‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Which unlucky celeb went home in ‘First Elimination’? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Dancing with the Stars” normally airs on Monday nights, but the second episode of season 29 broadcast on Tuesday, September 22, so the celebs had one extra day to prepare these routines. But no matter how good they all were, one of them was bound to go home in the season’s “First Elimination.” So who got the boot after the judges’ scores were combined with viewer votes? Scroll down for our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments and commentary as they happen.

Disney Channel actress Skai Jackson and “One Day at a Time” star Justina Machado tied for first place on the judges’ leaderboard in week one with scores of 21 out of 30 from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli. And bringing up the rear was “Tiger King” animal activist Carole Baskin with 11 out of 30, but there was still a chance for the cat lover to move up the ranks since the scores from the season premiere were combined with the scores from week two.

And viewers got to vote live during tonight’s show to help decide the results. With votes split between 15 celebs, this could be one of the most unpredictable results yet. And oftentimes a contestant with last-place scores will get a boost from voters since their fans are motivated to save them from the chopping block. That means getting scores that land you in the middle of the pack can be just as dangerous as ending up at the bottom. So it’s not over until it’s over. Follow along below starting at 8:00pm for tonight’s play-by-play (times listed are Eastern).

Daniel Montgomery, 8:02pm — “DWTS” gunning to take that Costume Design Emmy from “RuPaul” and “The Masked Singer” with these Tyra outfits.

Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson (Cha Cha)

Daniel, 8:03pm –Nev was a pleasant surprise in week one. I think he’s a contender, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the cha cha.

Cordell Martin, 8:04pm — There was no hip action. However, he has beautiful lines.

Daniel, 8:04pm — Solid, got off to a slow start, hit the moves well, could’ve used a little more soul.

Jeffery Kare, 8:05pm — Though I thought the routine was at least energetic.

JUDGES — “By the beard of Zeus that is a lot of chest hair,” says Derek about the sensational chest hair, but Nev should watch his shoulders. Bruno thought the “gyrations were mind-boggling.” Carrie calls him “a really incredible dancer” with great arm placement.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Derek (7), Bruno (7) = 21

Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten (Samba)

Cordell, 8:08pm — Samba in week two?

Daniel, 8:09pm — Oof, giving her the dreaded samba in week two. Maybe she’s better off getting it out of the way early while she’s relatively safe.

Daniel, 8:10pm — Oops, spoke too soon. Big stumble in the middle there.

Cordell, 8:11pm — That was scary.

JUDGES — Bruno says, “Things happen … but I still believe in you” because when she gets it right she’s stellar. Carrie Ann thought she would be on top of the leaderboard before the mistake, and Skai needs to work on her arm placement. Derek adds, “A setback sets you up for a comeback.”

Jeffrey, 8:12pm — Not as good as their performance from last week, but still pretty good.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (5), Derek (5), Bruno (5) = 15

Daniel, 8:13pm — Man, I thought they’d give her the benefit of 6s.

Daniel, 8:14pm — And just like that we get news that Kaitlyn Bristowe might be injured. For a second I thought Tyra Banks was about to announced that someone got COVID. But it sounds like her performance tonight is in question.

Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart (Tango)

Daniel, 8:16pm — Johnny Weir dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” sounds totally perfect. He skated to a instrumental version of “Poker Face” as a figure skater, so he definitely has an advantage there.

Cordell, 8:18pm — Oh this should be good.

Daniel, 8:18pm — A little stiffer than I expected from him, but a solid effort.

Cordell, 8:19pm — I feel like it was missing something.

Jeffrey, 8:19pm — Almost terrific!

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought the footwork was off. Derek loved the “Johnny drama,” but he needs to watch his frame and his right arm. Bruno says Lady Gaga really inspired him, but he needs to get more “staccato” in his movements.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Derek (6), Bruno (6) = 18

Daniel, 8:21pm — He hasn’t found his footing quite as quickly as other figure skaters have.

Justina Machado and Sasha Farber (Foxtrot)

Daniel, 8:21pm — With Skai’s misstep in her performance, the door is open for Justina to own the top of the leaderboard when you combine the two weeks.

Daniel, 8:23pm — Could’ve used a tiny bit more flair, but Justina is a real natural.

Jeffrey, 8:24pm — I thought that was a lovely performance.

Cordell, 8:24pm — I thought it was a great performance. I love how expressive she is.

