‘Dancing with the Stars’ Ballroom Night recap: Who excelled & who was expelled at start of two-night event?

The 13 celebrities competing in season 25 of “Dancing with the Stars” had a couple of weeks to prepare for their first dance in the season premiere episode, but the pressure is on for week two. There are two nights of dances and two nights of eliminations this week, which means the contestants had to learn twice as much choreography in half the time. So who rose to the occasion, and who was sent home first? Scroll down for our complete minute-by-minute live recap.

Monday night was “Ballroom Night,” in which the contestants performed classic ballroom styles: tango, quickstep, foxtrot, or waltz. In last week’s season premiere Lindsey Stirling and Jordan Fisher tied for the top score on the judges’ leaderboard: both received two 7s and an 8 for a total of 21 out of 30. According to our predictions, those two are way ahead of the rest of the pack in the race for the Mirror Ball Trophy, so the expectations for them are now sky-high. That can be a blessing or a curse. Some stars peak too soon — think Simone Biles last season — while early underdogs often develop passionate fan bases as they improve.

The lowest judges’ score of the season premiere went to “Shark Tank” entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran, who received a 4 and two 5s for a total of 14 out of 30. She’s the oldest contestant in the competition at age 68, and no one over 52 has ever won the Mirror Ball. She was forecast to be eliminated going into “Ballroom Night,” but her effervescent personality could make her an unexpected fan favorite. Were we right that she would be sent home? Find out that and more below. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Daniel Montgomery (8:00pm) — And we’ve begun! Everyone ready for “Ballroom Night”?

Debbie Gibson and Alan Bersten – Quickstep – “This is My Time” by Amy Stroup

DM (8:03pm) — “I want to demand even more strength in my body now,” says Gibson about dealing with her physical challenges. Her partner Bersten is impressed by how her body is holding up.

DM (8:04pm) — I’m also mightily impressed by how she held up in that dance. Big improvement from week one I think.

DM (8:06pm)Len Goodman says, “A little bit lacking in control,” but he admired that she came out “full on.” Bruno Goodman wants more “exactitude” in her technique. Carrie Ann Inaba concludes, “Every shape that you hit is so beautifully executed.”

Scores: Carrie Ann (7), Len (6), Bruno (7) = 20 out of 30 — That’s a big boost for her, kudos!

Cordell Martin (8:08pm) — Debbie was surprisingly good tonight.

Jeffrey Kare (8:09pm) — Yeah, I thought she did very well.

DM (8:09pm) — Previewing the upcoming clip packages, it looks like both Frankie Muniz and Drew Scott might have had some injury issues during training this week — yikes.

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev – Waltz – “Come Away with Me” by Norah Jones

DM (8:12pm) — Nikki Bella wanted to “dominate” the dance floor last week, but Goodman thought she lacked confidence and kept looking down. She wants to change that this week. “I’m not just muscles and headlocks … Tonight it’s for my nana.”

DM (8:14pm) — I think Nikki could have been a touch more expressive, but her movements were elegant and on-point. Thumbs up!

DM (8:15pm) — “It was a wonderful transformation,” says Tonioli. Inaba called it “stunning.” And Goodman concluded, “Your head was much better … It had soft, lyrical movements … I would have liked a little more in hold.”

CM (8:16pm) — That was a solid performance.

JK (8:16pm) — It was brief, though still fairly competent.

CM (8:17pm) — I felt that, too much stop and go.

Scores: Carrie Ann (7), Len (7), Bruno (7) = 21 out of 30

CM (8:19pm) — I agree with those scores. Artem did a great job in showing a different side of Nikki.

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas – Quickstep – “Swing Set” by Jurassic 5

DM (8:22pm) — “I was on cloud nine,” said Stirling about her week-one dance and the comments from judges.

DM (8:23pm) — Stirling discusses her struggles with depression, which will be channeled in her dance about transforming from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

DM (8:24pm) — Dear Emmy voters: Stirling’s butterfly dress for Best Costume Design 2018.

