DWTS Alek Skarlatos

Dancing With the Stars Week 2 Recap: Did the Right Couple Go Home?

Might Dancing With the Stars be getting a little ahead of itself?

Even though last week’s Season 21 premiere featured a handful of good, if not excellent, performances, it also left me feeling like the newest batch of contestants have a lot of work to do if they want to match last season’s impressive competitors.

That’s why I’m puzzled by Dancing‘s approach to Week 2, which already has the dancers performing two routines in one week, spread out across broadcasts on Monday and Tuesday. Perhaps it’s merely a scheduling hiccup on ABC’s end that’s causing the contestants to pull double duty, but this week’s one-two punch seems a bit lofty for the unpolished newbies in the cast.

But before I get ahead of myself and assume that Tuesday’s show will be full of sloppy footwork, let’s revisit the highlights of Monday’s episode:

BEST OF THE NIGHT
Alek Skarlatos and pro Lindsay Arnold (Jazz) — Did other couples score higher than Alek and Lindsay did? Yes. Was the front-porch set of Alek and Lindsay’s jazz routine a bit claustrophobic? Totally. Still, there is something completely mesmerizing — and even jarring — about Alek, whom I constantly expect to fumble his way through the motions. Not only did Alek’s strength allow him to effortlessly pull off insane lifts, but he brought a fluidity and grace to his movements that left my jaw on the floor for at least one commercial break. Judges’ Score: 23/30

BEST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP)
Bindi Irwin and pro Derek Hough (Tango) — You can blame the AC/DC music — an odd choice for the tango, no? — for the pair’s runner-up placement, but Bindi brought just as much energy and passion to her Week 2 performance as she did in Week 1. Plus, as enjoyable as Bindi’s bubbly personality is, it’s nice to know she can keep the grinning to a minimum when the routine calls for it. Judges’ Score: 25/30

MOST IMPROVED
Kim Zolciak Biermann and pro Tony Dovolani (Quickstep) — Insert the “praise hands” emoji here, because Kim might as well have been resurrected from the dead during Monday’s installment. Last week, the Real Housewife could barely do a box step without looking like she was in immense pain; this week, she was light on her feet (and smiling!) in her quickstep with Tony, which will hopefully earn her enough votes to prove herself further in Week 3. Judges’ Score: 19/30

MOST SURPRISING STUMBLE
Nick Carter and pro Sharna Burgess (Jive) — And I’m not talking about Nick’s literal stumble on the dance floor, though that was also surprising and disheartening. (Thanks for nothing, glitter shoes!) Rather, I find it strange that the Backstreet Boy — who has literally danced in front of millions all over the world — is the one struggling with nerves most often. Here’s hoping Nick will hit his stride in Week 3, but the voting audience can only give him the benefit of the doubt so many times. Judges’ Score: 21/30

WORST OF THE NIGHT
Victor Espinoza and pro Karina Smirnoff (Jive) — Alternate names for this superlative: Most Uncomfortable Routine. Routine That Made the Viewers at Home Watch Open-Mouthed In Horror. Routine That No One Needed to See, Ever. You may think me harsh, but consider the fact that — outside of his ghastly timing and subpar footwork — Victor spent part of this routine balancing a sombrero on his crotch. Whether or not you wanted the visual of a horse racing jockey balancing a hat on his ding-a-ling, that was the visual you received — and it cannot be unseen. Judges’ Score: 17/30

Now, the results:

TWO COUPLES LEFT IN JEOPARDY
Chaka Khan and pro Keo Motsepe
Gary Busey and pro Anna Trebunskaya

ELIMINATED
Chaka Khan and pro Keo Motsepe

OK, your turn. Were Chaka and Keo the right choice for elimination? Who performed your favorite routine of the night? Hit the comments with your thoughts!