After an extended wait for the 26th season of Dancing With the Stars, the season started off with a bang on Monday, April 30 when not one but two athlete competitors were eliminated!
As fans know, this season of Dancing With the Stars has a few changes on the go including a revamped set, only celebrity athletes competing and a shortened four week season.
The first night included a special two-hour premiere and after all the athletes showed off their first dances, it was announced that three couples were in jeapardy of going home: Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber, Johnny Damon and Emma Slater, and Jamie Anderson and Artem Chigvintsev. While Johnny Damon had one of the lowest scores of the night, Harding had the second highest which made her inclusion in the bottom three surprising.
In the end it was Harding and Farber who were announced safe, sending MLB player Johnny Damon and Emma Slater, and snowboarder Jamie Anderson and Artem Chigvintsev home.
As for the rest, it was NFL player Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess who stood out the most when they danced the Cha Cha to “Finesse” by Bruno Mars. The judges were quick to note that Norman’s natural athleticism was going to go a long way and it is clear he and Burgess have chemistry, landing them a high score of 24/30. Tied with them were Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson who did a Cha Cha to “Sissy that Walk” by RuPaul. Close behind were Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber who scored a 23/30 for their Foxtrot to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey’s “When You Believe,” and Mirai Nagasu and Alan Bersten who scored a 23/30 for their Salsa to “No Excuses” by Meghan Trainor.
In the middle of the pack were luge Olympian Chris Mazdzer and Witney Carson who scored 21/30 for their Salsa to “Mr. Put It Down” by Ricky Martin feat. Pitbull. Jennie Finch Daigle and Keo Motsepe also scored 21 for their Foxtrot to “All-American Girl” by Carrie Underwood. Scoring slightly less were Arike Ogunbowale and Gleb Savchenko who scored 20/30 for their Salsa to “Them Girls” by Whitney Myer.
Then of course there were Jamie Anderson and Artem Chigvintsev who were eliminated for their score of 19 after their Viennese Waltz to “Feeling Good” by Avicii. Johnny Damon and Emma Slater were eliminated after their Foxtrot to “Centerfield” by John Fogerty only earned 18 points, and in very last place was basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lindsay Arnold who only scored a 17 for their Cha Cha to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder, but were safe from the bottom three.
Dancing with the Stars: Athletes airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.