DM (8:25pm) — Inaba said, “That creativity — fantastic! … You have this natural elegance” but Stirling’s neck is a still a little “forward.” Goodman added, “This was light, it was bright, it was fun, it was entertaining,” but he complains that Ballas’s choreography didn’t maintain hold. Tonioli concluded, “Wonderful,” but she needs to work on finishing the movements with her arms.

JK (8:27pm) — Now that was exciting, very energetic!

Scores: Carrie Ann (7), Len (7), Bruno (7) = 21 out of 30

CM (8:28pm) — Underscored!

Barbara Corcoran and Keo Motsepe – Tango – “Whatever Lola Wants” by Sarah Vaughan

DM (8:31pm) — Barbara felt she could use a “stiff whiskey” after rough scores from the judges for their first dance.

DM (8:32pm) — “I’m going to dance with my heart and my soul, I’m going to will it,” Barbara insisted about her approach to tonight’s dance.

DM (8:34pm) — Len started off by saying, “I would like a little more of an exaggerated top line … However, it was better than last week.” Bruno added, “You’ve been investing in the right things — especially Keo … It was a proper, recognizable tango.” Carrie Ann concluded, “You radiated a new elegance. You were more relaxed when you danced.”

CM (8:35pm) — A little slow, but much better than last week.

JK (8:35pm) — Yeah, I thought it was kind of weak at first, though she did get better throughout.

DM (8:36pm) — I agree. Solid, respectable job, much cleaner than his performance last week.

Scores: Carrie Ann (6), Len (5), Bruno (6) = 17 out of 30 — She gained an extra point from each judge compared to last week, and well deserved.

Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd – Foxtrot – “Mandy” by Barry Manilow

DM (8:37pm) — “We have to beat them!” insisted Peta Murgatroyd about their rivalry with their spouses Maks Chmerkovskiy and Vanessa Lachey.

DM (8:41pm) — Bruno said, “It started well, but something happened … a little bit jagged and unsteady” — apparently there was a slight wardrobe malfunction that caused an error. Carrie Ann “disagreed … I already saw an improvement on week two … You need to open up and round your movements.” Len concluded, “Last week I was so pleased with you … [This] was too fragile.”

DM (8:42pm) — I think I’m inclined to agree with Len, it was a little too constrained and timid.

CM (8:43pm) — Looks like Nick will be giving Vanessa another foot rub [after she outscores him again tonight].

JK (8:44pm) — I’d probably be concerned if I was Nick.

CM (8:45pm) — I predict we’ll see Nick get higher scores for his Argentine tango tomorrow night.

Scores: Carrie Ann (7), Len (6), Bruno (6) = 19 out of 30

DM (8:47pm) — I’m surprised Carrie Ann gave him the same score as Lindsey Stirling, who I’d put much farther ahead tonight.

Drew Scott and Emma Slater – Quickstep – “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima

DM (8:48pm) — Drew felt like he hurt his hamstring during rehearsals, though it didn’t seem urgent enough to slow him down. We’ll see.

DM (8:49pm) — I’d say that was a drastic improvement from week one, though still a tad unwieldy in places.

DM (8:50pm) — Carrie Ann said, “What a fantastic routine! You have the highest knee skips in the whole world … Some of your movements are very lanky … You entertained us all.” Len added, “It’s all too loose, it’s gangly … What I like it your enthusiasm.” Bruno concluded, “That is a fantastic, luxury performance … You really held your own, especially on that Charleston section in the end.”

JK (8:52pm) — Drew Scott and Emma Slater – Quickstep – “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima

CM (8:52pm) — Loved the opening, but felt it lagged in the middle.

Scores: Carrie Ann (7), Len (6), Bruno (7) = 20 out of 30

DM (8:53pm) — Okay, I do think those scores were a little high compared to other performance we’ve already seen tonight.

CM (8:55pm) — I agree [that he was overscored]! We might have a David Ross on our hands.

JK (8:57pm) — That may very well be.

