DWTS 5th Judge: Who Went Home First? — Plus, Cheryl's Positive Covid Test & What Is Tyra Banks Wearing?!

What do do with a positive Covid test — plus, Rachael Kirkconnell crashes Matt James’ rehearsal, Amanda Kloots performs to her and Nick Cordero’s song, and Kenya Moore dances for all single mothers and women over 50!

For the first time this season, “Dancing with the Stars” sent one couple out of the ballroom and the competition. After a disastrous debut, that couple should be obvious, right?

We’ve seen crazier things happen on this show, and with America having a full fifty percent of the decision behind who winds up in the Bottom 2, is it possible that the popularity of “Cobra Kai” and the charm of Martin Kove could keep him out of the Bottom 2?

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As with last season, the vote puts the Bottom 2 contestants in front of the Judges, but it’s the Judges who get final say as to who gets home. This was an attempt to combat America’s sometimes wonky voting choices after Bobby Bones won three years ago.

As if taking up the challenge, America immediately kept Sean Spicer in way too long in Season 28. Martin’s fate was also at least partly in his own hands, as he needed to step up in a big way to get better judges’ scores to pair with that audience vote than the horrific 13 points (out of 40) he got in Week 1.

Also this week, a new challenge emerged for the show after Cheryl Burke tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Her partner, Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby, is also fully vaccinated and both had been working in close quarters already, but neither was allowed in the ballroom — neither were they eliminated. So what was the solution?

Oh, and we have to take a moment to say that not only were Tyra Banks’ outfits tonight totally distracting — huge shoulder pads and then she looked like a dinosaur extra from “Jurassic Park” about to spit poison — but she did not explain herself well by telling us that if the other three judges were divided over who to send home, Len would cast the deciding vote. How can three people be divided?

No matter how they vote, there will be a clear winner, right? Apparently, as Head Judge, Len’s vote has a little more weight, so if there is a tie 2-2 vote, his makes it 2-plus to 2 and his choice stays regardless.

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Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

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Matt James & Lindsay Arnold

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(Samba) Rachael Kirkconnell crashed Matt’s audition time and even learned a few body rolls to try and motivate him from the audience. She clearly motivated him a bit, because he was far more present this time in his movements. We loved his adorable shirt-doffing moment with Bruno and his overall personality. His arms and hands are still extremely stiff, though, and he definitely lost his place a few times. His hips did not improve much over last season, either, as part of his overall stiffness. His body rolls forward need to not look like a hunch — honestly, it looks like he’s still not sure how to partner someone so much shorter than him. And as expected, Carrie Ann is totally going to knock him a point for lifting Lindsay off the ground (not allowed in this format — another possible height issue).

Judges Scores: 5, 5, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Olivia Jade & Valentin Chmerkovskiy

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(Viennese Waltz) Olivia really brought it with a mature elegance and grace as she moved across the floor. She had a lovely rise and fall and for the most part, her feet were moving effortlessly and smoothly throughout with only minor hiccups she covered well. She and Val were like one throughout this piece. Olivia has lovely extensions, and great lines. Her carriage was pretty spot-on with this one. It feels like she just kind of got what this style was about pretty quickly. That was a very confident piece.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 7, 7

My Score: 7

Kenya Moore & Brandon Armstrong

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(Cha Cha Cha) Kenya’s motivation this week is to prove to women over 50s, to moms that they’ve still got it and they’re still sexy as hell. She was definitely sexy, but also a bit of all over the place when it came to knowing where to be and when. Her footwork was in and out of what she was supposed to be doing, and then she’d hurry to catch up, losing the music. She even missed her final mark. She pulled it together more toward the end, but missing the opening cha cha portion really seemed to throw her off and she never quite recovered. “I kick, stretch and cha cha — I’m 50!” said Kenya triumphantly, echoing a classic Molly Shannon “SNL” character.

Judges Scores: 6, 6, 6, 6

My Score: 5

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Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin & Witney Carson

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(Tango) All of the pieces were technically there for this tango, but it really lacked the kind of sharp finesse that would have put it over the top. He was definitely over the top in his personality, which mostly worked, but we were looking for sharp hits and flicks and more of a stalking panther-like strut than the lumbering he brought. His carriage and everything happening from the waist up was solid, and he had every step where he needed it; he just needs to lock in the actual character of the style.

