In the second week of the competition on “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes,” with another double elimination looming, the eight remaining contestants performed two dances (one individual and one team) in hopes of surviving the brutal cut. With guest judge and season 24 champ Rashad Jennings on the panel, which stars got some much-needed assistance in getting to the Mirror Ball Trophy? We know what the judges thought. Below are my rankings of who shined and who flopped this week.
1. Mirai Nagasu & Alan Bersten – Foxtrot (Score: 37 out of 40)
Mirai felt a bit disappointed with last week’s scores. As an athlete, she’s very critical of herself and always wants to perform at her best. That type of pressure might have broken other contestants, but it lit a fire in Mirai on Monday night. Her foxtrot with her partner Alan was magical in every sense. It was full of content, graceful and elegant throughout. This dance showed how strong a contender she is even more than last week’s.
2. Adam Rippon & Jenna Johnson – Quickstep (Score: 37 out of 40)
After topping the leaderboard last week with his sassy and entertaining cha cha, Adam felt pressure to stay on top while juggling his busy schedule. But as usual Adam was the consummate showman. Although their quickstep didn’t have quite the same entertainment factor as their cha cha, Adam and his partner Jenna were nevertheless in top form and topped the leaderboard for the second week.
3. Chris Mazdzer & Witney Carson – Viennese Waltz (Score: 33 out of 40)
Chris earns award for the most improved dancer this week. After placing in the middle of the pack in the season premiere, he came into his own in episode two with a flowing and suave Viennese waltz. He is one of those contestants who could have been a serious threat to win if this season were longer than four weeks. But if he continues to improve at this rate he still might be able to sneak his way into the finals.
4. Tonya Harding & Sasha Farber – Quickstep (Score: 33 out of 40)
Last week Tonya showed a vulnerable side that the public might not have been aware she had. It was a breakthrough that helped her connect with the audience. This week Tonya and her partner Sasha wanted to show her country roots with a quickstep to Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman.” On paper this had the potential to be a hot mess. However, Tonya once again impressed me with her stamina as well as her ability to stay in sync with Sasha. This was another great performance by the comeback kid and her partner.
5. Arike Ogunbowale & Gleb Savchenko – Foxtrot (Score: 33 out of 40)
Last week judge Carrie Ann Inaba challenged the Notre Dame college basketball champ to dance in high heels for her week-two foxtrot. I’m not going to lie, I had pretty low expectations going into this dance, but was pleasantly surprised with the results. I thought she brought the right emotion to the dance and really held her own throughout. Unfortunately, with such a short season, Arike wasn’t able to continue her momentum and journey on the show, and she was abruptly eliminated at the end of the night.
6. Josh Norman & Sharna Burgess – Paso Doble (Score: 30 out of 40)
After tying for first place last week, all eyes were on NFL cornerback Josh Norman and his partner Sharna. This week they opened the show with a fiery paso doble. I loved the opening of the dance, and overall I thought he did a great job delivering the aggression of the paso, though he was stiff during parts of the dance. With three stars being eliminated next week instead of two, I wonder if Josh might fall victim to peaking too soon.
7. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Lindsay Arnold – Salsa (Score 26 out of 40)
Kareem continued to prove that age ain’t nothing but a number. His salsa this week had more oomph to it than his cha cha in the season premiere. Lindsay did a great job of choreographing a clever and fun routine that made the audience smile. I wasn’t surprised that Kareem was one of the eliminated stars this week, but I was grateful to see him go out with a bang.
8. Jennie Finch Daigle & Keo Motsepe – Cha Cha (Score: 26 out of 40)
Jennie really needed to have a standout dance this week. During rehearsals she felt the need to change the song she and Keo were dancing to due to its “risque” content. But in doing so Jennie and Keo missed out on several days of practice as they had to scramble to learn a new song and routine. That last-minute gamble definitely showed in her performance. I could tell her nerves got to her as she went off timing a bit, and she didn’t seem as comfortable as she did last week. I predicted her to be one of the contestants to go home, but she survived. But with three eliminations next week, I don’t see Jennie making it to the finals.
I thought both team dances did a great job of incorporating teamwork into their routines. Team 1950s Tennis (Josh, Chris, Tonya, and Kareem) was more entertaining, while Team 1970s Football (Arike, Jennie, Mirai and Adam) was more polished. Overall I agreed with the judges that Team Football deserved the win.
Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.