Team 1950s Tennis had their work cut out for them in the team dances on “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes.” The group brought together Chris Mazdzer, Tonya Harding, Josh Norman and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who were up against intimidating opponents, Team 1970s Football, which included Mirror Ball front-runner Adam Rippon and high-flying Mirai Nagasu. Indeed, the Team Tennis wasn’t quite able to overtake its rival group, but they still entertained with a “witty, imaginative, creative” routine performed to a cover of Britney Spears‘s “Baby One More Time.”
From the start this team was the underdog — even our readers thought Team 1970s Football would win the head-to-head match-up. Abdul-Jabbar had received low scores from the judges in his individual routines, and his height must have been a challenge to choreograph around. But they still received solid scores: 8s from regular judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, plus a 9 from guest judge Rashad Jennings, for a total of 33 out of 40. That was four points shy of the marks earned by Team Football, but they still put smiles on the judges’ faces.
Watch their routine above, and see what the judges had to say about their performance below. Do you think the judges got it wrong? Vote in our poll at the bottom of this post to let us know who you thought really had the better team performance on Monday night.
Len Goodman: “Well, there’s a 10 in tennis, but there’s not quite a 10 in this routine. However, it was tight, it was together. I loved all those tennis references. Each one came out and did their individual part, which I thought was great. Well done, lovely job.”
Bruno Tonioli: “I’m not sure you’re going to make the final of the US Open — maybe you need to bring Serena Williams in. But I have to say, some of you definitely will make the finals on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ That was witty, imaginative, creative. Everybody had the chance to shine. The sync wasn’t too bad. So job well done.”
Carrie Ann Inaba: “I applaud you guys. Never in the history [of ‘DWTS’] have we had to learn two dances so quick, and it looked so effortless for most of you. There was a little bit of a boo-boo, Josh, at the beginning. You were a little out of sync for that first bit. But other than that I loved the camaraderie. It really felt like a team dance. There was so much fun, and the way you worked with someone who’s very, very tall — you never stood out, not in a bad way. You all stood out in a great way.”
Rashad Jennings: “This is just the second week and you all had to learn two dances. The team dance is tough. I remember being there. And what I was looking for was to have a good time, and I completely, 100-percent feel I had a great time. Nobody out-shined. You all worked together. Job well done.”
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