(LOS ANGELES) — Former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson and pro partner Sharna Burgess were the first couple eliminated on the new season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars Monday night.
Johnson and Burgess were eliminated after receiving the lowest combined total of viewer votes and judges’ scores from last week’s performances and judges’ scores from Monday’s routines.
After learning he was going home, Johnson said he was happy to have had the experience.
“For a guy that’s never even bobbed his head in a car, I think the fact that I could have the experience to dance and learn what dancing is all about, and Sharna teaching me is something amazing to me,” he said.
Johnson called Burgess “an amazing choreographer” and wished he “could have done more to help her out.”
Before the elimination was announced, the contestants hit the dance floor for new routines. Here’s a rundown of Monday’s performances:
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren: The Saved by the Bell star’s sassy samba with partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy pleased the judges, especially head judge Len Goodman, who called it “absolutely fantastic.” Judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba were also impressed. Total score: 25 out of a possible 30 points for a two-week total of 49 points out of a possible 60.
Christina Milian: The actress/singer earned a standing ovation for her dramatic, stylish paso doble with partner Mark Ballas. “You were on fire! That was insane!” Inaba declared. Tonioli liked that it was recognizable as a paso doble, even though Milian put her own personal twist on it. Goodman agreed. “You still maintained the character of the dance…you were focused, you were fierce and I’m telling you, that was terrific!” Goodman said. Total score: 25/30. Two week total: 47/60.
Bill Engvall: During rehearsal, the comedian hinted that even though many of his fellow competitors were half his age, he would not be intimidated and his performance showed his confidence. Engvall exploded onto the stage with a fun, energetic jive that entertained the audience and the judges. Even though Inaba noted that “the footwork was a little funky,” she called it “fantastic fun.” Goodman appreciated that there were many recognizable, basic jive steps in the routine, and said watching Engvall was “great fun.” Tonioli said Engvall “threw everything in it but the kitchen sink…” Total score: 21/30. Two-week total: 39/60.
Jack Osbourne: The reality star’s sweet rumba with partner Cheryl Burke brought the audience to its feet in appreciation even before he’d completed the routine. Goodman commended Osbourne’s style and control, and Tonioli thought he’d made great progress during the two weeks of the season. Inaba said watching Osbourne transported her to another time, adding that he had “incredible nobility” on the dance floor. Total score: 24/30. Two-week total: 47/60.
Keyshawn Johnson: The former NFL star delivered an enthusiastic samba, but he fell out of sync with his partner during the routine. Tonioli noticed and urged him to count music, to which a smiling Johnson replied: “I’m trying! I don’t even bop my head in the frigging car.” Inaba called Johnson “still a little rough around the edges,” even though she said he looked more comfortable on the dance floor. Goodman said he admired Johnson’s effort. “You were working your assets, I’m telling you,” Goodman said. “The key to this show — improve week by week. For me, that was better than last week.” Total score: 18/30. Two-week total: 35/60.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: Goodman said the reality TV star’s rumba was “neat” and “nice,” but noted it suffered from a lack of continuous movement which is a requirement of the style of dance. Tonioli agreed, and urged Polizzi to also learn how to act and sustain a character throughout a performance. Inaba told Polizzi she “made some really pretty pictures,” but didn’t have a lot of fluidity. She also deducted a point because Polizzi’s partner, Sasha Farber, performed prohibited lifts. Total score: 20/30. Two-week total: 43/60.
Leah Remini: The TV actress and partner Tony Dovolani delivered a sassy samba that drew unanimous praise from the judges, especially from Inaba, who raved that Remini had let her “samba goddess” out. All three judges commended Remini’s performance. In a recorded segment, Remini admitted that her very public split from the Church of Scientology is on her mind as she performs. The actress said the church wants her to fail. Total score: 24/30. Two-week total: 45/60.
Bill Nye: The “Science Guy” earned cheers for his paso doble, and the judges — who gave him the lowest score of the night last week — said they saw improvement. Inaba said, “What I love is that you worked with what you’ve got — your assets, you kind of made fun of yourself while you were dancing a little bit. It was like a weird sort of bizarre masterpiece of insanity and I thought it totally worked but we do have to work on your feet.” Goodman said he liked the fun the star put into his routine. Total score: 17/30. Two-week total: 31/60.
Corbin Bleu: The High School Musical actor was in his element with a high school-themed jive, and the audience loved it. Tonioli called it “a performance of dazzling brilliance,” and Goodman said it was clear that Bleu could dance, although he said the actor’s footwork was “a little sharp” at the end of the routine. Inaba was thrilled. “That was so much fun. Do it again!” she said, adding that she loved his athleticism and musicality with partner Karina Smirnoff. Total score: 26/30. Two-week total: 50/60.
Valerie Harper: The legendary actress’ paso doble with partner Tristan MacManus got her commendation for effort, but Tonioli pointed out that she had problems with her timing and some steps. Inaba acknowledged that it was hard to critique the actress because she was in such awe of her courage, but then went on to say she believed Harper started the routine well but appeared to have forgotten about a third of it and seemed “lost.” Harper is battling cancer. Total score: 19/30. Two-week total: 40/60.
Brant Daugherty: The actor’s rumba caused some dissent among the judges. Tonioli and Inaba remarked on the chemistry between Daugherty and his partner, Peta Murgratroyd, but Goodman felt that the audience was responding more to the pair’s looks that the routine. “The chemistry you guys have is incredible and very fun to watch, but that’s not what’s so great about you. You can move…you were wowing us,” Inaba told Daugherty. Total score: 23/30. Two-week total: 45/60.
Amber Riley: The actress’s bubbly jive with partner Derek Hough drew audience applause, but all three judges agreed that she was a little flat-footed. Even with the criticism, Inaba said Riley set the bar last week and continued to wow them with her performance. Total score: 24/30. Two-week total: 51/60.
During the show, it was announced that Julianne Hough would be returning to DWTS as a guest judge on the Oct. 7 episode. Hough was a two-time pro champion winner before moving on to a singing and acting career.
Dancing with the Stars returns next Monday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.
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