Dancing with the Stars 30 Recap: Premiere Live Blog (Videos)

DANCING WITH THE STARS - ÒSeason 30 PremiereÓ Ð ÒDancing with the StarsÓ returns for another star-studded season with a new, notable and energetic cast of 15 celebrities who are ready to bring their sparkle and shimmy to the ballroom. The competition begins with a two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, SEPT. 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Eric McCandless) JENNA JOHNSON, JOJO SIWA
(ABC/Eric McCandless) JENNA JOHNSON, JOJO SIWA

Dancing with the Stars season 30 begins tonight. Tyra Banks returns to host for a second season. Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli return to the judges panel. And after the pandemic kept him in the UK last season, Len Goodman returns as judge.

DWTS 30 Week 1 Spoilers: Dance Styles and Song Choices Revealed

For DWTS week 1, there will be no elimination but there will be a special premiere viewer vote. Voting is available via abc.com and SMS/text. And for premiere only, the vote will close at 5 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, Sept. 22. Both the viewer votes and the judges’ scores from the premiere will carry over and be combined with judges’ scores and viewer votes from week two. 

The show opens with a tribute to the last 30 seasons, a montage of some of the most memorable and epic DWTS moments (leaving out any sight of Tom Bergeron…)

This year’s troupe perform an opening number, then Tyra walks out to welcome us to Season 30 and introduce this year’s stars.

Melanie C & Gleb – Cha-Cha-Cha

Starting off with a typical premiere dance and unsurprisingly dancing to “Wannabe” by Spice Girls, Melanie’s dance background certainly shows during this performance. I certainly think she has a bit to learn about ballroom dance technique, but she’s already off to a great start! What a way to kick off the show!

After a warm welcome back to Len, he starts off the judging by calling it a “polished performance.” Derek comments on Melanie’s incredible legs, then nitpicks on the balance between straightening her legs and being grounded on the floor. Bruno thanks her for “spicing up his life,” then tells her to watch Gleb because he tends to steal the shot… Carrie Ann finishes off with telling Melanie she’s her favorite Spice Girl, but ends with a critique of telling her she can loosen up a bit. Carrie Ann- 7, Len- 7, Derek- 6, Bruno- 7 = 28/40

The Miz & Witney – Cha-Cha-Cha

This performance starts off with The Miz slipping off his jacket, something I’m sure may become a habit throughout the season (for however long he lasts…) In my professional dance opinion, I’ve seen better, but I’ve definitely seen worse!

Derek says he was surprised (same, Derek!) by the great job he did. Bruno tells Witney she “tamed the beast,” then calls him a well-oil-machine but flat-footed. Carrie Ann commented that he hit a few moves “too hard. Len seems to have the same opinion than me, which is “better than expected.” Carrie Ann- 6, Len- 6, Derek 6, Bruno- 6 = 24/40

Iman Shumpert & Daniella – Jive

Another better than expected performance, Iman shines throughout this dance. Jive is one of the trickiest dances, especially for the first week, but Iman seems to nail it. The height difference between him and Daniella didn’t look as awkward as it could have, and this performance was a fun and upbeat dance floor debut for Iman!

Bruno says how hard it is for tall people to dance Jive and compliments Iman’s abilities while also giving him helpful criticism. Carrie Ann lovingly calls it “ridiculous” and says she’s never seen a Jive like that in episode 1. Len receives the first boo’s of the season, calling the performance “too casual,” “too loose” and calling the technique “poor.” Derek says he agrees with Len content-wise, but says it was great for the first week. Carrie Ann- 7, Len- 4, Derek- 5, Bruno- 5 = 21/40

Olivia Jade & Val – Salsa

Something I’ve learned in all my years of watching this show is that certain pros make the stars look better than they are. I believe this was the case with Olivia’s performance. That, and considering Salsa is arguably the easiest dance to learn, I for one am curious to see how she does with some slower or trickier dances moving forward.

Carrie Ann says this is the start of a brand new chapter for Olivia, complimenting her lines and legs. Len says it could have been more spicy. Derek believes she has a lot of potential, and that she needs to watch her shoulders. Bruno agrees it could have had extra spice (and that she can ask Melanie for it!) Carrie Ann- 7, Len- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno-6 = 25/40

Jimmie Allen & Emma – Tango

Personally, I found myself distracted by the giant disco ball inside the red car, but I digress. Tango is one of those dances you either hit or you miss, and Jimmie missed this time around. He was a bit too upbeat and bouncy for the style of dance, but again, I’ve definitely seen worse.