Vanessa Lachey and Maks Chmerkovskiy – Foxtrot – “Hit Me with a Hot Note” by Tami Tappan Damiano

CM (8:58pm) — Will Vanessa live up to the hype?

DM (8:59pm) — “Maks is very intense,” Vanessa admitted about her partner’s tough training, so tough that she injured herself too — bloody toe! This week is really taking its toll on the dancers.

DM (9:00pm) — Len said, “I liked it.” Bruno added, “It was like watching Ava Gardner at her sultriest … As a foxtrot, it could not be foxier.” Carrie Ann concluded, “You’re a superstar … Your movements are stunning.”

JK (9:02pm) — OK, the best dance of the night so far has to go to Vanessa! It’s also quite astonishing how she was able to do it with a damaged toe.

CM (9:02pm) — I agree!

Scores: Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (8) = 24 out of 30 — The highest score of the season so far.

CM (9:04pm) — Well deserved!

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson – Tango – “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons

DM (9:04pm) — “I’m pushing him even harder this week,” said Witney about her work with Frankie this week. But his back injury is taking its toll with two dances to learn.

DM (9:06pm) — Wow, I was surprised by how good that tango was. I was worried about him being able to maintain posture in hold, but I thought it was dynamite.

DM (9:07pm) — Bruno said, “Right on target … You didn’t miss one step.” Carrie Ann added, “You guys are this really incredible, dynamic couple.” Len concluded, “You went after that like a boiling kettle … I thought it was a little over-aggressive … Overall, I thought you did a good job.”

Scores: Carrie Ann (8), Len (7), Bruno (8) = 23 out of 30

JK (9:09pm) — Frankie and Witney’s dance … stunning!

CM (9:19pm) — I agree.

DM (9:09pm) — I would not have expected Frankie to be such a contender this season. He’s my favorite dark horse right now.

CM (9:10pm) — Who would’ve thought Frankie Muniz would be a contender?

JK (9:11pm) — Well, he was always on my wish list to be a celebrity contestant, so it looks like it’s paying off.

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke – Foxtrot – “Pillow Talk” by ZAYN

DM (9:13pm) — “I did feel like we should have gotten some better scores … I know that I’m more than one point better than Barbara,” said Terrell about their scores from week one. I’m not sure I disagree, but that was kind of an unnecessary burn.

DM (9:15pm) — Carrie Ann said, “It’s getting hot in here. Season 25 just got steamy. Where was all that last week? … So much more expressive.” Len added, “I don’t get it, this is ballroom night. It was a little bit too raunchy for me” — Len is the king of audience boos tonight. Bruno concluded, “It was a sextrot straight into the bedroom.”

CM (9:17pm) — LOL, was this a Foxtrot?

Scores: Carrie Ann (7), Len (6), Bruno (7) = 20 out of 30

JK (9:18pm) — Most of the judges seemed to have appreciated his performance.

DM (9:19pm) — I thought it was okay, not one my favorites of the night, I think Carrie Ann is just throwing 7s at everyone.

CM (9:19pm) — I thought he improved a lot from last week, but I agree with Len. Also T.O.’s [combative] clip package didn’t paint him in the best light in my opinion.

Sasha Pieterse and Gleb Savchenko – Viennese Waltz – “I’m Going Down” by Rose Royce

DM (9:22pm) — “Last week, my nerves definitely got the better of me,” said Pieterse. I’ve got high hopes for her, but she definitely needs to be more emotionally present in her performance. So she’s getting some help from her acrobatic dancer parents during rehearsals.

DM (9:24pm) — Big improvement from last week, I think, but we’ll see what the judges think.

DM (9:25pm) — Len said, “I think you’ve got a really nice position in hold … Knocked my socks off.” Bruno added, “You have to watch your free arm … You were like karate chopping things.” Carrie Ann argued, “What are you talking about [Bruno]? … [Gleb] allowed her really to shine tonight … You are a star.”

JK (9:27pm) — I don’t know about anyone of you, but I though Sasha just did a decent job.

CM (9:27pm) — I agree. She needs her parents in rehearsal every week.

