Hey All :)
Welcome to the series premiere of Dancing with the Stars Juniors. Tonight, twelve celebrity children and children of celebrities are paired with professional junior ballroom dancers to compete in choreographed routines. They will be mentored by the pros of Dancing with the Stars in the hopes of winning the first ever Juniors mirror ball trophy.
The judging panel for this show will be Dancing with the Stars pro Valentin Chmerkovsky, Emmy winning choreographer Mandy Moore, and Dancing with the Stars Athletes champion Adam Rippon. Former DWTS contestants Jordan Fisher and Frankie Muniz will be our hosts.
In this first week of competition, the contestants are tasked to perform a cha-cha-cha, foxtrot, jive, or salsa. There will be NO voting from the viewing audience as this entire season has already been taped, with eliminations occurring based on the judges and the audience in the stuido. As a reminder, please keep SPOILERS out of the discussion for those who want to enjoy the program without knowing any results.
We begin with a look at the junior pros before our hosts come out to join them. The judges are out next, followed by the mentors. Everyone is having a dancing moment. Here comes the cast. That was a great opening.
Jason & Eliana (Mentor- Emma) – Cha-Cha-Cha
Adorable! I will probably use that word an endless amount of times this season. Jason is a good little dancer. The moves need a bit of refinement, but I will say that any messiness was probably due to a huge amount of excitement and nerves. The pair go good together though. Looking forward to seeing improvement.
Mandy loved it and thought it was incredible. She saw rhythm and confidence. Val agrees with Mandy. He saw charisma and showmanship. He wants Jason to get better and focus on his footwork. Adam says it was really good. He feels it was amazing for week one.
Tripp & Hailey (Mentor- Jenna) – Foxtrot
Aww. Sweet kid but not really a dancer. The foxtrot technique was really limited here. Hailey was great but she was let down by a partner who really seems out of his element. If he came alive during rehearsals, it didn’t really translate all that well here. He looked really nervous. But kudos for trying and I did enjoy the story of the dance as it was cute and charming.
Val thinks he is a lot better than he thinks he is when he lets himself go. Adam wants him to tell himself he is a dancer. Mandy thinks Jenna did a great job with the choreography. She loved the story that was told.
Addison & Lev (Mentor- Keo) – Cha-Cha-Cha
Best dance of the night so far, even if Addison could use some loosening up. It is a cha-cha-cha and in parts, she was so stiff. But the overall presentation here, especially the first thirty seconds made up for it. This is a good partnership.
Adam can see Addison counting the steps out but he feels she did a great job. Mandy loved the sass but feels she needs to match her partner better. Val agrees with Mandy and saw charisma. He wants to see better technique with her footwork.
Miles & Rylee (Mentor- Lindsay) – Salsa
Okay, so the competition JUST started. That was a pretty fantastic salsa for week one. Miles has moves and showmanship. Lindsay, always the outstanding choreographer, put together a great first dance for them. That exceeded all expectations and every couple that danced so far.
Mandy thought it was incredible. She felt it was star power. Val calls Miles a superstar. He wishes there was a little more salsa content though. Adam thinks he killed it and his moves will keep him in the competition for a long time.
Sophia & Jake (Mentor- Sasha) – Jive
Very cute. I have to admit, my eyes were drawn more to Jake here. He is a fabulous little dancer. I thought Sophia did an adequate job with the jive as I saw some decent kicks and flicks. I wanted her energy level up just a bit though but they did a nice job as a partnership.
Val is very proud. He feels the dance had a lot of content and gives credit to Jake. Adam feels she killed it and came alive on the dance floor. Mandy thought the rhythm was great and loved the storytelling.
Hudson & Kameron (Mentor- Hayley) – Cha-Cha-Cha
Haha. OMG. So cute. Okay, this was decent. A little practice and Hudson will get better. He has the musicality but now it needs to transfer into the technique so it all comes together. I did appreciate how much cha-cha-cha content was in there though.
Adam was impressed by the amount of partner work. Mandy did not expect that. She tells him to watch his timing. Val calls Hudson a leading man.