Len says this dance does not suit Jimmie’s personality (agreed!) but he has great potential. Derek says it was incredible frame for week 1. Bruno comments on Jimmie’s skips throughout the dance. Carrie Ann agrees it’s a tough dance, but he did a great job to start off. Carrie Ann- 6, Len- 5, Derek- 6, Bruno- 5 = 22/40

Melora Hardin & Artem – Tango

Again, Tango is tough, and Melora’s was no exception. I must say, I was unpleasantly surprised, thought she would do better considering her dance background, but you can’t be too hard on someone on week 1!

Derek seems to disagree with me as he gives Melora a standing ovation. Bruno critiques her balance, but calls it brilliant. Carrie Ann says she brought the drama, the extension, the grace, the velocity of spirit… Len keeps it short and sweet with one of his catch phrases, saying, “no messin’, no stressin’, you just came out and danced!”

Carrie Ann- 7, Len- 6, Derek- 7, Bruno- 6 = 26/40

Suni Lee & Sasha – Jive

Suni’s nerves showed on her face the second she walked out, and it was terrible song choice for a debut Jive. Sasha managed to incorporate some of those obvious gymnast moves throughout, but Suni definitely has some work ahead of her. It all looked a big forced and overly-prepared, but overall not bad for her first performance.

Bruno says Suni can Jive, then tells her to remember not to look at the floor while she’s dancing. Carrie Ann says she’s a perfect match for ballroom dancing, but that she needs to not be, as I said, overly-prepared. Len compliments the performance, but says it needed to be more free. Derek whacks out his first quote of the season with, “a little less perfection, and a little bit more expression!”

Carrie Ann- 7, Len- 7, Derek- 7, Bruno- 7 = 28/40

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl – Tango

Of course Cody makes his dancing debut on a Peloton bike! Wouldn’t have it any other way, honestly. And the hot pink suit was a choice, but we’re not here to judge fashion. Cody’s clear strength and fitness will be a plus for him this season, but it doesn’t make you a dancer. Some of those moves were questionable (was that even Tango?) and the showy ending was just unnecessary.

Carrie Ann calls him fabulous, and notes he was clearly nervous. Len says he has great presence, but he needs to get out of the habit of looking down like he does on a bike. Derek says he’s going to be a blast, and Bruno starts on the dramatics of what Cody just did, ending with, “You’re going to be great.”

Carrie Ann- 6, Len- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 24/40

Amanda Kloots & Alan – Tango

Amanda looks like she’s having the time of her life on the ballroom. I went into this one with the mindset that being a Broadway dancer does not make you a ballroom dancer, but Amanda might just prove me wrong. I can already tell those sharp legs will be an asset to her this season!

Len loves that the routine was full of Tango content, says her feet could have been crisper, but it was a great first dance. Derek says dancing is a great way to reclaim your joy, and calls it a “sensational routine.” Bruno compliments the details; some cool, some cat-like, some sexy… Carrie Ann is brought to tears, telling Amanda her late husband Nick is watching down on her.

Carrie Ann- 7, Len- 7, Derek- 7, Bruno- 7 = 28/40

Martin Kove & Britt – Paso Doble

Whoever decided to let Martin dance to “The Best Around” owns my heart. Dancing aside, Martin’s Kreese-like speech surrounded by snakes while the audience responds with, “No, Sensei!” was so much fun! But let’s get on to the dancing… as a life-long Karate Kid fan, I wish I could just be biased here, but to keep it short: Martin should stick to karate.

Derek shouts, “Cobra Kai forever!” ten goes on to say he felt Martin was unprepared. Bruno says he felt like he was part of a cult (??) and that Martin needs to “clean up the script before going to full production.” Carrie Ann calls the performance “commitment to character” and Len praises Martin on his “gallant” ever for someone in their 70’s.

Carrie Ann- 4, Len- 3, Derek- 3, Bruno- 3 = 13/40

Kenya Moore & Brandon – Foxtrot

Kenya makes it clear she isn’t a dancer, but she certainly looks like she’s having fun. It was a fairly simple Foxtrot with an over-the-top opening of Kenya sat on a red lip-shaped couch. My own dance background makes me nitpicky of her footwork, but impressed by her frame.

