'Dancing With the Stars' recap: The first couple is eliminated

For The Baltimore Sun

Right off the bat on Week 2 of “Dancing With the Stars,” we learn that Maks Chmerkovskiy had an injury last week, and we'll learn later in the show what that means for his partner, Heather Morris.

Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev

Cha cha

Nancy is used to criticism from her ice skating days, so she's not used to the positive reinforcement she's getting from Artem.

There's something off with her legs — I hope one of the judges explains what it is. There's nearly a fall at the end after a lift/spin, but they pull it off.

Len Goodman calls it a really nice routine, but says Nancy lost a little bit of control here and there. Julianne Hough says Nancy missed a step at the beginning, which seems to have thrown her off for the rest. She also wants Nancy to extend her arms more. Bruno Tonioli wants crisper footwork. Carrie Ann Inaba thinks Nancy's nerves got the better of her until about halfway through the dance.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko

Foxtrot

Erika will not be an "apologetic" version of herself, she says, so she's never going to dial down the sexy. They've got the Lamborghini on the dance floor; Erika's the driver getting pulled over by Gleb's cop. She rips open his shirt halfway through, so we're still leaning into that stripper vibe.

Julianne says Erika has "such a presence." She thought it was a good balance of Erika and classic foxtrot. Bruno calls it a "sextrot." He praises her lines throughout the routine and her balance. Carrie Ann echoes the balance compliment. She also praises Erika's extensions. Len calls it a Beverly Hills foxtrot and then praises Gleb for some of the specific foxtrot moves he included in the choreography.

Gleb and his wife are expecting their second child, a daughter, so Erin Andrews gives him a pink sequined onesie. It's pretty cute.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

Charo & Keo Motsepe

Paso Doble

Charo has Keo over to her house, where she has a dance floor set up in her backyard. We learn that Charo's father fled Spain when it was under Francisco Franco's rule. She's wearing red to honor her father.

She looks a tiny bit lost at the beginning of the routine, but she's good at working her skirt and stomping her heels flamenco-style. The choreography and synchronization? Not so much.

Tom Bergeron and Keo are both trying to control Charo, and she's too much for either/both of them. Poor Tom is constantly fighting her for the microphone. Bruno's R’s are rolling so much. Carrie Ann loves Charo even though she was a step ahead of Keo the whole time. Len says it had fire, flair, and drama, but that Charo got overexcited and it got too hectic. Julianne compliments her energy.

Erin asks Charo what she thought of the judges' comments, and Charo says she couldn't understand what Bruno was saying because of his accent. Hee.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 6; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 6

Charo starts chewing out Bruno in Spanish and he gives it right back. Tom has their head of security next to him, saying that last year, he protected them when people rushed the stage — this year, he's going to protect them from Charo.

Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd

Foxtrot

Nick's fiancee, Vanessa, is in the rehearsal studio and Peta brings in Shai, her son with fellow dancer Maks Chmerkovskiy.

Nick shows real promise — light on his feet, long lines. He's got some work to do, but I think Peta might get him there. The routine is weird, though; it just abruptly ends.

Carrie Ann says there was a lot of content and it was an improvement from last week. She encourages Nick to breathe and relax more. Len says it was far too hectic and lacked control. Julianne likes the partnership and echoes the comments of the other judges about simplifying the dance. Bruno wants it to be more debonair.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 5; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 6

Heather Morris & Maks Chmerkovskiy/Alan Bersten

Jive

Heather says jive feels a lot like hip-hop, because it's "go, go, go." During rehearsal, Maks pulls up short during a move. It immediately looks like what athletes do when they've torn a muscle, but he's putting weight on it and walking not long after, so I doubt it's as serious as that. However, he's unable to dance this week, so Heather's paired with Alan from the troupe.

Heather gets a little solo moment and is clearly incorporating some hip-hop choreography in that part. I'm wondering what Len will say about that. Tom is clearly picking up on that, teasing Len about his grumpy face.

Len says he likes what jive he saw, but didn't need the hip-hop elements in the routine. Julianne likes the breakout because it was "awesome" and showed us Heather in her comfort zone. Julianne liked the jive and loved the breakdown. But they’re supposed to judge based on the jive, no? Bruno says the second half of the performance was better after Heather got in character during the hip-hop portion. Carrie Ann thinks Heather had that throughout the entire performance.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 6; Julianne: 8 ; Bruno: 8

(I do so enjoy the return of Grumpy Len.)

Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess

Viennese Waltz

Bonner likens the Viennese waltz to the Texas two-step. Sharna says she may try to incorporate some of the Texas two-step into their routine. It's another one that just sort of ends abruptly.

Julianne thinks it was the perfect example of taking something simple and executing it beautifully. She also tries to hint at a showmance between these two. Ugh. Stop that. Bruno thinks Bonner goes a little stiff at times. Carrie Ann likes Bonner’s elegance and refinement. Len says his frame was very good, however, it was a little timid.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 6; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 7

Simone Biles & Sasha Farber

Cha cha

Simone does a handstand in heels and holds it while they're goofing around before their intro package. Impressive. Sasha wants her to be sexy in this week's routine, and she's shy about that.

