'Dancing with the Stars' Season 30 premiere: JoJo Siwa and pro partner Jenna Johnson make history and top judges' leaderboard
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/21/2021
Dancing with the Stars' milestone 30th season got off to a great start for popstar and Dance Moms alum JoJo Siwa, who made history by partnering with someone of the same sex, pro dancer Jenna Johnson, during Monday night's premiere episode on ABC.
JoJo and Jenna performed an energetic quickstep routine, and at one point, JoJo lifted Jenna off the dance floor when the pro slipped a little bit on her wide-leg pants.
The judges agreed it was an entertaining and groundbreaking performance, and Derek gushed, "You were born for Dancing with the Stars! Well done!"
Two couples tied for second place on the leaderboard with 28 total points: Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee and pro partner Sasha Farber as well as talk show host Amanda Kloots and pro partner Alan Bersten.
Suni and Sasha took the stage with a jive routine.
Suni was complimented on her precision, retraction and placement, and Carrie Ann boasted about the Olympian's apparent skills on the dance floor.
"This was neat. It was precise. It was right on the button. It just needed to be a bit more free," Len said.
Amanda -- a former Broadway performer who lost her husband in 2020 due to COVID-19 repercussions -- and Alan danced the tango.
Len appreciated all the tango content and said Amanda attacked the song, and Derek called her performance "unbelievable" and "sensational," saying Amanda hit every single move.
Spice Girl Melanie C, who had been dubbed "Sporty Spice" in her girls' group, finished in fourth place on the leaderboard with her pro partner Gleb Savchenko.
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The pair performed a cha cha routine that received 27 judges' points.
Len called Melanie C's performance "first class," and Derek noted how the routine was "clean and precise" and she has "incredible legs." Melanie C, however, was advised to increase her hip action and loosen up a bit.
At 26 points, Emmy-nominated actress Melora Hardin and pro partner Artem Chigvintsev tied for fifth place on the judges' leaderboard with The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore and pro partner Brandon Armstrong.
Melora and Artem danced the tango, and Derek gave Melora a standing ovation.
Derek said he was "blown away" by Melora's performance and ability to glide across the floor and do dips with control, but Bruno advised her to keep her balance.
Kenya and Brandon performed a 26-point worthy foxtrot routine.
Carrie Ann said Kenya looked like "a queen" and already seemed refined with good posture, and Len discussed the competitor's charm, sophistication and grace.
Seventh place also represented a tie at 25 points between two celebrities: social-media sensation Olivia Jade and actress Christine Chiu.
Olivia, who had been wrapped up in her mother Lori Loughlin's college admissions scandal this past year, and pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy performed the salsa.
Carrie Ann complimented Olivia's confidence and great lines, but Len said the routine -- although "polished" -- could have been a bit more spicy.
Christine and pro partner Pasha Pashkov danced the tango.
Carrie Ann thought the dance was "exquisite" and Christine looked like "a diamond in the rough," and Derek said Christine's frame looked beautiful but she could get lower to the ground and lead with her heels more.
Ninth place happened to be a four-way tie at 24 points.
Len said he would've liked to see more hip action but Matt's future on the show will probably be "rosy." Derek asked Matt to work on turning out his feet, but Bruno said the Season 25 Bachelor definitely delivered.
Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby and pro partner Cheryl Burke took the stage with a tango routine.
Carrie Ann called Cody "fabulous" and said she can "see what the hype is all about," but she'd also like to see him relax more. Len told Cody to keep his head up but he's "one to watch" this season, and Derek predicted Cody is going to be a blast in the ballroom.
WWE superstar Mike "The Miz" Mizanin and pro partner Witney Carson earned 24 points for their cha cha routine.
Bruno called The Miz "light on his feet, like a well-oiled machine," and Carrie Ann gushed about how The Miz was "incredible" but could tone it down a little at times.
Also at 24 points on the leaderboard was actor Brian Austin Green and his girlfriend and pro partner Sharna Burgess, who took the stage with a foxtrot routine. At the end of their dance, the couple shared a sweet kiss on the stage when Brian was dipping Sharna.
Bruno dubbed Brian "Prince Charming," and Carrie Ann said she loved seeing Sharna so happy. But Carrie Ann asked Brian to perform a little more for the audience, and Bruno added he must work on his feet.
Country singer Jimmie Allen and pro partner Emma Slater finished in thirteenth place on the judges' leaderboard. They performed the tango and received 22 judges' points.
Len figured Jimmie has more talent than he showed on the first night of competition but has great potential, and Derek complimented the singer's "incredible Week 1 frame." Bruno, however, said his moves were a little uneven at times.
NBA champion Iman Shumpert and pro partner Daniella Karagach placed fourteenth after taking the stage with a jive routine that only received 21 points from the judges.
Bruno admitted it's very hard for tall people to do the jive but he was very "nimble" and has musicality. Carrie Ann complimented the couple on a "ridiculous" dance with style and great choreography.
"I thought it was all too casual. It was too loose and the technique was poor," Len announced before scoring the pair a low 4 out of 10.