Ariana & Artyon (Mentor- Brandon) – Cha-Cha-Cha
YES. Ariana is good. Very good. I felt that might have been the strongest overall cha-cha-cha of the night. These two make a good pairing. Loved the content and how in-sync they were with one another.
Mandy calls her a little ray of sunshine. She gives kudos to Brandon for the choreography. She feels the technique needs a little work. Val feels she dances so big. He disagrees with Mandy on the technique. He wants them to work together more though and build the chemistry. Adam loved the cuteness. He calls it awesome.
Mackenzie & Sage (Menror- Gleb) – Foxtrot
Well, that changed up midway through in an unexpected way. Good dance. Mac was actually decent in hold and pulled off quite a proper foxtrot. These two seem like they are going to do really well as the season progresses as I see some natural talent here. Solid for week one.
Val thought the performance was incredible but didn’t like the modern part. Adam thought they were gliding in the beginning. He wants her to get into the floor more. Mandy feels she needs to shift her muscles and weight change to fit ballroom.
Alana & Tristan (Mentor- Artem) – Salsa
So that wasn’t the disaster I had assumed it would be. For the most part, a salsa fits Alana’s personality. If she survives tonight, I am looking forward to seeing how she handles other styles. She is a ball of energy and quite funny. Good work from her partner here.
Adam felt she was performing to everyone and stayed in character. Mandy feels Alana lives her best life in every moment. She isn’t mad at that salsa. Val loves the confidence. He wants improved technique and more partner work.
Mandla & Brightyn (Mentor- Cheryl) – Jive
Good dance but you could have fooled me on calling it a jive. Needed way more jive content. I appreciate the personality and energy though. I think Mandla can do more so I am a bit disappointed that Cheryl didn’t put more in there. But we will see what happens in coming weeks.
Mandy thought it was so good- she is shocked Mandla hasn’t danced before. Val feels like he became a different person out there. He feels they killed it and called it the performance of the night. Adam calls it unbelievable. He agrees that it was the performance of the night.
Akash & Kamri (Mentor- Witney) – Foxtrot
Okay, so Akash couldn’t be more precious if he tried. Aww. Gotta keep it real- it wasn’t a good routine. He was really a fish out of water out there but the darn performance was so cute and all that I could overlook it this once. He needs practice for sure.
Val loved how much of a gentleman Akash was. He wants to see him grow. Adam says he can’t deal with him. He thinks everyone has fallen in love with him. He says Akash performed from his heart. Mandy thought the foxtrot was awesome.
Sky & JT (Mentor- Alan) – Salsa
OH YES. That was the performance of the night. A load of content, personality, and musicality. Just what is needed for a salsa, and executed very well. This is a powerful team as JT is a stunningly good dancer and has been for years and Sky is looking like she will be really good this season.
Adam says he can tell Sky is a fierce competitor. He calls it fantastic. Mandy loved the technique. She feels they nailed it. Val thought the “Sky” is the limit. HAHA. He loved the maturity in the dance.
The audience is now voting in the studio. Those votes, plus the judges scores will determine tonight’s DOUBLE ELIMINATION. Here we go..
Team Keo- Addison & Lev and Team Jenna- Tripp & Hailey are ELIMINATED.
Aww. Some of the kids are crying. I’m glad they aren’t going to drag out eliminations with “in jeopardy” or anything like that. The kids are going to be bummed enough being voted out, no need to extend it. All in all, I thought this was a solid premiere that exceeded my expectations. The kids are not only adorable but a few of them are quite good. We have four or five couples who I could see going very far.
I am a bit surprised at Addison’s boot but she danced early and perhaps the audience voting in the studio forgot about her by the time voting happened. That’s going to be a problem with dancing early in this show. Tripp’s elimination was far less surprising.
The show cuts back to one hour only starting next Sunday, which means tens routines plus an elimination in only an hour’s time. EEK. Talk about cutting it close. Thankfully, this is all pre-taped so the editors can work their magic. Thank y’all for watching with me and I’ll see you next week. :lD