Did Mackenzie Ziegler deserve the first perfect score on ‘Dancing with the Stars’: Juniors’ for this paso doble? [WATCH]

The judges on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” kept holding back on their scores, hesitant to go any higher than 9s even as the field narrowed down to the most elite contestants. They changed their tune in a big way during the Semi-Finals, and it all started with the first dancer of the night, Mackenzie Ziegler, who got the first perfect score of the season. Did she really deserve those milestone marks, or did the judges get a little carried away? Watch her paso doble above.

Even Ziegler had been frustrated by her feedback from the judges. She usually got high scores (she has the season’s second best judges’ average), but in her clip package she discussed feeling insecure about the comments from Val Chmerkovskiy, Adam Rippon and Mandy Moore, who usually praised her, but usually added a dose of quibbling or criticism. On one hand, I think it’s fair for the judges to hold her to a different standard since her years of experience on “Dance Moms” gave her a head start relative to her fellow celebs. But I can also understand why a 14-year-old girl working her butt off might not understand exactly where she stands.

Well, now she stands at the top. Perhaps slightly overcompensating for their nitpicking in weeks past, they flooded her with praise. Moore thought her paso doble was “absolutely unreal.” It made Rippon scream with excitement. And Chmerkovskiy liked how “tastefully” she broke the rules. I’m not sure what rules she broke exactly; I’m no scholar of dance, but that looked like a proper paso to me.

They gave her straight 10s for a total of 30 out of 30, which was the first perfect score for any contestant all season. And then the judges kept the floodgates open, giving out another eight 10s over the course of the night, including another perfect 30 to Ziegler’s duo dance with Miles Brown. To compare, the judges had only given out four 10s total from week one to week seven. Did the judges get it right, or did they go a little 10-crazy?

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