Dancing with the Stars 29 Premiere Recap: Live Blog and Videos

Hey Everyone :)

Welcome to the season twenty-nine premiere of Dancing with the Stars. I hope everyone finds themselves healthy and in good spirits. I am definitely looking forward to a little escapism these days and our favorite little cheesy dancing show is just the ticket. First things first- this season will look and feel really different from what we are all used to.

Our wonderful hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews are out, having been fired and replaced by new host (and producer) Tyra Banks. I was not a happy camper when this news was announced. To me, letting Tom go is the same as if American Idol let Ryan Seacrest go. This show without the humor and professionalism of Tom just seems wrong. But we shall see how Tyra juggles everything. Her time on America’s Got Talent was meh, to say the least.

Because of the pandemic, lots of other changes have been made. Since it is next to impossible for Len Goodman to travel back and forth to judge, current World Of Dance judge and multiple time DWTS champion Derek Hough will replace him this season. That’s a positive. Derek knows exactly what it takes to do this show and will be fair and helpful with his critiques. He should provide a nice balance to Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, who are both returning.

As far as the professional dancers are concerned, ten will return from last season, in addition to Sharna, Artem, and Keo. Daniella Karagach and Britt Stewart have graduated to becoming pros and will join the cast. Best friends Witney and Lindsay are both pregnant and will not be dancing this season. Much luck and love to them. We will find out the official partnerships tonight right before each pair competes.

This season will have many COVID-19 precautions being implemented. The ballroom will not have a live audience or huge band, the judges will be further apart from one another, and you won’t be seeing extra dancers, troupe members, or major props in any performances. It is very much scaled down so that the safety of everyone remains the top priority.

For this evening’s first performances, the pairs are tasked to dance from a wide range of styles- cha-cha-cha, foxtrot, jive, paso doble, quickstep, salsa, and tango. There will NOT be an elimination tonight. Next Tuesday (yes, Tuesday next week as opposed to Monday), the contestants will all perform for a second time. Two weeks of judges scores and audience votes will determine who will be eliminated first from the competition.

That’s a lot of information I know. It seems almost like a reboot of the show. Let’s hope it remains as fun and entertaining as it has in the past. This year’s crop of celebrities are quite good in terms of name recognition. So if they can actually dance well, we may have a very competitive season on our hands. Let’s get this started…

After a pre-taped opening, Tyra welcomes us to the show. She introduces the cast. And away we go…

Tyra has a quick chat with the three judges and explains some of the pandemic precautions the show has taken this season.

AJ McLean & Cheryl – Jive
Not bad for doing a jive for the first time. Okay, so he nearly fell at the beginning jumping into the ballroom. But, let’s give him a pass on that. Jive is not an easy dance to do first out and he pretty much kept in step with Cheryl. If he gets jive again down the road, some better kicks and flicks would be appreciated and a little more steadiness on his feet. But all in all, a success for week one without a doubt.

Derek says it was a great start. He wanted a little more bounce. Bruno says it was powerful and strong. He wants him to polish the kicks and flicks. Carrie Ann enjoyed starting the season with a bang. She wants him to dance a little more out- be bigger than ever.
Carrie Ann- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 18/30

Chrishell Stause & Gleb – Tango
Nice! I totally appreciate the frame work there. Good on Gleb for teaching that right off the top. I would imagine a bit of nerves caused some unsteadiness but it was a decent tango that was choreographed well. I hope Gleb keeps the sexual choreo down this season and concentrates on the dancing. Eh, who am I kidding? LOL. Good start for Chrishell.

Bruno says we are a long way before closing the deal. He says she went wrong, lost her footing, and her posture was questionable at times. Carrie Ann sees potential. She feels she got knocked off her feet early on. Derek says she is pigeon toed and everything is inward. He wants her to start from the ground up.
Carrie Ann- 4, Derek- 5, Bruno- 4 = 13/30

*Yikes, those fours were a bit unnecessary. They were quite hard on her I must say.

Vernon Davis & Peta – Foxtrot
Okay, so Vernon is gonna have to get a bit more relaxed and less stiff. Peta carried the heavy weight in that dance. A lot of clunky movement from Vernon. Nice simplistic choreography but he needs some work. I think the fact that he is so tall poses a problem that Peta is going to have to work on.

