Warning: spoilers ahead for the first episode of the all-athletes edition of Dancing with the Stars.
Dancing with the Stars is back on the airwaves with a brand new round of competition, but this latest round isn't just another season of a bunch of miscellaneous celebrities getting together to strut their stuff on stage. No, the new season of Dancing with the Stars is all athletes, and it will bring elite athletes (retired and active) to compete for the mirrorball trophy. Dancing with the Stars: Athletes will run for only four weeks, which means that two competitors will be eliminated each week. The Athletes premiere has officially aired, and we know which two of the ten athletes and their partners are out of the running. Here's the first: Johnny Damon and Emma Slater.
MLB alum Johnny Damon joined Dancing with the Stars to see if his baseball skills could translate to skills on the dance floor. He was paired with Emma Slater, who partnered Season 24 winner Rashad Jennings all the way to the mirrorball trophy. Unfortunately for Damon, he and Slater weren't quite the winning combination that Slater and Jennings were in 2017. Despite some charm in their dance number, he just didn't look comfortable as a dancer, and his moves apparently didn't work for the audience any more than they did the judges. A+ for effort, Johnny Damon!
Johnny Damon and Emma Slater weren't the only ones to lose their shot at the trophy. Jamie Anderson and Artem Chigvintsev were voted out.
Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson had her Dancing with the Stars journey cut short early as well. Dance partner Artem Chigvintsev did a solid job with her, and they made it through the steps well enough, but their number wasn't a showstopper on par with some of the others from the premiere episode. They will not win the mirrorball trophy in the Athletes season of the series.
While fans of the athletes and dancers who were already cut are undoubtedly bummed after the events of the first episode, there are still plenty of fierce competitors from a variety of sport backgrounds in the running. The competition is still pretty much anybody's game at this point. The shortness of the Dancing with the Stars: Athletes season could mean that fans are in for something unexpected this time around. Competitors usually have some time to improve their dance skills and find what works for them over the weeks; Athletes will run for only four weeks total. The athletes will need to figure out their strengths and weaknesses as soon as possible if they want to add the mirrorball trophy to all the medals and trophies they've already won throughout their careers.
Personally, my money is still on one of the figure skaters taking the top prize. Singles skaters Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu were still in Olympic shape as of February, so they may have the edge on Tonya Harding. For her part, Harding wowed the judges with her moves, but didn't fare as well with the audience and wound up in the bottom three. Rippon became one of the biggest names in American pop culture during (and after) the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, which could give him an edge with voters. He got one of the most enthusiastic responses from the crowd and he tied for the highest score from the judges in the episode.
That said, outside of the figure skating arena, I got a surprise out of NFL player Josh Norman's dance moves. He tied Rippon with the highest score of 24 points for the night! Who knew that a football player could move like that, even with an experienced dance partner like Sharna Burgess?
Tune in to ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET to catch new episodes of Dancing with the Stars. For more viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, swing by our midseason TV guide and our summer TV premiere schedule. If streaming is more your style, check out our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule and our 2018 Amazon Prime rundown.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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