Judges Scores: 7, 5, 7, 7

My Score: 6

Brian Austin Green & Sharna Burgess

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(Rumba) Well, the chemistry was palpable through the television screen, and Brian really was present for Sharna throughout this romantic piece. The biggest problem that we saw was that he got so wrapped up in being where he needed to be and executing, that he started prepping for the next move. And he was consistently forgetting what to do with his arms (i.e. doing nothing with them). That said, he’s got the start of some great movement in his hips and body that if he can tighten up the periphery and focus on the style more, the core and that chemistry could carry them very far.

Judges Scores: 6, 5, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Christine Chiu & Pasha Pashkov

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(Salsa) We got a better understanding of why Christine looked so overjoyed to be on this show. A superfan, she used to enter in audience lotteries for a chance to just be there, scoring tickets and even appearing behind Bruno at least once. Her love for the show runs deep. It’s too bad she had a little stumble halfway through as it really sapped her confidence for the back half of the dance. You could see it in her face and you could see it in her hesitance to really get the hop going in the side-by-side with Pasha. Before that, she was on fire, sensual and really bringing the perfect Latin flair. Her hips were fire, and even her footwork was on point. She’s well on her way to being a top contender this season.

Judges Scores: 6, 6, 6, 6

My Score: 7

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Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater

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(Rumba) We really liked the sinuous movement that came straight through Jimmie’s spine and out into his arms and hands to create beautiful lines — and the fact that he followed through every movement until the end. His legs could work on finding that fluidity a bit and his footwork could be a bit more on point, but this was a very competent rumba, recognizable and filled with great, meaningful dance content. He and Emma had incredible chemistry in this one. This was an incredible Week 2 performance by any standards.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 7, 7

My Score: 7

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten

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(Foxtrot) Amanda performed to the song Nick Cordero performed to book “Bullets Over Broadway,” which is where they first met. It then became their song as a couple, so you know his memory was with her throughout this piece. First of all, that ending was executed to perfection — and with a camera swirling around — but even better than that, you could see the joy coming from Amanda as she performed to this piece. Her energy was so upbeat and fun to watch. And then she put quality foxtrot on top of it, with a great frame, wonderfully energetic arms and consistent footwork. We actually loved how her hands popped out with that little Broadway flair that made us feel like we were watching this in a darkened theater.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8, 8

My Score: 8

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson

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(Cha Cha Cha) Fans of JoJo Siwa definitely saw a more mature side of her this week as she went all in on this cha-cha-cha with Jenna. The two were at times interchangeable with the sameness of their quality and approach to their moves. The tandem dancing was absolutely beautiful to watch. JoJo has plenty of dance experience, and she’s bringing that to bear with success as she tackles some of these ballroom styles. Derek pointed out that her enthusiasm carries a little broad at times, but we weren’t really having a problem with her commitment, and Jenna was right there with her for most of it. It will be interesting to see if she can tone it down for some of the mellower styles. But she’s going to be here for a while.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 7, 8

My Score: 8

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Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach

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(Rumba) Iman’s wife Teyana Taylor spoke a bit about his time on the show, with him saying that he wants her to be proud of his efforts this week. He was also trying to redeem that pesky 4 from Len. This was actually a big improvement for him. We loved that he put his whole body into each movement, owning his size and space in a way he didn’t last week. He still needs to work on the precision of his movements and the fullness of them. Yes, he used his whole body, but a body roll needs to really roll. He was present, but almost timidly so. His upper body was definitely more fully invested than his lower, which still looked a little uncertain.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Martin Kove & Britt Stewart

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(Cha Cha Cha) It was still terrible, but we’ll at least give Martin credit for attempting a few recognizable cha cha moves. He had no sense of timing or rhythm or even consistency. Britt was dancing all over the stage and he was … there. His journey likely ends tonight, and he’ll unfortunately go down as one of the worst to ever hit this stage. But at least he can be proud he did improve … ever so slightly.