Scores: Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (7) = 23 out of 30

CM (9:28pm) — Overscored.

DM (9:28pm) — I thought that was a lovely improvement from last week and much more expressive, but 8s are a little high for that performance if you ask me.

JK (9:29pm) — Maybe the performances are much better to watch in person.

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy – Tango – “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift

DM (9:32pm) — Victoria explained how emotional she was to watch her clip package before her performance last week. “You dancing showed a lot of people that anything is possible,” said her partner Val.

DM (9:35pm) — This song is Taylor Swift, but I feel like Victoria is channeling Britney Spears from “Toxic” way more — that’s a compliment.

DM (9:35pm) — Bruno said, “That was a tough-cookie tango … Very clever, very well executed.” Carrie Ann added, “Every single movement looked so polished … Your technique is fantastic, and I have no idea how you’re doing it.” Len concluded, “I thought that was a super duper dance.”

JK (9:37pm) — That was an excellent routine.

Scores: Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (8) = 24 out of 30

CM (9:38pm) — Wow, tied for first!

Derek Fisher and Sharna Burgess – Foxtrot – “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” by Ray Charles

DM (9:42pm) — “It gives Derek an opportunity to show a completely different side to him,” said Sharna about how the dance style will show off Derek’s skills. Derek’s mother is on hand for moral support, and she’s delightful.

DM (9:45pm) — Carrie Ann commented, “There’s something very magical about you … but you dance a little small … This is your court now, and you need to own the whole thing.” Len added, “It was fun, and it was lighthearted, and there was a joy about it … Work a little bit more on finesse and technique.” Bruno concluded, “It had an upbeat, joyful feel … You play off each other very well … Yes, your technique is a bit lacking.”

JK (9:47pm) — Derek seemed to have improved from last week.

Score: Carrie Ann (6), Len (6), Bruno (7) = 19 out of 30

DM (9:48pm) — I thought he was a bit underscored. Of the sportsball contestants this season, I actually prefer him to Terrell Owens, who scored a point higher.

CM (9:49pm) — Heck, at least Derek attempted a proper foxtrot, unlike Terrell.

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold – Viennese Waltz – “Count on Me” by Judah Kelly

DM (9:51pm) — They’re giving Jordan the last dance slot of the night. I wonder if he might move back up in our predictions next week since Lindsey Stirling scored in the middle of the pack tonight. But a lot can happen tomorrow night for “Latin Night.”

DM (9:52pm) — “We set a standard [in week one],” said Jordan in his clip package. “That sets the bar extremely high for us,” added Lindsay.

DM (9:55pm) — Len said of this performance, “I liked it, but it was a tad staccato for me.” And Carrie Ann added, “It’s undeniable how incredible you are … I’d like to see more ballroom nuances … but you are amazing.”

Scores: Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (8) = 24 out of 30 — That ties him for the lead for the second time this season.


DM (9:58pm) — First couple in jeopardy: Terrell and Cheryl.

DM (9:58pm) — Second couple in jeopardy: Barbara and Keo.

DM (9:59pm) — And the eliminated contestant is … Barbara Corcoran. I think that’s a reasonable elimination given their performances, but I keep hoping for better for Keo, eliminated first for the third time in his “DWTS” career.

JK (10:00pm) — Not terribly surprised about her.

CM (10:00pm) — Me too. T.O. or Debbie will go home tomorrow.

CM (10:01pm) — Top three dances of the night: Lindsey and Mark, Vanessa and Maks, and Jordan and Lindsay.

Complete Judges’ Leaderboard

1. Victoria Arlen — 24
1. Jordan Fisher — 24
1. Vanessa Lachey — 24
4. Frankie Muniz — 23
4. Sasha Pieterse — 23
6. Nikki Bella — 21
6. Lindsey Stirling — 21
8. Debbie Gibson — 20
8. Terrell Owens — 20
8. Drew Scott — 20
11. Derek Fisher — 19
11. Nick Lachey — 19
13. Babrara Corcoran — 17

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