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

DWTS Athletes

We’ve officially reached the halfway point of Dancing With the Stars‘ all-athletes edition, but it feels like just last week that Season 26 had begun.

Oh, right — because it was just last week. Here’s hoping you haven’t gotten too invested in any of these sports stars, because Dancing‘s condensed season is hurtling toward the finish line faster than one of Chris Mazdzer’s luges.

Monday’s broadcast — which bizarrely doubled as the Week 2 installment and the third-to-last episode — booted two more athletes, leaving six pairs to compete on next Monday’s show.

Before we get to the results, let’s revisit the night’s performances:

Josh Norman and pro Sharna Burgess (Paso Doble) — It’s no small feat to perform a paso doble that’s intense and passionate but not funny-looking — and it’s a feat Josh pulled off! His overall performance wasn’t quite as spectacular as last week’s, due to a few wobbly steps, but he and Sharna certainly have one of this season’s most natural connections. Judges’ Score: 30/40

Jennie Finch and pro Keo Motsepe (Cha-Cha) — Even after persuading Keo to change this week’s song and choreography, Jennie still didn’t seem fully comfortable with this cha-cha when she hit the ballroom floor. Though Jennie has massive potential, there’s unfortunately no room for clunky steps and poor timing in this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it season. Judges’ Score: 26/40

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and pro Lindsay Arnold (Salsa) — Here’s something I genuinely love about Dancing With the Stars: Even when it’s clear that a contestant isn’t destined to win the Mirrorball — as it is with Kareem — the mood in the ballroom is never anything but supportive and warm. No, Kareem’s salsa wasn’t the most technically proficient of the bunch, but it was fun (that shimmy!), cleverly conceived (that assist from Hayley Erbert!) and entertaining from the first count. Judges’ Score: 26/40

Chris Mazdzer and pro Witney Carson (Viennese Waltz) — The more I watch Chris Mazdzer dance, the more I kiiinda hope it’s his name that gets called as the winner on finale night. I was expecting this Viennese waltz to be choppy and awkward — because, let’s face it, most Week 2 waltzes can be described that way. Instead, Chris’ dance was smooth, elegant and a joy to watch… even if it did seem like he was going to lose hold of Witney’s foot during that cool-but-scary lift at the end. Judges’ Score: 33/40

Tonya Harding and pro Sasha Farber (Quickstep) — Judging by last week’s comments section, many of you are not thrilled to see Tonya in the competition, but I’ve really been enjoying her performances thus far. Though tonight’s quickstep could have used about 50 percent less bear — so distracting! — Tonya proved she can handle a goofy, fast-paced routine just as well as she can nail an emotional foxtrot. Judges’ Score: 33/40

Mirai Nagasu and pro Alan Bersten (Foxtrot) — Let’s not count Mirai out by any means. Even though she’s not the most recognizable name on the Season 26 roster, the figure skater delivered the most technically gorgeous routine of the night, filled with beautiful lines and an effortless grace that other competitors lacked. Judges’ Score: 37/40

Arike Ogunbowale and pro Gleb Savchenko (Foxtrot) — If she were competing on a full-length Dancing season, Arike could very well be a dark horse, given her natural musicality and willingness to push her own limits. But with only two weeks left in this all-athletes edition, Arike’s tense shoulders and occasionally heavy footwork didn’t make a strong enough case for the college basketball star to stay in the competition. Judges’ Score: 33/40

Adam Rippon and pro Jenna Johnson (Quickstep) — Adam was honest in his video package that the quickstep was a challenge for him, but he still managed to pull off one of the night’s strongest routines. Even though Adam clearly wasn’t as comfortable with this week’s steps, he and Jenna seem to have a trust in one another that makes each of their performances fun and captivating — not to mention well-scored. Judges’ Score: 37/40

The eight remaining contestants also tried their hands at team dances on Monday night, which went reasonably well for a Week 2 showing. Team ’50s Tennis (made up of Josh, Kareem, Chris and Tonya) scored 33 out of 40, while Team ’70s Football (made up of Jennie, Mirai, Arike and Adam) scored 37 out of 40.

And now, the results:

COUPLES IN JEOPARDY
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and pro Lindsay Arnold
Chris Mazdzer and pro Witney Carson
Arike Ogunbowale and pro Gleb Savchenko

SENT TO SAFETY
Chris Mazdzer and pro Witney Carson

ELIMINATED
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and pro Lindsay Arnold
Arike Ogunbowale and pro Gleb Savchenko

OK, your turn! Did Kareem and Arike deserve to be sent home? Drop a comment below with your thoughts on Monday’s episode!