Dancing with the Stars’ 21st season kicked off Monday night with 13 new celebrity hopefuls, their pro partners and judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Julianne Hough.

‘Dancing with the Stars’ Recap

Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff: Victor Espinoza, the jockey who led American Pharoah to the Triple Crown, was the first to dance Monday night. Espinoza, who is noticeably shorter than Smirnoff, struggled to learn the steps of the salsa as a series of concussions have left his short-term memory virtually nonexistent.  For their routine, Smirnoff decided not to waste any time in using the jockey gimmick in the hopes of getting some votes. Espinoza wasn’t terribly smooth or skilled on the dance floor, but the judges appreciated his energy. Scores: 5+5+5=15

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy: Tamar Braxton, a co-host on The Real, has it tough after getting assisged a quickstep with her pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy in the first week of the competition. Despite the challenging ballroom dance, Tamar proved that she could be one of this season’s frontrunners. Overall, she held her own while doing Val’s choreography, impressing the judges. Scores: 8+7+8=23

Chaka Khan and Keo Motsepe: Both Chaka Khan and her partner Keo Motsepe were happy to be paired with one another in the competition. However, the two failed to live up to their own expectations on the dance floor doing their cha-cha. Though the judges like how much personality Chaka Khan brought to the routine, they were far from satisfied with the legendary singer’s actual dancing. Scores: 5+4+4=13

Hayes Grier and Emma Slater: Vine star Hayes Grier was paired with dance pro Emma Slater for a cha-cha. Slater decided to set the dance in high school, with the 15-year-old Internet sensation playing the football player to her cheerleader. The judges ended up being relatively impressed with what the season’s youngest dancer brought to the dance floor for week one. Scores: 7+7+7=21

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker: “Honey I’m Good” singer Andy Grammer, paired with Allison Holker, had a foxtrot for his first dance of the season. Andy, who is doing the dance for his late mother, gave a decent debut performance. The judges would have liked for the routine to be less pop and for there to have been more chemistry, but they were optimistic about Andy’s future. Scores: 7+7+7=21

Paula Deen and Louis van Amstel: Paula Deen, the celebrity chef looking to restore her image, had dancer Louis van Amstel try to coach her through a quickstep. Louis had some trouble getting Paula to focus, which carried over into the dance. The judges noted that Paula seemed both tense and nervous in the routine. Scores: 5+5+5=15

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson & Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas: Husband and wife duo Carlos and Alexa PenaVega are competing against one another on the 21st season of Dancing with the Stars. Teamed up for jive routines with Witney Carson and Mark Ballas, respectively, both entertainers showed their potential to go far in the competition. Carlos’ Scores: 8+8+7=23 Alexa’s Scores: 7+7+8=22

Kim Zolciak and Tony Dovolani: Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak paired up with Tony Dovolani for a salsa with an ancient Egypt theme. The reality TV star, though she makes her living in front of the camera, struggled to commit to the dance with Tony. The judges suggested that Kim throw herself into the routines more going further. Scores: 4+4+4=12

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Bindi Irwin, who is the daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, danced a jive with pro partner Derek Hough to Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.” The judges were floored by Bindi’s first dance, as she managed to both keep up with Derek technically while also bringing her bright personality into the energetic routine. Scores: 8+8+8=24

Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya: Actor Gary Busey predictably struggled to learn the steps that Anna Trebunskaya put together for their first routine. Busey did his best in the dance set to the beat of “Dancing in the Street,” and had a lot of fun while he was at it. The judges appreciated his enthusiasm, but little else about the dance. Scores: 5+5+5=15

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Alek Skarlatos was dubbed a hero after stopping a terror attack on a train in France last month, making him a household name overnight. Though Alek isn’t exactly a celebrity and has no experience performing, he showed the judges and the audiences that he can hang with the competition with his capable foxtrot with Lindsay. Scores: 8+7+7=22

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: After 23 years in the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter admitted to his partner Sharna Burgess that he’s still a bit insecure when it comes to his dancing. However, while performing their cha-cha – which included a BSB move – Nick combined technique with stage presence to win over the judges. Scores: 8+8+8=24

Dancing with the Stars will return next Monday on ABC at 8/7c.

Read more about:

Leave a comment