Carrie Ann says he has a stage presence. She tells him he has a little to learn. And LIFT POLICE. Here we go. She is deducting a point. Derek calls him smooth. He tells him to watch his extended arm. Bruno enjoyed the chemistry. He agrees it wasn’t all perfect but he attempted rise and fall.
Carrie Ann- 5, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 17/30

Anne Heche & Keo – Cha-Cha-Cha
Well, you can tell dancing doesn’t come naturally to Anne. It all looks a little robotic. She did better than I had anticipated though. No glaring mistakes with the choreography. It just needs to be fine tuned from start to finish and she needs to look more like a dancer and less like an actress playing a dancer.

Derek says Anne makes him smile. He liked how clean it was but she has to finish her moves before moving on to the next. Bruno wants more hip action. Carrie Ann loves the strength. She calls her a star.
Carrie Ann- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 18/30

Jeannie Mai & Brandon – Salsa
GEEZ Brandon, why not throw more into that routine? That was…a lot. Quite a bit to ask of a first time dancer in week one. But gotta say, Jeannie handled it quite decently. It could be more crisp in parts but really, there was about four thousand things being asked of her there.

Bruno loved the spirit of the dance. He wants her foot placement to be better and watch her balance. Carrie Ann says she lit the room up. She tells her to even things out a bit though. Derek cautions her on the turns- work on them.
Carrie Ann- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 18/30

Jesse Metcalfe & Sharna – Quickstep
Why does he look so damn angry? LOL. It was a quality quickstep. Quickstep is also a hard dance to expect someone to do first and he handled that well. Nice footwork around the floor and good energy. I just wish he didn’t look like someone just stole his dog. Quickstep is lively, fun, and…. dare I say, happy.

Carrie Ann called it very passionate. She tells him he needs to tame things a bit. She want him to watch his posture. Derek says it was a great first dance. He tells him to put his shoulders down in frame. Bruno says he did well for week one.
Carrie Ann- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 18/30

Skai Jackson & Alan – Tango
This girl has a load of potential. She looks to definitely have some natural dancing ability. That was a tango done in week one as if this was week four or so. Very good footwork, nice posture, and some great kicks. I thoroughly enjoyed that and was impressed. A definite one to watch going forward.

Derek marvels at the split. He loved how clean it was but wanted more bend in the legs. Bruno says the sky is the limit (haha). He loved the mature performance- but agrees with Derek on the legs. Carrie Ann thought she coped with the height difference so well.
Carrie Ann- 7, Derek- 7, Bruno- 7 = 21/30

Kaitlyn Bristowe & Artem – Cha-Cha-Cha
That was really strong. The best cha-cha-cha of the evening so far. My only critique is in speed because at times, it was going just a tad slower than it should. But Kait has the moves and the natural ability to be another one to watch in this competition. And it is great to have Artem back. He was missed.

Bruno compliments the foot placement. He wants some sharper finishes at times but he loved it. Carrie Ann wants her to work on the pointing of her feet. Derek calls it a great first dance. He feels it was a little safe- more bite and attack.
Carrie Ann- 6, Derek- 7, Bruno- 7 = 20/30

Nev Schulman & Jenna – Foxtrot
Aww. That made me smile. That was so cute and Nev comes off as a real gentleman. I have to say- the foxtrot was actually better than I anticipated it was going to be. Some really nice turns and elegant choreography by Jenna. I am impressed.

Carrie Ann calls it uplifting. She wants him to work on his rise and fall a bit. Derek calls Nev a great dancer. He wants him to watch his booty when in frame and watch his elbow. Bruno agrees and thinks side by side- it was fantastic. He tells him not to lean into Jenna during hold.
Carrie Ann- 7, Derek- 7, Bruno- 6 = 20/30

Len chimes in from London with some words of encouragement for the cast and…Tyra. Okay. Moving along…

Johnny Weir & Britt – Cha-Cha-Cha
I don’t care what anyone says- figure skaters always have an advantage. They know how to put on a show and their bodies are ready to be choreographed. This was an example of that. It was a cha-cha-cha that had lots of interesting moments. If Len was judging, he would hate it because it was more modern than classic. But I think Britt is the right partner for him and I am intrigued to see what he does next.

