Night two of Dancing with the Stars Season 27saw just as many death-defying leaps and lifts as the premiere (and for a while I wondered if I was accidentally Dancing with the Stars: Juniors), but it also saw the first elimination.
For the first time this season, the couples with the lowest combined scores from the judges and votes from the fans had to prove they deserved to stay another week. Surprisingly enough, Grocery Store Joe, who had the lowest score of the evening, didn't find himself in jeopardy, but six other contestants did: Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten, Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko, John Schneider and Emma Slater, Danelle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsevdid, and Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber.
Though John Schneider and Emma Slater found themselves exempt from dancing (probably for the sake of time, to be honest), all the other couples had to dance to stay on the show. Read our full recap of the night below to see who found themselves packing their bags!
Danelle Umstead and Artem Chigvintsev: Foxtrot - "Strong Ones" by Armin van Buuren featuring Cimo Fränkel
The dance: Danelle was understandably intimidated by having to dance another Foxtrot, the dance that put her in jeopardy in the first place. While she definitely struggled at the beginning and even stumbled a couple times in the footwork, Danelle eventually caught up with herself and managed to finish the routine beautifully. There were a few turns there that had her looking like a true pro! She even got a standing ovation!
What the judges said: The judges caught the footwork problems, but ultimately they saw a lot of improvements too. "I saw you get lost and I saw it almost get out of your grasp in the middle there," Carrie Ann said, but she also said that when she saw Danelle recover, she actually improved!
Not the greatest score to get when you're in jeopardy...
Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber: Cha Cha - "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer
The dance: Sasha really cashed in on Mary Lou's ability to move in this dance, filling it to the brim with splits, kicks, hips and fast turns. Honestly, are we sure this lady is 50? Coming out in a solo opening also definitely worked in her favor, since it proved just how talented she is on her own. It also bizarrely makes sense that we'd enjoy her more on her own than with Sasha. Gymnastics is a solo sport, so it's not hard to understand why she thrives on solo choreography and struggles with the partnered stuff.
What the judges said: Mary Lou's timing issues were totally resolved tonight, and the judges loved her long lines and ability to perform under pressure. Bruno paid special attention to the foot placement and purposeful motions.
A little bit better scores for a little bit better dance. Sold!
Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko: Salsa - "Tres Deseos" by Gloria Estefan
The dance: The history of bad buttons on this show continues as Gleb yet again tried to insert some sex appeal into an incredibly awkward Salsa with a shirt rip. Here's the thing, this was not as disastrous as Monday night, but it was still... just bad. For some reason, even after the bad notes on Monday, there were the same amount of body rolls and hip shakes and heel turns — all the stuff Nikki's not great at. I get there wasn't a lot of time to change stuff, but c'mon guys. You had to know that stuff was going to fail again.
What the judges said: Carrie Ann thought Nikki looked a lot more comfortable than she did on Monday night, but complained the technique was just still not there. The words "floppy arms" were used. Eek. Len was much nicer, telling Nikki she controlled the dance rather than let it control her, which he partially attributed to the easier music. Bruno once again was not pleased with the lack of hip action.
Eh, I would have gone with 15
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten: Jive - "Shake the Room" by Gamu
The dance: The fact that Alexis and Alan had to dance at all is preposterous. They gave an outstanding performance on Monday, and she's one of a few contestants this season that's got both rhythm and personality. Maybe the fact that she's an Instagram star is keeping her down here? Instagram, SHOW UP for your girl. Alexis proved again that she's got some major talent, and I actually liked the sexier Jive way more than the cute one from Monday. You do you, girl. You're here to stay.
What the judges said: Just like me, Len and Bruno were absolutely shocked that Alexis ended up in jeopardy (I'm awesome, I know), and they were both very firm about her deserving to be on the show. "If you don't come back, I'm going to show me bum in the supermarket tomorrow," Len declared. Ummmm what? Please, please, please don't eliminate this girl.
The top score, and deservedly so!
Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy: Quickstep - "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves
The dance: If you ignore the matching, glittery yellow outfits that telegraphed "Walking on Sunshine" as loudly as possible, this dance was actually a whole lot of fun. Once again, Nancy and Val gave a great, safe, and very watchable routine. There was nothing flashy or, you know, impressive about it, but the steps were there, mistakes were minimal, and considering the lackluster competition, that's probably enough to keep Nancy around one more week.
What the judges said: I'm not sure whether Bruno's "spinning like a carwash" comment was good or bad, but both Carrie Ann and Len had positive things to say. They even commented that this dance was harder than last night's, making it more impressive that she improved.
Some of those points are for the costumes, right?
Elimination: In a move that should shock no one, America decided that the first couple that should be eliminated this season was Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko. "It sucks, I'm not going to lie," Nikki admitted, getting pretty close to tears, nearly (but not really) making me feel bad for all the criticism. At least she had fun!
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.