JUDGES — Derek thought she was a “natural, beautiful dancer.” He loved the feather step and her leg lines. Bruno loves watching her: “You make me happy … You dance from the heart,” but she needs to clean up her turns her turns. Carrie Ann was “transported into a film with a happy ending, and it was magical.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Derek (7), Bruno (7) = 21

Daniel, 8:26pm — That might just secure the top of the leaderboard for her, unless someone else pulls some 8s.

Cordell, 8:26pm — At this rate maybe Kaitlyn or AJ.

Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy (Jive)

Daniel, 8:30pm — She had a promising start last week, and she’s talking in her clip about being a stickler for technique, so she has something to prove, and I think she might have the chops to improve and be a dark horse contender to win. Jive is tough, though.

Daniel, 8:32pm — A little rough around the edges, but solid second effort from Monica. I want to see her do something slower and more classic, which might suit her.

Jeffrey, 8:33pm — I thought it was very skillful.

Cordell, 8:33pm — It was safe and forgettable

JUDGES — Bruno didn’t think the flicks and kicks were times well enough, though he thinks the cheerleading background will help her in the long run. Carrie Ann didn’t like the little lift. Derek called it “fun, playful, bubbly,” but he also wanted more flicks and kicks.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (5), Derek (6), Bruno (5) = 16

Cordell, 8:34pm — Yikes. The judges are ruthless tonight. Wished they had that energy for Bobby Bones and Grocery Store Joe.

Daniel, 8:35pm — Yeah, I thought they would give her 6s, those were really rough. Though I agree with Derek and Bruno that it needed more kicks and flicks.

Cordell, 8:37pm — I’m loving Derek as a judge. He’s great at pinpointing what the star can work on without being nasty or mean.

Daniel, 8:38pm — I agree he’s steller. I think his judges is actually better here than on “World of Dance” because he’s so good at teaching and the “World of Dance” folks already know all the basics.

Jeffrey, 8:38pm — Plus, Derek understands exactly what all the contestants are going through as he was in their shoes before.

AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke (Foxtrot)

Daniel, 8:39pm — AJ is slowing it down with an elegant, romantic dance. They’re dancing to “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” which is a special song for AJ and his wife Rochelle.

Daniel, 8:41pm — A really great comeback from last week’s stumbles. I think I saw a couple of posture issues, but he really sold it.

Cordell, 8:42pm — Much better than last week.

Jeffrey, 8:42pm — Best routine of the night so far!

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was “smooth as silk” and the nerves were gone. Derek called him a “showman,” and though there was a mistake, he saved it well. Bruno says, “The Rat Pack would be proud,” but he needs more control of his glide.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Derek (6), Bruno (6) = 19

Jeffrey, 8:43pm — I think AJ might end up being in a similar position to Kel Mitchell last year where he improves every week.

Cordell, 8:43pm — Loving the pace of the show.

Daniel, 8:44pm — Feels a little hectic to me still with 15 dancers in two hours. Not a lot of room to breathe.

Anne Heche and Keo Motsepe (Foxtrot)

Daniel, 8:47pm — She had a promising start last week, solid technique. She needs a breakout moment to get her out of the middle of the pack, though. Their song, “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic, is one of her favorites, and she’s dedicating it to her kids.

Daniel, 8:49pm — Anne has such solid technique, I just think she needs to perform bigger and more emotive when she’s out there.

Jeffrey, 8:50pm — I’ll say that it definitely looked like a step up from last week.

Cordell, 8:50pm — It felt a little disjointed in places.

JUDGES — Derek wanted all the energy to come from the feet rather than the upper half, but Anne was going the other way around. Bruno could feel the connection and appreciated all the foxtrot choreographic content, but the footwork and frame need some work. Carrie Ann sees the trust Anne has in Keo, but she’s a little tense up top.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Derek (6), Bruno (6) = 18

Daniel, 8:52pm — Fair, solid scores, though I worry that she could be at risk being so middle-of-the-pack.

Nelly and Daniella Karagach (Cha Cha)

Daniel, 8:55pm — I thought he would do a little better than the 5s he got last week, but his back flip showed he has the athletic chops to improve and make it far. “I’m going to work my tail off to do the best I can,” he says.

Cordell, 8:57pm — I hope he’s wearing ballroom shoes.

Jeffrey, 8:57pm — Looks like he’s wearing sneakers.

Daniel, 8:58pm — He needs to loosen up in those hips because if he does he has real potential.

Jeffrey, 8:59pm — Good, though it definitely could’ve been better.

