There were tears, stage villains looking for love, seeking redemption from infamy, making history—and some seriously good dancing.
Season 30 “dancing with the Stars” Monday’s first night exploded with 15 stars turning into ballroom dancing wildcards. They all brought their own brand of dance floor swagger with them.
Host and executive producer Tyra Banks has walked the floor with even more confidence since her rookie season, bringing several changes to her trademark. Len Goodman, stranded in England due to the COVID-19 pandemic last season, returned to the chair of chief justice (one of four judges along with Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Derek Hough).
All the dancers survived the night, with the first elimination due the following Monday. Here are the key moments:
‘DWTS’ cast revealed! ‘Cobra Kai’ star Martin Cove, Peloton’s Cody Rigsby, Olivia Jade join the season
Spice Girls Melanie C is no ‘wannabe’ on the dance floor
The day after the 25th anniversary of the Spice Girls hit “Wannabe” (originally released on September 19, 1996), sporty Spice made a powerful statement on the dance floor. Paired with the shirtless Gleb Savchenko forever, Mel C, 47, was the first person to walk out the gate with a cha cha… wait for it, “wannabe.”
It was a joyful romp, even though the smile was a bit more steady (call it the opening act nerve).
“You won’t be taking any taxis home in the near future,” said fellow Brit judge Goodman. Mel C scored 27 out of 40, setting the tone for the night.
‘Bachelor’ Matt James rocking crocs, swaying hips
Along with pro dancer Lindsay Arnold, “The Bachelor” star Matt James, 29, showed himself as a quirky dance partner wearing Crocs at their first filmed rehearsal. Come dance time, James rocked a charismatic cha cha to Rick James’s “Give It to Me Baby,” where he demonstrated an impressive stage presence and body rolls as if he had no spine. Somehow he glanced at the camera with a beaming smile in the eyes of the TV audience, saying, “Good times.”
“Your future is going to be pink,” Goodman said of James’ post “Bachelor” dance future.Bad sentence, but true.
Both scored 24 out of 30.
Jojo Siwa creates history with partner Jenna Johnson, rises to the top
YouTube and “Dance Moms” star Jojo Siwa, who Came out as a member of the LGBTQ community Earlier this year, her historic, previously gay “DWTS” pro partner was revealed to be Jenna Johnson. During rehearsals, Siwa, 18, asked her partner, “Who’s technically a friend in this situation?” While practicing your traditional ballroom dance.
The quick step dance to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”—a dance perfectly suited to Siwa’s dancing skills—were both wearing matching outfits and simply en fuego. In a surprising moment, Johnson slipped into a move and Siwa somehow managed to catch him and drag him back to his feet, without actually missing a beat.
“History just happened on ‘Dancing With the Stars,'” Banks said dramatically at the end of the number.
“It was a pivotal moment,” Tonioli said. “I’m drunk.”
Both secured the top spot with 29 out of 40 points.
Wrestling villain ‘The Miz’ was not a heel
Perhaps the biggest question marks on the dance floor were answered with an exclamation point. WWE Superstar villain, and self-described “ego jerk,” Mike “The Miz” Mizanin was born for the nationally televised dance floor. In a Tommy Bahama-esque Hawaiian shirt without body oil, The Miz, 40, swore, “I’m going to get off this dance floor.” He then showed off surprisingly nimble footwork, gaudy and a beaming smile with fellow supporter Witney Carson.
“Whitney, you’ve tamed the beast,” Tonioli said as the judges rolled with straight sixes. “You were incredible.”
The pair scored 24 out of 30.
Olivia Jade swings from scandal to salsa
Olivia Jade, the daughter of “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, who was at the center of the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, mentioned in her opening video segment that she “has been implicated in the scam.” But he vowed to reveal another side.
“I’m not trying to draw the mercy card, I just need to move on and do better,” said 21-year-old Jade. “I want to show people that I have a different side, I have a work ethic.”
In a ruffled green dress, Jade showed off an impressive salsa with partner Val Chmerkovskiy, as her older sister Isabella Rose, 23, watched from the audience. Inaba, who commented on Jade’s “great lines and great feet,” said, “It’s the beginning of a new chapter.”
Jade scored a solid 25 out of 40.
Suni Lee showed grace and patience of gold medal
It’s going to be a fascinating journey to see Olympic gymnastics star 18-year-old Suni Lee breaking out of her shell and showing us the man behind the contestant. Her moments on the opening night of “DWTS” featured a pizza-loving teenager who’s really sure she can’t really dance. Pairing up with pro dancer Sasha Farber, Lee shows off moments of raw athletic awkwardness—bouncing off a split with startling enthusiasm and delivering precise kicks and flicks into his jive.
“My golden girl, you can live the baby,” said Tonioli. Huff summed it up with his critique: “A little less perfection, a little more perfection.”
Both scored 28 out of 40 marks.
Martin Cove shows no mercy to Paso Doble
“Cobra Kai” and “Karate Kid” star Martin Cove, 74, the oldest dancer in the competition, flashed his arch-villain John Craze. Before that his paso doble had started.
Cove inaugurated with a pre-dance lecture, exhorting, “Weakness doesn’t exist in the ballroom.” He then danced the halting paso doble, performed some martial arts moves, and had fellow Brit Stewart run around the floor as flames emanated from a stage machine. Tonioli called the machines “unprepared”. Goodman called it “a heroic effort”, but still gave a rare 3 points, sending Cove to the bottom of the leader board.
He got 13 marks out of 40.
Amanda Kloots brought tears to the dance floor
“The Talk” Co-Host Amanda Kloots Talking about the 2020 death of her husband Nick Cordero took an emotional walk. “I miss him every day,” Kloots, 39, said in tears in his introductory video. On Monday night, she proceeded to hit a smoking hot tango with pro partner Alan Burston. was a complete re-emergence Former “Talk” Co-Host and Judge Inab in tears.
“You brought tears to my eyes. I know what you’re doing. Nick is looking down on you,” said Inaba, who braced himself to offer quick advice. “Oh and watch the placement of your neck.”
The clots scored 28 out of 40 points.
Brian Austin Green out with his girlfriend
The “Beverly Hills, 90210” star surprised absolutely no one when it was revealed that his pro dance partner would be real-life girlfriend Sharna Burgess — the rare couple going to the competition.
Green and Burgess show enough pairing power to make the Bravo reality show wiggle for their mobile phones. “If I mess it up, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sharna left me,” Green, 48, said in her video. The two opened their tango with a fiery kiss and performed a stormy dance.
The pair scored 24 out of 30.
“Dancing with the Stars” returns for First Elimination on September 27 (ABC, 8 EDT/PDT).