Judges Scores: 4, 3, 4, 4

My Score: 2

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev

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(Rumba) With both of her daughters having left the house, we’re cracking up that Melora performed to “All by Myself” to honor them. It’s both perfectly hilarious and still a beautiful song for such a passionate style. She needs to work a bit on her overall flexibility and getting her hips moving, but wow did she come out so strong on this dance. Her lines, the expression of her movements. She got every bit of what this piece was about and she delivered. She gave us such great presence last week and here she is again. As she gains even more confidence in the styles (and flexibility), she’s going to be a force on this show.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 7, 7

My Score: 7

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Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke

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(Salsa) Cheryl tested positive for Covid only yesterday, which should mean that most of the rehearsals for this week’s routine were in the bag and Cody knew what was expected of him. Still, that’s an almost impossible blow to recover from. Per the rules, they’re allowed to compete again this week based on last week’s rehearsal footage — which would inevitably be rougher. We’ve no idea what happens next week, though. It was rocky, as expected, but Cody did have some real salsa moments in there. He definitely needed to work on hip movement consistency and sinking a bit into the floor and always being present in the dance — was he watching Cheryl for a moment there? As a rehearsal piece, it probably would have been very exciting to see on the big stage.

Judges Scores: 6, 6, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Melanie C & Gleb Savchenko

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(Foxtrot) What a huge step up for the Spice Girl after a pretty solid opening week. She was so present in this moment and dancing with such joyousness. But even more, she was dancing with real content and a lovely grace and control throughout. This was a very confident foxtrot; we loved her carriage, her legs and how she followed through with each movement. The spin was impeccable. Honestly, Melanie C is making a case to also be a contender on what’s shaping up to be a pretty competitive season — in a few more weeks.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 8, 8

My Score: 7

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber

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(Cha Cha Cha) Technically proficient and incredibly strong, Suni has the tools to do this and do it very well. She is very much in her head, though, and lacks the confidence to take down her shield and really breathe in this moment. Her movements are precise, but lack the fluidity and looseness needed. She feels very tight throughout, as if she’s tensing every single muscle and wants to hit her mark, throw her hands up quickly and walk off. She has to relearn that muscle memory for dance, and the only way for that to work is to let go of that tight discipline she holds over herself.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7, 7

My Score: 6

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RESULTS & PREDICTIONS

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So far, the women are absolutely dominating this competition. They took the top six slots in this week’s leaderboard, with only Jimmie Allen tying with the bottom two. The Miz was right behind and then the guys showed up. But they’re really going to need to put in the work if they want to keep up with these powerhouse ladies.

With scores combined for the first two weeks, the first six are women, the next three guys, then two women and four guys at the bottom of the pack. So many of the guys are having comparable seasons toward the bottom, it could get interesting and unpredictable as early as next week. This week, though, there should be no question.

Martin Kove isn’t even close in his overall score. His combined score over two weeks is lower than some couples have gotten in individual weeks. They should all be appreciative that he joined the show as it gives them each three weeks to get their own acts together.

Next week is hard to predict as Matt James, Brain Austin Green and Iman Shumpert are all delivering comparably “meh” performances. If we had to pick one to lose out, it would probably be Cody because we don’t think the Peloton crowd is going to be as big in his corner as “90210” and NBA fans will be for the other two.

For this week, it came down to a final five of The Miz, Kenya Moore, Brain Austin Green, Christine Chiu and Martin Kove. They always tell us this is random, but we really feel like these are the five couples most in danger (or at least in the mix for next week).

The MIz was marked safe next, followed by Brian Austin Green, and Kenya Moore. That left Martin and Christine as the Bottom 2, which actually makes some sense. As hot as “Bling Empire” is in general, we’re not sure the “DWTS” audience is as familiar with it, or “Cobra Kai” for that matter.

Christine is in the mix in that bottom tier just above Martin, but this had to be Martin’s week to go, even if it was up to the judges. There was no way they were going to keep him in the competition when Christine is showing so much potential to really breakout and make her mark on this ballroom.

It was probably a mercy elimination for Martin Kove. He did improve, ever so slightly, but he was going to go absolutely nowhere this season on the show and he probably knew it. He hated watching his Week 1 performance, and he probably won’t like this one much better.

“Dancing with the Stars” continues every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.


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