‘Dancing with the Stars’ rankings: Who really gave the best performance on season premiere night? [POLL]

The season 24 premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” aired on Monday, March 20, and the first-night performances were nothing if not surprising. I predicted last week how the judges would score the contestants. Let’s consider those predictions and also judge whether the judges got it right with the scores they gave out. Listed below is how I would rank Monday night’s performances, which doesn’t match the judges’ leaderboard. After reading my analysis vote in our poll at the bottom of this post to let us know who you think gave the best performance of the night.

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1. Simone Biles & Sasha Farber (Tango) – Biles and Farber went last and delivered. I was worried about Biles being able to handle the body contact and intensity needed for the tango, but clearly I needn’t have worried. The dance was full of technical content, and Biles did a great job at bringing the necessary heat.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 8 (Carrie Ann Inaba), 7 (Len Goodman), 7 (Julianne Hough), 8 (Bruno Tonioli) = 30

Actual Scores: 8 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 8 (Hough), 8 (Tonioli) = 32

I agree with the judges on this one. Biles and Farber definitely proved that they are already contenders for the Mirror Ball Trophy.

2. Heather Morris & Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Viennese Waltz) – WOW! Morris lived up to her high expectations. The routine was full of content, simple and elegant. Morris had great chemistry with Chmerkovskiy and did a great job of being vulnerable. They are definitely ones to beat.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 9 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 8 (Hough), 9 (Tonioli) = 33

Actual Scores: 7 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Hough), 7 (Tonioli) = 28

I was surprised that Morris didn’t get higher scores. I personally thought Morris deserved all 8s, and maybe even a 9.

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3. Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater (Cha Cha) – Glad to see Slater paired with a real contender for once. NFL players are natural entertainers and Jennings proved that. It was the most entertaining performance of the night. Jennings handled the choreography with ease and charm that make the viewers want to get up and dance. I predict that Jennings will be the last man standing this season.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 8 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Hough) , 7 (Tonioli) = 29

Actual Scores: 8 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 8 (Hough), 8 (Tonioli) = 31

I felt that the scores from the judges were spot-on after watching this performance. Jennings definitely benefited from having an entertaining dance during the second half of the long two-hour show.

4. Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy (Quickstep) – Overall, I thought her performance was pretty good considering she had the disadvantage of being the first person to perform. I do agree with Goodman & Inaba’s criticism that it took a while for the substance of the dance to get started, but once it did it was great.

My Pre-Show Predictions:  8 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Hough), 8 (Tonioli) = 30

Actual Scores: 7 (Inaba), 6 (Goodman), 7 (Hough), 7 (Tonioli) = 27

Kordei and Chmerkovskiy going first really affected their scores. I personally don’t think they deserved the 6 they got from Goodman considering their content and performance were on par with Morris, Jennings and David Ross who all received 7s from him.

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5. Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev (Viennese Waltz) – I was expecting a lot more from this dance given the elegant sophistication of Kerrigan’s figure skating history. I felt at times, as Hough pointed out, that it was a bit choppy throughout the routine.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 9 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 8 (Hough), 9 (Tonioli) = 34

Actual Scores: 7 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Hough) 7, (Tonioli) = 28

Like Morris, I thought Kerrigan would have received better scores. The Viennese waltz is one of the dances that I expected Kerrigan to excel at.

6. David Ross & Lindsay Arnold (Quickstep) – Ross has charisma and charm that will take him far in the competition. Like the judges said, he was light on his feet and did better than expected.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 6 (Inaba), 5 (Goodman), 6 (Hough), 6 (Tonioli) = 23

Actual Score: 7 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Hough), 7 (Tonioli) = 28

I definitely wasn’t expecting David to receive one of the top scores of the evening. Although his performance was better than expected, I felt that he was a bit over-scored.

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7. Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko (Salsa) – As predicted, Jayne brought the sexiness to the ballroom. Unfortunately, like the judges said, there was very little salsa content, which was disappointing because I think she could have handled it. Nevertheless, Jayne is off to a solid start, and I look forward to her journey on the show.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 7 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Hough), 8 (Tonioli) = 29

Actual Scores: 6 (Inaba), 6 (Goodman), 6 (Hough), 6 (Tonioli) = 24

I was a bit over confident about the score she’d receive. I thought Savchenko would be able to find the perfect balance of content and sexiness for their salsa.

8. Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess (Cha Cha) – Bolton has great potential. He was a tad bit behind the music at times, but he made it up with his chemistry with Burgess. I think he’s definitely going to be a big hit with the female viewers.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 7 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Hough), 7 (Tonioli) = 28

Actual Scores: 6 (Inaba), 5 (Goodman), 5 (Hough), 6 (Tonioli) =  22

I think Bolton deserved better than the 5s he got from Goodman and Hough.

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9. Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd (Cha Cha) – Another diamond in the rough this season. I will say that Viall is the most committed “Bachelor” to appear on the show. However, the routine was a bit disjointed, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the breakdown section of the performance that broke from the style of the cha cha.

My Pre-Show Predictions:  6 (Inaba), 6 (Goodman) , 6 (Hough) , 6 (Tonioli) = 24

Actual Scores: 6 (Inaba), 6 (Goodman), 6 (Hough), 6 (Tonioli) = 24

Turns out I was spot-on predicting these judges’ scores!

10. Charo & Keo Motsepe (Salsa) – Charo did better than I expected (though she scored slightly worse than I predicted). Aside from minor mistakes here and there, she kept up with Motsepe. Although she isn’t the best dancer, her outrageous personality will definitely keep her from fading into the background.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 6 (Inaba), 5 (Goodman), 5 (Hough) , 6 (Tonioli) = 22

Actual Scores: 6 (Inaba), 5 (Goodman), 5 (Hough), 5 (Tonioli) = 21

Once again the judges and I were on a similar page.

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11. Mr. T & Kym Herjavek (Cha Cha) – Mr. T has a commanding presence. Unfortunately, his timing was off throughout the dance, and the routine lacked enough content for the cha cha.

My Pre-Show Predictions:  6 (Inaba),  5 (Goodman), 5 (Hough), 5 (Tonioli) = 21

Actual Scores: 5 (Inaba), 5 (Goodman), 5 (Hough), 5 (Tonioli) = 20

I actually thought the judges were a bit too generous with these scores.

12. Chris Kattan & Witney Carson (Cha Cha) – As I mentioned in my predictions article, comedians rarely do well on this show. Sadly, Kattan proved my theory to be correct. The entire routine was stiff, Kattan lost his footing several times, and it was just painful to watch. If I were a betting man, I would say that Chris is the favorite to be the first to go home.

My Pre-Show Predictions: 6 (Inaba),  5 (Goodman), 5 (Hough), 5 (Tonioli) = 21

Actual Scores: 5 (Inaba), 4 (Goodman), 4 (Hough), 4 (Tonioli) = 17

Ouch! Those scores were pretty low from the judges. I thought he would’ve gotten another couple of 5s.


I think Erika Jayne, Chris Kattan and Mr. T will be the couples in jeopardy, with Chris Kattan being eliminated.

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