‘DWTS’ Recap: Charli D’Amelio Is An Instant Frontrunner & The First Celeb Is Eliminated

The first night of 'DWTS' season 31 revealed the notable standouts, while some celebs fell short. At the end of the night, one star was sent home.

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Charli D'Amelio Mark Ballas
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Image Credit: Disney+

Welcome to Dancing With the Stars season 31! Sixteen pairs will be hitting the ballroom, and one will ultimately be crowned the mirrorball champion at the end of the season. Jordin Sparks and Brandon Armstrong kick off the night with a cha-cha to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody [Who Loves Me]” by Whitney Houston.

Their performance is a great way to start off the night. “It was clean. It was clear. It was precise,” Len Goodman says. Derek Hough tells Jordin that she has an “amazing presence on that floor.” Bruno Tonioli calls it a “sparkling performance,” and Carrie Ann Inaba adds that Jordin and Brandon “did not disappoint.” Jordin and Brandon’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 6; Derek = 6; Bruno = 7. Total Score = 26 out of 40.

Jordin Sparks Brandon Armstrong
Jordin Sparks and Brandon Armstrong were the first performers of the night. (Disney+)

Daniel Durant Impresses In First Performance

New York City weatherman Sam Champion dances the foxtrot with Cheryl Burke to Elton John and Britney Spears’ “Hold Me Closer.” Derek tells Sam that there were some “timing issues,” but it was overall a “great first dance.” Bruno says that Sam was “poised” and “easy to watch.” He adds, “For a first performance, very good.” Sam and Cheryl’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 5; Derek = 5; Bruno = 5. Total Score = 20 out of 40.

Charli and Dixie D’Amelio’s mom, Heidi D’Amelio, is teaming up with Artem Chigvintsev this season. Charli is also a contestant. This is the first time a mom and daughter will be competing against each other.

They dance a very sexy cha-cha to “Lady Marmalade” by Christina AguileraLil’ KimMya, and Pink. Bruno advises Heidi to really “project your personality through your performance.” Carrie Ann points out a “misstep in the middle” but says Heidi is “fierce.” Derek thinks Heidi has “so much potential.” Heidi and Artem’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Len = 6; Derek = 6; Bruno = 6. Total Score = 24 out of 40.

CODA star Daniel Durant has been fully deaf since birth and will be dancing with Britt Stewart. They show off their amazing partnership with a fun tango to Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand.” Carrie Ann, through Daniel’s interpreter Gabe, tells the actor that he is “such a leading man.” Len says that Daniel’s “frame was good,” and he’s “really excited to see you develop as the show goes on.” Bruno calls the performance “magnetic.” Daniel and Britt’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 6; Derek = 7; Bruno = 7. Total Score = 27 out of 40. 

Wayne Brady Is An Instant Standout

Jessie James Decker and Alan Bersten bring country to the ballroom with their cha-cha to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” Len notes to Jessie that he wants to see “stronger leg action” moving forward. Derek tells Jessie to keep her performance “a little more compact.” Jessie and Alan’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 5; Derek = 5; Bruno = 5. Total Score = 20 out of 40. 

RHONJ star Teresa Giudice starts her performance off by flipping a table! She’s paired with Pasha Pashkov, and they dance the tango to “We Found Love” by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris. Derek tells Teresa to “keep your frame really wide” and think bigger. Carrie Ann says to “take up space” and not be afraid to “open up your chest.” Len admits that he noticed that Teresa “lost focus somewhere along in the middle.” Teresa and Pasha’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 5; Derek = 5; Bruno = 5. Total Score = 20 out of 40. 

Wayne Brady Witney Carson
Wayne Brady and Witney Carson had one of the best performances of the night. (Disney+)

Wayne Brady and Witney Carson take the competition to a new level with their fierce cha-cha to “She’s a Bad Mama Jama [She’s Built, She’s Stacked]” by Carl Carlton. “You’ve got it, and you know what to do with it,” Bruno raves. Carrie Ann adds that Wayne is “fabulous.” Len warns Wayne not to “overdo it,” but the performance was the “most watchable dance of the night so far.” Wayne and Witney’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 7; Derek = 7; Bruno = 8. Total Score = 29 out of 40. 

Charlie’s Angels alum Cheryl Ladd and returning pro Louis Van Amstel look stunning on the dance floor with their cha-cha to “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye. Carrie Ann thinks that the routine “might have been a little too simple” for Cheryl. Len says that Cheryl and Louis have a “lovely chemistry” but thinks that Cheryl was a “tad timid.” Bruno commends Cheryl for the “wonderful routine.” Cheryl and Louis’ scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Len = 5; Derek = 5; Bruno = 5. Total Score = 21 out of 40. 