Derek welcomes Britt to the show. He tells Johnny it was a great but when he goes into actual dance steps, he is in his head too much. Bruno says he have a wonderful lyrical quality but he needed to be sharper and work on the hips. Carrie Ann feels he should have been on the show years ago. She tells them that both of them looked a bit lost in the middle- stay connected as partners.
Carrie Ann- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 18/30

Justina Machado & Sasha – Cha-Cha-Cha
OMG. I love her. What wonderful energy and such a great smile. And that dance was fun and filled with great energy. You can tell she was having a blast and that makes the audience have fun watching her too. A really solid dance to start her journey on the show. Impressed again.

Bruno loved the confidence and musicality. Carrie Ann says she is on fire. Derek tells her she filled the room with energy. He wants her to watch her feet a little but he loved the dance.
Carrie Ann- 7, Derek- 7, Bruno- 7 = 21/30

Charles Oakley & Emma – Salsa
Oh boy. Okay, I have to be gentle. Charles is of an older age and so I wasn’t expecting too much. He is okay. Obviously, not a natural dancer and needs a ton of work. It was what you would expect when you heard he was doing the show. Emma tried her best and did all the heavy lifting. Props to him for trying.

Carrie Ann says the good news it isn’t his last dance but the bad news is that he needs to listen to the music. Derek has a lot of respect for Charles but flat footed and ahead of the music. He wants him to work on the technique and finesse. Bruno says he got into the spirit- laid back and cool. He wants him to get the timing right.
Carrie Ann- 4, Derek- 4, Bruno- 4 = 12/30

Monica Aldama & Val – Foxtrot
In parts of that, Val was really dragging the poor girl along, especially in those turns. It was okay. I thought the choreography was a bit bland even for a foxtrot. No real glaring mistakes which is good but not a dance I’ll remember after the show. Looking forward to seeing what she does with a Latin routine.

Derek says she was graceful. He notes that the turns need work- they get congested and stiff. Bruno thought it was elegant and stylish but be careful on the underarm turns. Carrie Ann calls it a tough dance but found that she went for it and the second half felt good. ANOTHER LIFT THOUGH. POLICE. POINT DEDUCTION.
Carrie Ann- 6, Derek- 7, Bruno- 6 = 19/30

Nelly & Daniella – Salsa
So much fun. Like Justina earlier, just a damn good time watching Nelly dance. Was it good? Eh. He needs to polish up just about everything but hey, a new pro is nice to see and it wasn’t horrible. I just hope he is able to harness some of that energy and work on technique.

Bruno welcomes Daniella to the show. He loved the connection between the two. He tells Nelly it was very grounded but don’t tighten the shoulders. Carrie Ann tells him the groove feels good but he has to open up. Derek says he is a big fan but tells him not to wear sneakers because ball room shoes will help.
Carrie Ann- 5, Derek- 5, Bruno- 6 = 16/30

Carole Baskin & Pasha – Paso Doble
Well, what can one say? I haven’t a clue who this woman is. Not a dancer, that’s for sure. I am not sure what that was but I saw some attempts at paso moves. Not enough and not done at all correctly but hey, she looked like she was having fun. I guess she should proud of herself for taking a chance. We shall see if it improves.

Carrie Ann loved the connection. She loved that Carole did not hold back. Work on the shoulders and technical issues. Derek says she smashed it. (He is being kind). He commends her and tells her the shoulders need work. Bruno says it was a sedated paso. It didn’t pop the way it should.
Carrie Ann- 4, Derek- 4, Bruno- 3 = 11/30

Judges Scores
Skai- 21
Justina- 21

Kaitlyn- 20
Nev- 20

Monica- 19

AJ- 18
Anne- 18
Jeannie- 18
Jesse- 18
Johnny- 18

Vernon- 17

Nelly- 16

Chrishell- 13

Charles- 12

Carole- 11

And that’s it for tonight’s premiere. Remember, no episode next Monday. Instead, join me on Tuesday as everyone dances again, you get to vote for the first time, and the first celebrity is booted from the ballroom. Thanks for watching with me tonight and have a great week guys. :D