Fan-favorite show "Dancing with the Stars" has returned with season 29. Airing on Monday, September 14, the new season featured new host Tyra Banks, replacing OG host Tom Bergeron and co-host Erin Andrews. Derek Hough, meanwhile, served as a new judge for this season since Len Goodman couldn't fly to the U.S. from the U.K. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kicking off the night was Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean and his partner Cheryl Burke. They opted to perform a jive to The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights". Of the performance, judge Bruno Tonioli praised them for being "powerful" and "strong," while Derek wished they had a "little more jive action." All judges, including Carrie Ann Inaba, gave the pair 6, bringing their total score to 18 out of 30.
"Selling Sunset" star Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko followed it up with a tango to Pink's "Raise Your Glass". While it was a little unstable, the TV star seemed to be having fun. Bruno noted that she lost her footing, while Carrie Ann thought Chrishell had "so much potential." Chrishell earned 13 points as Carrie Ann and Derek gave her 4 and Derek gave her 5.
The next performer was former NFL star Vernon Davis, who was paired with Peta Murgatroyd. They danced a romantic foxtrot to John Legend's "All of Me", much to the judges' liking. Vernon and Peta got 17 out of 30.
Meanwhile, actress Anne Heche and Keo Motsepe performed Cha Cha to Dua Lipa's "Don't Start Now". It was a "great first dance," according to Derek. Carrie Ann was also "impressed" by the "tension" between Anne and Keo. The performance got her 18 out of 30.
Dancing Salsa to Taylor Dayne's "Tell It to My Heart" were "The Real" co-host Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong. She received praises from the judges as Bruno said that he loved her spirit, and Carrie Ann was impressed by Jeannie’s energy. Derek also said that it was a "good start," though he wanted Jeannie to work on her turns. Jeannie's score was 18 out of 30.
Jesse Metcalfe and Sharna Burgess did an impressive Quickstep to Stevie Wonder's "Part-Time Love". It was such a good performance, enough to make Carrie Ann say that it was one of the "most passionate" quicksteps she's ever seen. However, she noted that Jesse needed to work on his posture. The performance earned him 18 points.
Up next was Disney Channel star Skai Jackson, who was paired with reigning champion Alan Bersten. They performed a fierce Tango to Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass". Bruno raved that "sky is the limit" for Skai, while Carrie Ann praised Skai for coping with the height difference she has with Alan "so well" during the "beautiful and exciting performance." Skai and Alan got 21 out of 30, marking the highest score so far.
Kaitlyn Bristowe danced a Cha Cha to Lady GaGa's "Stupid Love" alongside Artem Chigvintsev. Bruno said it was "so good," with Derek calling it "beautiful Cha Cha." However, he felt the dancing was "safe." "The Bachelorette" alum got 20 out of 30.
The next performer were "Catfish" host Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson as they danced a Foxtrot to Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight". It was surprisingly amazing that Carrie Ann said it was so "uplifting" and "refined." He got 20 points.
Olympian Johnny Weir, meanwhile, opted for a sexy Cha Cha to "Buttons" by The Pussycat Dolls with new pro Britt Stewart. The judges advised him not to overthink when it came to the technical aspects of the dance. They gave him a 18.
"One Day at a Time" star Justina Machado and pro Sasha Farber then put everyone in awe with their Cha Cha to Aretha Franklin's "Respect". Bruno loved her "confidence" and "musicality," while Derek said she had an "oozing charisma." The judges gave the pair a 21 out of 30.
NBA legend Charles Oakley then hit the stage with Emma Slater, dancing a Salsa to 50 Cent's "In Da Club". Although he tried hard, Carrie Ann wanted Charles to "listen to the music a little bit more." He was given 12 out of 30.
As for "Cheer" coach Monica Aldama, she joined forces with Valentin Chmerkovskiy this season as they danced gorgeous Foxtrot to Rascal Flatts' song "My Wish". Derek loved it, saying it was "beautiful, graceful, and so pleasant to watch." Meanwhile, Carrie Ann noted that Monica had a slow start, though she got better in the second half. Monica and Val earned 19 out of 30.
Nelly and new pro Daniella Karagach chose to dance a Salsa to Nelly's song "Ride Wit Me" in the premiere episode. While they seemed to have "so much fun" with their performance, Bruno thought he needed to loosen up his shoulders. Their total score was 16 out of 30.
"Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" star Carole Baskin concluded the night. Alongside Pasha Pashkov, she danced a Paso Doble to "Eye of the Tiger". Carrie Ann praised the pair's chemistry, while Bruno didn't think they nailed the dance. Carole had the lowest score in the episode as the judges gave her 11 out of 30.