It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the Dancing With the Stars season 29 premiere! Tyra Banks makes a grand entrance in a gorgeous red gown fit for the supermodel icon that she is. She starts out by explaining how DWTS is ensuring the safety of the cast and crew. In addition to no studio audience, the judges are socially distanced.
Derek Hough is a new judge this season since Len Goodman couldn’t make it over from the U.K. due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Tyra says we may see Len “sooner than we think.” He does pop up later in the show.
The first performance of the night comes from Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean. His partner is Cheryl Burke! They kick things off with a jive to The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights.” It’s a solid first performance. Derek wishes they had a “little more jive action.” Bruno Tonioli tells AJ and Cheryl their performance was “powerful” and “strong,” but he expects that from them. He notes that AJ needs to “polish” the “kicks and flicks” a little bit. Carrie Ann Inaba tells AJ he could “dance a little more out” in future performances. AJ and Cheryl’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Derek = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 18 out of 30.
Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause is paired up with Gleb Savchenko. They hit the dance floor with a tango to Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.” It’s a little unstable, but Chrishell has fun with it. Bruno points out that Chrishell lost her footing and wishes she could do it again because “so many things went wrong.” Carrie Ann sees “so much potential” in Chrishell. Derek tells Chrishell that she’s a bit “pigeon-toed” so she needs to work on keeping her feet turned out. Chrishell and Gleb’s scores: Carrie Ann = 4; Derek = 5; and Bruno = 4. Total score = 13 out of 30.
Former NFL star Vernon Davis is up next. His pro is Peta Murgatroyd. They dance a romantic foxtrot to John Legend’s “All of Me.” Their chemistry is amazing. Carrie Ann is very surprised by Vernon and calls him “really impressive.” Derek raves over how “smooth” Vernon was. Bruno points out that Peta and Vernon’s “chemistry was sizzling.” Vernon and Peta’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Derek = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 17 out of 30.
Actress Anne Heche and Keo Motsepe dance the cha cha to Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now.” They have a blast with their routine. She has a ton of potential. Derek calls it a “great first dance” but tells Anne to work on finishing every single move before moving onto the next. Bruno wants Anne to put more “impaction” into her moves because her hips got a little “mechanical.” Carrie Ann is really “impressed” with the “tension” between Anne and Keo. She thinks Anne is a star! Anne and Keo’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Derek = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 18 out of 30.
The Real co-host Jeannie Mai is paired up with Brandon Armstrong. They slay with their salsa to Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It To My Heart.” She really shows off her personality with this dance. Bruno loves her spirit, but she did lose her balance for just a tiny second. Carrie Ann is all about Jeannie’s amazing energy. She thinks that Jeannie is on a “fantastic path.” Derek wants Jeannie to work on her turns, but this was a “good start.” Jeannie and Brandon’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Derek = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 18 out of 30.
Sharna Burgess is back on DWTS, and she’s paired with Jesse Metcalfe! They dance the quickstep to Stevie Wonder’s “Part-Time Love.” Despite having no formal dance training, Jesse does a solid job! Carrie Ann admits their performance was one of the “most passionate” quicksteps she’s ever seen. She just wants him to work on his posture. Derek raves it was a “great first dance,” but he tells Jesse to work on his shoulders. Bruno says for a difficult dance that Jesse did well! Jesse and Sharna’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Derek = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 18 out of 30.
Disney Channel star Skai Jackson is paired up with reigning champion Alan Bersten. Their tango to Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” is so fierce! Derek raves over how “clean” and “strong” the performance was. Bruno thinks the “sky is the limit” for Skai. Carrie Ann admits that Skai copes with the height difference she has with Alan “so well,” and it was a “beautiful and exciting performance.” Skai and Alan’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Derek = 7; and Bruno = 7. Total score = 21 out of 30.
Kaitlyn Bristowe’s DWTS dream has come true! She is finally a contestant. Her partner is Artem Chigvintsev. Their cha cha to Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love” is full of potential. Bruno tells Kaitlyn the performance was “so good,” but she could have a sharper finish at times. Derek says it was “beautiful cha cha” but felt the dancing was “safe.” Kaitlyn and Artem’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Derek = 7; and Bruno = 7. Total score = 20 out of 30.
Catfish host Nev Schulman surprises everyone with his foxtrot with Jenna Johnson to Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.” Carrie Ann gushes that it was so “uplifting” and “refined.” Derek has a few critiques but thinks it was a great first dance overall. Nev and Jenna’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Derek = 7; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 20 out of 30.
Olympian Johnny Weir and new pro Britt Stewart bring fire to the ballroom with their sexy cha cha to “Buttons” by The Pussycat Dolls. They vibe so well together. Derek notices that Johnny was overthinking when it came to the technical aspects of the dance. Bruno says Johnny has a “wonderful lyrical quality.” Carrie Ann points out a moment when both Johnny and Britt got lost, but Johnny stresses it was just him who was lost. Johnny and Britt’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Derek = 6; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 18 out of 30.
One Day At A Time star Justina Machado and pro Sasha Farber wow everyone with their cha cha to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” She’s got some serious moves! Bruno is all about her “confidence” and “musicality.” Carrie Ann admits she got up out of her seat over the performance. Derek says Justina was “oozing charisma.” Justina and Sasha’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Derek = 7; and Bruno = 7. Total score = 21 out of 30.
NBA legend Charles Oakley is paired up with pro Emma Slater. They dance a salsa to 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” He gives it his all and even flips Emma around. Carrie Ann tells Charles to “listen to the music a little bit more.” Derek points out that he was flat-footed and ahead of the music, but he “felt the joy” Charles had during his performance. Charles and Emma’s scores: Carrie Ann = 4; Derek = 4; and Bruno = 4. Total score = 12 out of 30.
Cheer coach Monica Aldama is teaming up with Val Chmerkovskiy this season. They dance a gorgeous foxtrot to the Rascal Flatts song “My Wish.” Derek raves it was “beautiful, graceful, and so pleasant to watch.” Bruno makes a note about her wrists, but he says she did well. Carrie Ann says Monica had a slow start but a good second half. Monica and Val’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Derek = 7; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 19 out of 30.
Nelly and new pro Daniella Karagach dance salsa to Nelly’s song “Ride Wit Me.” They really bring the sizzle with their dance. Bruno notes they have “so much fun” with their performance, but he says to not tighten up the shoulders. Carrie Ann has the same point about the shoulders, but she says his “groove is right.” Nelly and Danielle’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Derek = 5; and Bruno = 6. Total score = 16 out of 30.
The final performance of the night is none other than Tiger King star Carole Baskin, who is paired with Pasha Pashkov. She certainly brings ferocity to her paso doble to “Eye of the Tiger.” Carrie Ann loves the “connection” between Carole and Pasha. Bruno admits they didn’t quite nail the paso doble but thinks she’ll be back next week. Carole and Pasha’s scores: Carrie Ann = 4; Derek = 4; and Bruno = 3. Total score = 11 out of 30.