Mackenzie Ziegler honored her sister Maddie on ‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors,’ then they danced a surprise trio samba [WATCH]

Our readers have had mixed feelings about Mackenzie Ziegler on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.” She’s one of the most technically gifted celebrity contestants, but a lot of that is due to the fact that her primary claim to fame is dancing. She rose to prominence on “Dance Moms” with her big sister Maddie Ziegler. Mackenzie actually dedicated her performance on Giving Thanks Night to her older sib, and then Maddie even came out midway through the performance to make it a surprise trio dance. But the extent to which Mackenzie was able to keep up with her professional-dancer sis highlighted that Mackenzie is more or less a professional herself. Watch her samba above.

That said, Giving Thanks Night did deal her a notoriously difficult dance style, a samba, which is a far cry from the contemporary and jazz styles she’s trained in. And her execution was damn near flawless despite jam-packed choreography full of intricate samba content and the extra challenge of having a third dancer on stage with her and her pro partner Sage Rosen. So while she may be overqualified for the show, she undoubtedly rose to the occasion.

Judge Val Chmerkovskiy told her, “You killed that,” and he of course could relate to her experience of having an older sibling in the same business, having competed against his brother Maksim Chmerkovskiy for the Mirror Ball Trophy on multiple occasions. Mandy Moore thought Mackenzie’s performance was “full-out” and didn’t hold back. And Adam Rippon thought it was “great” and wanted to know how he could become the third Ziegler sister.

The judges gave her straight 9s for a total of 27 out of 30. That tied her with Ariana Greenblatt and Mandla Morris for second place on the judges’ leaderboard. I actually thought the dance was 10-worthy, but I might have given her a 9 too, if only to level the playing field with her less seasoned celeb rivals. Or maybe I’m being too tough on her. Do you think she gave the best performance of the night? Vote in our poll below to let us know.

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 Sunday 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.

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