.
I did still love the flair of what Derek called the “Johnny Drama.” He’s got a lot of passion, which makes him fun to watch.
First off: FOG MACHINE! No thank you!!
Now down to business: I love everything about Justina. I feel like Josh Lyman in the West Wing episode, The Supremes: “I love her. I love her mind. I love her shoes.”
For the foxtrot, her extensions were gorgeous and she had a beautiful joyful expression the whole way through. The judges loved it too, and Sasha’s celebratory jig behind Justina when she was receiving her compliments was everything.
I loved how Monica said that, for this show, “the work ethic comes easy to me” because that was exactly what I was trying to say last week when I wrote about her being a cheer coach. She articulated it much, much better.
[Side note-during Monica and Val’s rehearsal package we got another appearance from Len, giving a quick description of the jive! I appreciated the technique demonstrations that were included sporadically throughout the show last season. They describe the key features of a dance style that I had to figure out for myself over the years.]
Monica’s working hard, and her jive went decently. I loved the color scheme of the costumes and set, and I loved the youthful energy!
I loved the over-the-top theatricality of this foxtrot! AJ brought a lot of showmanship and entertainment value to the number. I didn’t pick up on that great stage presence last week, but now I totally get it. I also loved the choreography. It was a true foxtrot, and I also saw influences of more fiery, edgy dance styles like the paso doble.
I was charmed by Anne talking about her kids during the package, saying, “my first goal was not to embarrass my kids.” She went after that foxtrot with confidence and commitment, and she is definitely making her kids proud on this show!
Nelly & Daniella—Cha Cha 6/6/6
Nelly was feeling this dance, and really grooving! You could tell he needs help with his hip movements, though, especially when he was directly next to Daniella. He still brought the same great stage presence, though.
Nelly also revealed that he had a custom pair of ballroom dance shoes made to look like sneakers. At the beginning of this number, I thought “why is he wearing sneakers again??” but now I take back all of my sneaker comments, haha.
First of all, I love the song choice: This Is Me from The Greatest Showman. Second, Chrishell’s rumba went SO MUCH BETTER than her tango last week! The pace was so much more suited for her, and she was able to connect with the dance. She was clearly more comfortable this week, and was smiling beautifully the whole way through. It just goes to show that, once you do something for the first time, you realize it’s not that scary and you are less afraid to do it again.
The judges were pretty hard on Charles last week, but he approached this week with positivity and determination. His goal for this week was to improve, and he worked hard for that. He still wasn’t the best out on the ballroom floor, but I think he definitely got the improvement he wanted.
We had some fog again here, but the production team was creating a dancing-over-the-clouds aesthetic for this number, so I won’t whine about it *too* much, haha. Jesse and Sharna’s foxtrot was lovely, focused, and they looked like they were gliding across the dance floor.
Jeannie & Brandon—Cha Cha 6/6/6
Once again, Jeannie and Brandon brought a whole lot of great energy to the dance floor! Jeannie is committed to having a lot of fun and learning a lot on DWTS, and I love it!
Carole & Pasha—Viennese waltz 6/5/5
Now, this number is more in line with what Dancing with the Stars is all about. I felt like assigning a Carole Baskin a paso doble to “Eye of the Tiger” was a decision motivated by the goal to get as many YouTube clicks as possible. This week, however, she was put in a position to actually be successful.
While the song choice was a little ridiculous, the production concept was really cool. I liked the gold color scheme and the regal fanfare. The Viennese waltz is so much more suited for a brand-new dancer, and Carole did really well.
It’s always so fun when a dance is themed around a professional athlete’s sport. It’s like the producers say: Football, but make it SPARKLY!!! And then they bedazzle everything. Vernon went after the paso doble with a lot of power, but he certainly needs to work on his showface.
Kaitlyn and Artem were the last dancers of the night because Kaitlyn injured her ankle in rehearsal. It was touch-and-go for a bit, but she was finally cleared to dance. All I have to say is that her foxtrot was absolutely beautiful, and it was lovely to see her joy at being back doing something she loves.
(do not read if you are avoiding spoilers!!)
For the first elimination, the final two couples were Carole & Pasha and Charles & Emma. The judges voted 2-1 to save Carole & Pasha and eliminate Charles & Emma. I get it. The judges make this decision based on improvement and potential, and they saw more of that in Carole. I will say, though, that in week one Carole was given a hard dance that made it difficult for her to be successful, so she looked much, much better in week two. Charles Oakley wasn’t the best, but I enjoyed his attitude. I don’t know if he would have gone all the way, but I think he had more to give in this competition.
And now we are down to fourteen couples! I cannot believe we started the competition with fifteen competitors! It makes the early episodes move pretty quickly, which I enjoy. It also makes my commentary very long, haha. Next week is Disney Night! I am always excited for this theme night, because I am a huge Disney movie fan. Every season’s Disney Night motivates me not only to comment on the dance itself, but also to evaluate whether the dance is a fitting tribute to the movie it is inspired by. So stay tuned—next time you hear from me will be a whole lot of fun and Disney Magic!