She's definitely oozing power and strength — not sure if it's exactly sexy, though. It's fierce, for sure.

Bruno calls her "smoldering Simone." Carrie Ann giggles and calls her a "spark plug." Carrie Ann also calls it a clean sexy, but points out that they got out of sync at times. Len compliments Sasha's choreography. Julianne says Simone's body does incredible things.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 8

Chris Kattan & Witney Carson

Jazz

Chris shows Witney the X-ray of all the pins and screws in his neck and spine. It's stopped him from doing some of the physical comedy he was once known for and is why he's doing the show now — because he can. I appreciate his attitude and spirit, but this is really not good dancing.

Carrie Ann says it's a miracle for Chris to be dancing at all, given the extent of his injuries. Len calls it fun and entertaining and better than last week. Julianne says Chris was on beat and got every move right. Bruno enjoyed it.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 5; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 5

Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy

Cha cha

Normani was performing all week with Fifth Harmony in Japan, but she brought Val along for the trip to keep rehearsing. She got to the studio only four hours before showtime. We see a seamstress trimming the fringe on her costume. I would still watch an entire episode just about the costume department on this show.

It's a high-energy routine, and Normani’s sharp with her movements. Len says it was a full routine with "no larking about" at the beginning, and it was terrific. Julianne has nothing but praise. Bruno is excited. Carrie Ann praises Normani’s star quality.

Apparently, Normani is flying to China tonight for the next bit of her tour. Hard-working woman.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater

Viennese waltz

Emma tells Rashad to dig down and think of a time in his life when something important slipped away. He recalls a traumatic breakup from two years ago. Emma has him rehearsing shirtless, and I approve.

He really is so good — quick, sharp, graceful, smooth. He has a few minor technique issues in turns and spins, but he'll get those ironed out, I'm sure.

Julianne is fanning herself because the routine was so hot. She thinks Rashad is leading the dance. That's a big thing for a non-pro male dancer. Bruno wants him to watch his hands, making sure they don't turn into shovels. Carrie Ann thinks Rashad is in control and showing masculinity. Len says it was a bit flat-footed at times, but he liked it.

Erin asks Rashad if he's surprising himself with his dancing; he confirms.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Mr. T & Kym Johnson Herjavec

Paso Doble

Mr. T thinks he wasn't concentrating enough last week. Kym says he's a sweet man who's taking this seriously. This week, he gets to dance to "Eye of the Tiger" from “Rocky III.”

Tom gets his Michael Buffer on, setting up Mr. T and Kym as opponents in a boxing match and yelling, "Let's get ready to rumble!" The dance is a lot of Kym dancing around Mr. T, and the confines of the boxing ring disguise Mr. T's speed by preventing any long runs across the floor.

Bruno says it was a bit internalized and needed bigger moves. Carrie Ann thinks nerves got the best of Mr. T last week and praises him for not missing a step this week. Julianne thinks he's crushing it.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 5; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 5

David Ross & Lindsay Arnold

Cha cha

David's excited about this song — Young MC’s “Bust A Move” — because he used to jam to it back in middle school. He's a total dork, showing off his moves to Lindsay. She says it makes her realize how much work she has to do.

David can't resist mouthing all the words to the opening rap. I'm not sure we needed to see him in drop-crotch pants, though. I will say this: He's clearly having fun and giving it his all. My favorite contestants are the ones who check their dignity at the door.

Carrie Ann is conflicted — she had high expectation based on David’s quickstep last week, and this let her down. Len wants David to work on his footwork because he's pigeon-toed. Julianne thoroughly enjoyed it and compliments David's charisma. She would've liked to have seen more cha cha, though. Bruno wants him to work on his foot placement, but compliments his showmanship.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 6; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

Elimination Results

They've run behind (mostly due to Charo, maybe?) so they rush through the elimination. The first couple in jeopardy is Chris & Witney. Joining them in jeopardy are Charo & Keo. Everybody else is safe. Please let us keep Charo another week, just for fun.

Looks like that’s exactly what we’ll get, as Chris and Witney are the first eliminated.

Scoreboard

Normani & Val: 32

Rashad & Emma: 32

Heather & Alan: 30

Bonner & Sharna: 29

Simone & Sasha: 29

Nancy & Artem: 28

Erika & Gleb: 28

David & Lindsay: 27

Nick & Peta: 25

Charo & Keo: 25

Mr. T & Kym: 22

Predictions

I really hope Mr. T goes next week, for a couple of reasons: 1. His dancing is making me feel sorry for him and I don't like when that happens with a celebrity and 2. Tom clearly delights in Charo's antics, and if something makes Tom happy, it makes me happy.

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