Dancing with the Stars season 27 premiere part 1 review and recap

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Nikki Glaser and Gleb Savchenko (17: 6, 5, 6)

Also tackling the salsa, Nikki Glaser didn’t seem quite as comfortable on the floor as the previous dance. She didn’t seem to inhabit the character well, and she seemed to just be trying to get some humor into her performance, judging by her facial expressions.

“It wasn’t a total trainwreck,” Bruno said, while Len got the first boo of the season by calling it “awkward.”

Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten (21: 7, 7, 7)

With classic styling, Alexis Ren came out with some charm, even though there was a brief moment where the camera didn’t quite catch the actual dance. She seemed to have a better time of it than Bobby Bones at least, and she was able to pull off some of the basic jive tricks and made an impressively solid attempt at jive even considering the low bar of week 1. “Really well-rehearsed … really well-choreographed,” Carrie Ann pointed out.

John Schneider and Emma Slater (18: 7, 5, 6)

With the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard on the dance floor, John Schneider and Emma Slater had a smaller playing field than expected. And there was a certain charm to it, which Carrie Ann commented on. Len dubbed it a “good effort.” That’s about all this one was, but he’s better than some of the older gentlemen of recent seasons.

Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong (23: 8, 7, 8)

Make no mistake about it: Tinashe’s feet were flying during this first jive. Even though this is Brandon Armstong’s first season teaching a celeb, he seems to have lucked into the right partner, because she brought a performance to the first week. Len had notes along the same lines, while Bruno and Carrie Ann disagreed on how much Tinashe got to stand out. (I’m on Team Bruno, for the record. She owned that dance.)

Nancy McKeon and Val Chmerkovskiy (18: 6, 6, 6)

Paying close attention to her face, Nancy McKeon seemed to be alternating between seriously thinking about her next steps and having the time of her life in a starting quickstep. (Can’t blame her for either: Val Chmerkovskiy is a good partner, but quickstep is hard.) But she did get into the dance. “Body contact,” urged Carrie Ann, picking up Bruno’s comments about her balance.

Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson (14: 5, 4, 5)

“Grocery Store Joe” noted that he really doesn’t like his nickname, and would like to be dubbed “Dancing Joe” instead.

Unfortunately, no one got the memo for the staging of his first quickstep, which featured glittery shopping carts. He may not have earned “Dancing Joe” yet, but he’s trying his very best. He was a bit stiff, to put it kindly, and he wasn’t suited to the quickstep. Len looked pained, which says it all.

DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold (23: 8, 7, 8)

As his pre-show video noted, football and dancing aren’t very similar, but feet skills do translate over, and DeMarcus Ware had some pretty good feet. He did seem to be thinking pretty heavily during parts, and his expression seemed a little pasted on — but that was pretty fun all the same, with a subtle (for Dancing with the Stars) nod to his most famous team.

Just judging by scores alone, it’s probably Joe and Jenna’s time to go on tonight’s show. However, as Tom Bergeron noted last night, there’s a huge Bachelor fanbase out there, one that might very well save him for another week. Putting 18 as the relatively safe cutoff point for week 1, that leaves Nikki Glaser in the line of fire. If we include 18s as being in danger, then John and Emma becoming the eliminated couple seems a bit likely. Nostalgia can only take you so far, and his most famous show is pretty old.

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Which couple surprised you on Dancing with the Stars last night? Who are you keeping an eye on for tonight’s show?