Dancing with the StarsIt’s only a second week of Season 26, but the star performers have already been tasked with learning two dances this week, one of those being a team dance. Also, the judges panel had a special guest appearance, welcoming Rashad Jennings, the NFL player, to serve as a judge this time. He competed as a star dancer last season and went on to win the competition! Half way through the show, Rashad treated the audience with a special dance performance by reuniting with his dance partner Emma Slater.

Here are some highlights from this week’s performances:

  • Josh and Sharna. Josh Norman, the NFL cornerback, was excited to play the hero character by performing a powerful and passionate Pasodoble and channeling “Zorro” with his partner Sharna.
  • Jennie and Keo. Softball star Jennie Finch Daigle had a challenging week as she decided to change the music and choreography at the last minute because she did not feel the music reflected who she really is. Nonetheless, she had a blast performing her routine and was happy she stayed true to herself.
  • Kareem and Lindsay. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, dedicated his dance to his father who was a very skilled dancer himself. Kareem grew up in a very musical family, so he brought the dance party to the ballroom this week.
  • Chris and Witney. Chris Mazdzer, a medal winner in the Men’s Single Luge event, was challenged this week with learning how to focus and be present, so he did just that by wowing the judges as he performed a slow Waltz.
  • Tonya and Sasha. Tonya Harding, the figure skater, danced to a song called the “Redneck Woman,” and she fully owned it! Her Quickstep was full of character and she even dipped her partner Sasha at the very end. To top it all, Tonya’s dance featured a dancing bear, so yee-haw!
  • Mirai and Alan. Mirai Nagasu, one of the youngest figure skaters to win a national title in 2008, danced a beautiful and elegant Foxtrot and transported us all into the land of Disney fairy tales. Her performance was like magic as she scored the first “10” this week.
  • Arike and Gleb. Wearing heels is not a typical dress code for Arike Ogunbowale, the basketball player. As she performed her dance, she showed a much softer and vulnerable side of her. As the guest judge Rashad said, she was a “beautiful woman with sneakers on.”
  • Adam and Jenna. Adam Rippon, one of the most dramatic figure skaters in the world, had a very crazy schedule this week as he had to attend to his skater duties as well, however, that and the lack of sleep did not stop him from performing a sharp and dynamic Quickstep. He also got a second “10” score of the day as he shared the joy with his fellow skater Mirai.

After the first round of individual dances, the stars and pro dancers performed their team dances which were sports-themed (Team “50s Tennis” and Team “70s Football”) and were all about props – featuring tennis racquets, headbands, shiny silver, and Afro Wigs. Both teams did a great job! Unfortunately, there is always that dreaded elimination, and all had to say goodbye to Arike and Karim in the end. But, show must go on, so see you next week!


by Irina McGuire

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