Vinny Guadagnino and new pro Koko Iwasaki dance the salsa to “Tití Me Preguntó” by Bad Bunny. Len calls the performance “rough.” Derek notes “timing issues,” and Bruno agrees with him. Carrie Ann tells Vinny, “You let her do all the work.” Vinny and Koko’s scores: Carrie Ann = 4; Len = 4; Derek = 5; Bruno = 4. Total Score = 17 out of 40.

Gabby Windey & Shangela Are In It To Win It

Shangela is making history as the first drag entertainer to compete on DWTS. She’s paired with Gleb Savchenko, and their salsa to “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls is full of sass and fun. “So spicy, so hot, it’s intoxicating,” Bruno raves. He adds that Shangela was “totally in command of your performance.” Len says simply, “Well done.” Shangela and Gleb’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 7; Derek = 7; Bruno = 7. Total Score = 28 out of 40. 

Shangela Gleb Savchenko
Shangela and Gleb Savchenko wowed in their first performance. (Disney+)

Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater tackle the quickstep to “Dancing with Myself” by Billy Idol. Bruno is all about the amount of content in the dance. All Trevor needs to do is “refine.” Carrie Ann, the lift stickler, points out the small lift in the routine. “It was manic,” Len says. “You’ve got to calm yourself down.” Trevor and Emma’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 5; Derek = 5; Bruno = 5. Total Score = 25 out of 40. 

The Bachelorette star Gabby Windey teams up with Val Chmerkovskiy, and their first dance is an electric jive to “As It Was” by Harry Styles. “I was blown away,” Carrie Ann admits. Derek goes so far as to say that was “the best dance of the night so far.” Bruno says, “First jive, first class.” Gabby and Val’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 7; Derek = 7; Bruno = 7. Total Score = 28 out of 40. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Joseph Baena is paired with reigning champ Daniella Karagach. They take on the jive to “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas. Len likes his energy but tells him to work on his feet. “I really enjoyed it,” Derek admits. Carrie Ann is looking forward to seeing what else Joseph can do. Joseph and Daniella’s scores: Carrie Ann = 6; Len = 5; Derek = 6; Bruno = 6. Total Score = 23 out of 40. 

Selma Blair & Charli D’Amelio Dazzle On Night One

Jason Lewis and Peta Murgatroyd’s cha-cha to “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers is more than a little shaky. “It was a very disappointing performance,” Len says. Jason and Peta’s scores: Carrie Ann = 5; Len = 4; Derek = 4; Bruno = 5. Total Score = 18 out of 40. 

Charli D'Amelio Mark Ballas
Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas got the highest score of the night. (Disney+)

Selma Blair, who has been battling multiple sclerosis since 2018, and Sasha Farber dazzle with their beautiful Viennese waltz to “The Time of My Life” by David Cook. Jordin is in tears after the powerful performance. “You really created magic tonight,” Bruno says. A tearful Carrie Ann tells Selma that she “danced that like a true artist.” Selma and Sasha’s scores: Carrie Ann = 7; Len = 7; Derek = 7; Bruno = 7. Total Score = 28 out of 40. 

The final performance of the night is Charli D’Amelio and returning pro Mark Ballas. Their cha-cha to “Savage [Major Lazer Remix]” by Megan Thee Stallion is spectacular. “That was amazing,” Carrie Ann says. Len raves over the performance. Derek admits that Charli’s “attack on that cha-cha was fantastic. Charli and Mark’s scores: Carrie Ann = 8; Len = 8; Derek = 8; Bruno = 8. Total Score = 32 out of 40. The highest score of the night!

The First Elimination Of Season 31

Now it’s time for the first results show of the season. The first 5 couples who are safe: Shangela and Gleb, Cheryl and Louis, Selma and Sasha, Jordin and Brandon, and Daniel and Britt. Jessie and Alan are safe as well, along with Trevor and Emma.

The following couples are also safe: Wayne and Witney, Gabby and Val, Joseph and Daniella, Heidi and Artem, Charli and Mark, Vinny and Koko, and Sam and Cheryl. This means that Jason and Peta are in the bottom two, along with Teresa and Pasha. The judges have to decide who to save. Carrie Ann, Derek, and Bruno vote to save Teresa and Pasha, which means Jason Lewis and Peta Murgatroyd are the first to be eliminated in season 31.