JUDGES — Bruno praises his natural musicality, but he needs to articulate more through the foot. Carrie Ann can tell he’s a hard worker, but he needs to clean up his turns. Derek liked the choreographic content and the turned out foot.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Derek (6), Bruno (6) = 18

Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko (Rumba)

Daniel, 9:00pm — They had a rough first performance, so was it first-dance jitters? During her clip package she talks about being homeless as a child, which is “why I’m so grateful to be here.”

Daniel, 9:03pm — Wow, a vast improvement from last week.

Jeffrey, 9:03pm — Agreed! They were able to take their skills up a notch.

Cordell, 9:04pm — This routine saved her from going home.

JUDGES — “You’re like a whole different dancer,” says Carrie Ann, and it was so good that she didn’t even mind Chrishell’s foot coming off the floor. Derek appreciated her emotional connection, but she needs to work on her footwork. Bruno can see “the bombshell emerging” with “beautiful lines and shapes.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Derek (6), Bruno (6) = 18

Cordell, 9:05pm — I’m shocked.

Daniel, 9:06pm — Not too surprised they didn’t bring her straight to 7s after her struggle in week one. I thought the 6s were pretty fair, but so many dancers getting stuck at 18 these last two weeks.

Charles Oakley and Emma Slater (Cha Cha)

Daniel, 9:10pm — I worry about a fast-paced cha cha with Charles’s massive basketball player frame. But I loved Emma’s enthusiasm last week even though they got 4s from the judges.

Daniel, 9:12pm — The dancing will probably get more 4s, but that jacket gets a 10.

Jeffrey, 9:13pm — Not much of a difference from last week.

JUDGES — Derek says, “The timing better, the jacket was fire,” though the footwork is still problematic. Bruno agrees that the footwork and the timing were issues. Carrie Ann wants him to be more focused like he’s dancing to every individual person watching.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (5), Derek (5), Bruno (5) = 15

Jeffrey, 9:14pm — Way too high of a score for that routine.

Daniel, 9:14pm — I love the guy, but not sure why he got the same score as Skai even with Skai’s one mishap.

Cordell, 9:14pm — I agree.

Jesse Metacafe and Sharna Burgess (Foxtrot)

Daniel, 9:14pm — It’ll be interesting if he can bring the heartthrob out on a romantic dance style.

Cordell, 9:16pm — Jesse could be the Frankie Muniz, Jack Osborne of the season,

Jeffrey, 9:17pm — I thought that was really good!

JUDGES — Bruno calls him “Mr. Dreamy … Whatever you want, you shall have it,” but he needs to watch his “bum” and his posture. Carrie Ann thought it was smoother than Bruno did. Derek says, “Good job” because that’s all they had time for. Man, trying to cram in 15 performances is rough.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Derek (7), Bruno (6) = 20

Daniel, 9:19pm — Those were a little too high for my tastes. I thought 6s would’ve been fair. The judges have gotten a lot kinder since the beginning of the night.

Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong (Cha Cha)

Daniel, 9:21pm — “Last week was hands down the scariest moment of my career,” says Jeannie, but she felt it was her “made-it moment,” but her mom called and demanded that she be better or else she’ll ship her daughter back to Vietnam. Thank goodness her mom’s not a judge.

Daniel, 9:24pm — Jeannie did good again this week

Jeffery, 9:25pm — Indeed, really good work.

Cordell, 9:25pm — Love her energy.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was an improvement, but her movements are still a little wild. Derek also thought her shoulders were too far up and a little wild. Bruno likes that Jeannie is starting to play with her partner, though she needs a little more polish.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Derek (6), Bruno (6) = 18

Daniel, 9:26pm — I thought that was actually a slightly better routine than Jesse’s, so she was a teensy bit underscored.

Carole Baskin and Pasha Pashkov (Viennese Waltz)

Daniel, 9:29pm — “I always start out at the very bottom,” says Carole about her scores. She talks about all the negative attention she got from “Tiger King,” which, you know, accused her of murder. She hopes doing “Dancing with the Stars” will help her daughters cope with all the media attention.

Jeffrey, 9:32pm — I have no idea what the hell to even say about that.

Daniel, 9:32pm — That was … surprising decent. After last week, a huge improvement.