Bruno tells her to keep extending those lines after stating, “It was like watching Venus emerging from a kiss.” Carrie Ann says she looked like a queen, and has refinement and a relaxed body in “the right posture.” Kenya then screams in excitement when Len says the performance had a “charm and a sophistication that you want to see in a Foxtrot.” Derek says he can’t wait to see what Kenya will do on the show going forward, only critiquing the dropping of her left arm.

Carrie Ann- 7, Len- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 7 = 26/40

Christine Chiu & Pasha – Tango

Love me a gown-removal! Christine and Pasha danced to the song “Glamorous” by Francesca Fredsen and this performance was just that! She has great posture, great arms , and it was a unique routine, especially for the first week. And for someone with a currently-dislocated rib?? Very well done!

Carrie Ann starts off by saying, “Bling, Bling in the house!” and that Christine is essentially exactly what they’re looking for in a star on DWTS. Len says she had great control, but her feet turned in at times. Derek says he loves her dress, then goes on to call her frame beautiful and critique her heel leads. Bruno calls her a gem, and if it’s a bit more polished, she will achieve full brilliance.

Carrie Ann- 6, Len- 7, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 25/40

Matt James & Lindsay – Cha-Cha-Cha

If roses were given for dancing ability, I’m not so sure Matt earned one for this performance, but I see plenty of potential in him. I have full faith in Lindsay’s ability to get Matt’s arms and legs looking more like a ballroom dancer as the season progresses. Matt did, however, nail the bits of freestyling throughout the routine (those body rolls!).

Lens says if Matt listens to Lindsay and works hard, his future will be “rosy.” Derek says he did a great job, then goes on to insult the size of his feet. Bruno says he has natural stage presence, but criticizes his hip action and footwork. Carrie Ann praises him on his ability to use the space, but agrees his footwork was “iffy” and gives him an A+ on his body rolls (same).

Carrie Ann- 6, Len- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 24/40

*Can we talk about Len and I seem to be on the same wave length all night?? haha

Brian Austin Green & (his girlfriend!) Sharna – Foxtrot

You could feel the natural chemistry these two share throughout the entire performance. And I think Sharna is definitely rubbing off on him because for someone who said he can’t dance, Brian’s frame and footwork (and googly eyes) certainly impressed me!

Derek says dating your dance partner works brilliantly (he would know!) and that Brian had an ease to him. Bruno says he sensed the sizzling chemistry and calls Brian “prince charming.” Carrie Ann comments on Sharna’s clear happiness, then mentions the way Brian stared (googly eyes!) at Sharna during the entire dance. Len gets boos for saying Brian’s feet simply “weren’t good,” then says this competition is developing into something special.

Carrie Ann- 6, Len- 6, Derek- 6, Bruno- 6 = 24/40

JoJo Siwa & Jenna – Quickstep

JoJo and Jenna do a Jive, and they just made history as the first same-sex partnership on DWTS, in matching costumes no less! Despite being a dancer her entire life (all 18 years), there’s nothing easy about debuting with a Quickstep, but I think JoJo did incredibly well. Her energy is on another level! My heart broke when Jenna slipped mid-step, but she and JoJo recovered practically unfazed (I’m a trained dancer and even I wouldn’t recover that well from a moment like that!)

Bruno says he’s full of joy for everyone, and loves the freedom of expression. Carrie Ann praises the way they made history, and how JoJo lifted her partner when she slipped. Len says “Go go, JoJo!” but remarks she lost control at times. Derek simply says she was born for DWTS.

Carrie Ann- 8, Len- 7, Derek- 7, Bruno- 7 = 29/40

The show ends with a tribute to late, past cast members with stars on the floor like a Walk of Fame, honoring Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, Florence Henderson and Mary Wilson.

Judges’ Scores

JoJo- 29
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Suni- 28
Amanda- 28
Melanie- 28
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Kenya- 26
Melora- 26
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Olivia- 25
Christine- 25
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Brian- 24
Matt- 24

Cody- 24
The Miz- 24
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Jimmie- 22
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Iman- 21
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Martin- 13

That concludes the Season 30 premiere of DWTS! Thank you so much for joining me for my live-blogging debut here on MJ’s Big Blog! I’ll be back next week to do it all over again!