JUDGES — Derek thought it was a big improvement with good reverse turns. Bruno thought the performance was “shining.” Carrie Ann says it was a simple routine, but it was impressive, though her shoulders came up a little too much.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Derek (5), Bruno (5) = 16

Daniel, 9:35pm — Okay, I don’t think she should’ve gotten a higher scores than Skai, did the judges’ meds kick in all of a sudden?

Jeffrey, 9:35pm — I have no idea what they’ve been drinking lately.

Cordell, 9:35pm — She didn’t deserve a 6. Chrishell, Anne or Charles is going home.

Vernon Davis and Peta Murgatoryd (Paso Doble)

Daniel, 9:38pm — I think he could do a dynamite paso doble. It’s a very combative dance and he has the physicality for it.

Jeffrey, 9:40pm — Better work from both of them this week.

Daniel, 9:41pm — A little stiff and stompy, but I liked it when he got in hold.

Cordell, 9:42pm — Great attempt.

JUDGES — Bruno loved the “power, strength and determination,” but he needs to “work on the shaping.” Derek warns him to keep the booty tucked under, and Vernon was too stoic as opposed to being intense. Carrie Ann noticed he was a little ahead of the music at first, but he corrected himself. She also wants Vernon to perform bigger, fill the stage.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (6), Derek (6), Bruno (6) = 18

Daniel, 9:43pm — More and more I think if Skai had performed later in the show she would’ve gotten 6s.

Jeffrey, 9:44pm — Maybe.

Cordell, 9:44pm — At least she has a buffer to avoid elimination.

Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev (Foxtrot)

Daniel, 9:46pm — She had some ankle pain earlier, but she says she’s determined to play through the pain as long as she can. During her clip package she reveals she had dance training from age three to age 18. She’s more of a ringer than I realized.

Daniel, 9:49pm — Best performance of the night so far. Makes me wonder how much they milked her ankle injury for drama.

Cordell, 9:49pm — Exactly, Daniel.

Jeffrey, 9:50pm — That was actually the last dance of the night. I agree, it was a glorious routine.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was a beautiful performance with great lines — “More please!” Derek loved to see her “reclaim the dancer from within.” Bruno loved the quality of the movement, she was like a ballerina.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Derek (8), Bruno (7) = 22

Daniel, 9:51pm — That 8 moved Kaitlyn into a tie with Justina Machado for the top of the leaderboard when both weeks of the competition are combined. Charles Oakley and Carole Baskin are tied for the bottom of the leaderboard.


Daniel, 9:56pm — Safe celebs in no particular order are … Kaitlyn Bristowe, Vernon Davis, AJ McLean, Justina Machado (damn right!), Jesse Metcafle, Johnny Weir, Monica Aldama, Nelly, Jeannie Mai, Nev Schulman, Anne Heche, Skai Jackson (whew, they scared me for a minute there) and Chrishell Stause. That means Carole Baskin and Charles Oakley are the bottom two. Kinda surprised.

Daniel, 10:00pm — The judges have to save one dancer or the other, which is a pretty tough call since they’re both really rough around the edges. Carrie Ann votes to save Carole Baskin. Bruno votes to save Charles Oakley. So Derek gets the deciding vote. With seconds to go in the broadcast, he saves Carole, so Charles Oakley is eliminated.

Cordell, 10:02pm — Not surprised.

Jeffrey, 10:02pm — Neither am I.

Daniel, 10:03pm — I do think Carole was better than Charles in week two, so I respect that call.

Week 2 Leaderboard:

1. Kaitlyn Bristowe — 22
2. Justina Machado — 21
2. Nev Schulman — 21
4. Jesse Metcalfe — 20
5. AJ McLean — 19
6. Vernon Davis — 18
6. Anne Heche — 18
6. Jeannie Mai — 18
6. Nelly — 18
6. Chrishell Stause — 18
6. Johnny Weir — 18
12. Monica Aldama — 16
12. Carole Baskin — 16
14. Skai Jackson — 15
14. Charles Oakley — 15

Weeks 1 and 2 Leaderboard Combined:

1. Kaitlyn Bristowe — 42
1. Justina Machado — 42
3. Nev Schulman — 41
4. Jesse Metcalfe — 38
5. AJ McLean — 37
6. Anne Heche — 36
6. Skai Jackson — 36
6. Jeanne Mai — 36
6. Jonny Weir — 36
10. Monica Aldama — 35
11. Vernon Davis — 35
12. Nelly — 34
13. Chrishell Stause — 31
14. Carole Baskin — 27
14. Charles Oakley — 27

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 Monday 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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