‘Dancing With the Stars’ 2021 Premiere: Milestone 30th Season Makes History (RECAP)

Jenna Johnson and JoJo Siwa on Dancing With the Stars
Spoiler Alert
ABC/Eric McCandless

“Live from Hollywood,” Dancing with the Stars is back with its landmark 30th season! The season premiere brought back many familiar faces to the ballroom, including longtime judge Len Goodman after sitting out last season due to the pandemic.

Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli returned alongside host Tyra Banks for her sophomore season with the dance competition series, as she announced throughout the night which pro dancers were paired with this season’s lineup of celebrity contestants. In a DWTS first, pop star JoJo Siwa and partner Jenna Johnson earned the top score of the night as the show’s first-ever same-sex pairing.

Read on for highlights from the Season 30 premiere, including dances from this season’s cast: Melanie C, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Iman Shumpert, Olivia Jade, Jimmie Allen, Melora Hardin, Suni Lee, Cody Rigsby, Amanda Kloots, Martin Kove, Kenya Moore, Christine Chiu, Matt James, Brian Austin Green, and JoJo Siwa.

Melanie C’s dance to “Wannabe” by The Spice Girls (Cha Cha)

Melanie C, aka Sporty Spice of the iconic girl group The Spice Girls, opened the new season with an energetic and Union Jack-filled cha cha to the group’s hit song “Wannabe.” Alongside partner Gleb Savchenko, they kicked off the show with solid scores from the judges, Len calling the first performance of the night “first-class.” The duo earned a total of 27 out of 40 points, with Derek being the only judge to score them a 6. After the performance, Carrie Ann confessed that Sporty Spice was her favorite Spice Girl!

The Miz’s dance to “Butter” by BTS (Cha Cha)

The WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin hit the dance floor with a bang alongside partner Whitney Carson in her first season back since giving birth to her son. Bringing his wrestling coordination to the dance floor, Len called the performance “better than expected.” With great feedback to leave room for improvement, the second pair of the night earned a total score of 24 out of 40.

Iman Shumpert’s dance to “Hey Ya!” by Outkast (Jive)

Despite the large height difference between NBA star Iman Shumpert and his partner Daniella Karagach, the pair hit it off to a great start, dancing the jive to “Hey Ya!” by Outkast. Sporting a similar green outfit to that of the song’s music video, Iman received the first 4 of the night from Len, though the judges applauded his musicality and fun personality. The pair earned a total score of 21 out of 40.

Olivia Jade’s dance to “Juice” by Lizzo (Salsa)

Looking to start “a new chapter in front of millions of people,” as Tyra said, influencer and daughter of Lori Loughlin, Olivia Jade, gave a great first-week performance with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Olivia earned lots of praise from the judges, with Carrie Ann applauding her confidence, Derek stating her vast amount of potential, and Bruno stating she took to dancing “like a duck to water.” With Carrie Ann giving the duo a 7, they earned a total of 25 points.

Jimmie Allen’s dance to “The Way I Are” by Timbaland ft. Keri Hilson & D.O.E (Tango)

Country singer Jimmie Allen has experience singing on stage but has never danced in front of millions of people! He took to the dance floor for the first time with partner Emma Slater for a spicy tango routine. Looking to be an ambassador for country music, the star received mixed reviews from the judges, with some pointing out technical flaws while others stating the performance was a good start. After shouting out his pregnant wife in the audience, the pair earned a total score of 22.

Melora Hardin’s dance to “Simply Irresistible” by Robert Palmer (Tango)

After appearing in over 70 television shows, actress and The Office star Melora Hardin was overjoyed to be joining DWTS, as she used to love ballet as a child. Bringing her childhood love of dance to the ballroom with her partner and reigning champion Artem Chigvintsev, the energetic performance made her one to watch this season. As Derek said, “We’re keeping an eye on you girl!” The pair earned 26 out of 40 points.

Suni Lee’s dance to “Stay” by The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber (Jive)

After becoming a 3-time medalist at the Toyko Olympic Games, Suni Lee has her eyes set on the DWTS prize! Disproving the popular belief that gymnasts already have a strong dance ability, she expressed her nerves coming into the competition, stating, “I don’t know what I got myself into.” Putting on her game face, she delivered a joyful jive with partner Sasha Farber, who has previously partnered with other gymnast contestants on the show. Earning positive remarks from the judges, the duo earned the second-highest score of the night with 28 points out of 40.

Cody Rigsby’s dance to “Physical” by Dua Lipa (Tango)

Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby‘s excitement was present throughout the show, having brought one of the most energetic performances of the night with partner Cheryl Burke. Though his excitement was mixed with nerves, the judges praised his effort while giving advice to relax and loosen up. Bruno complimented his performance, saying, “great ride, on and off the bike.” The two earned a total score of 24 points.

Amanda Kloots’ dance to “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull (Tango)

Co-host of The View Amanda Kloots joins the season with a strong background in dance, having performed on Broadway for 17 years. After having lost her husband Nick to COVID-19 complications, she felt his presence in the audience as she danced the tango with partner Alan Bersten. Praising her friend’s performance, Carrie Ann assured her that Nick was watching down on her and wishing her good luck, which proved true as the pair earned 28 points, tying for the night’s second-highest score.

Martin Kove’s dance to “You’re The Best” by Joe “Bean” Esposito (Paso Doble)

Actor Martin Kove may be best known for his roles in The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai, but with help from his partner Britt Stewart, he hopes to soon be known for dancing! He stated that practicing for the show was harder than any karate he’s done, and it certainly showed, as the actor earned the lowest score of the night with 13 points. While the judges appreciated his high-energy opening monologue, they wished he had committed as much to the dance as he did his character.

Kenya Moore’s dance to “Kiss Me More” Doja Cat ft. SZA (Foxtrot)

Perhaps one of the night’s surprise performances, The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore wowed the judges with her grace and elegance during her foxtrot with partner Brandon Armstrong. The pair’s strong chemistry was clear, with Kenya even comparing him to a younger brother, much to his annoyance. Bruno stated that watching the former Miss USA winner was like “watching Venus emerge from a kiss,” along with other positive and constructive comments from the judges. The pair earned a solid score of 26 out of 40 points.

Christine Chiu’s dance to “Glamorous” by Fergie (Tango)

Star of the Netflix docuseries Bling Empire and self-proclaimed DWTS superfan, Christine Chiu made a “glamorous” debut alongside partner Pasha Pashkov. Carrie Ann described her as a “diamond in the rough,” having surprised the judges with great posture and flexibility. Only one episode in, but Christine revealed she received the first injury of the season, having dislocated a rib during practice. Luckily, the pain paid off, as the pair earned a total score of 25 points.

Matt James’ dance to “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James (Cha Cha)

Also returning to the show after becoming a mother, pro dancer Lindsay Arnold freaked out when she was paired up with former Bachelor star Matt James for the season. Diving all in with a huge smile on his face, Matt gave his debut performance his all, impressing the judges with his energy and enthusiasm. While he received criticism for his footwork, his body roll was memorable enough to earn the pair a solid score of 24 points.

Brian Austin Green’s dance to “Skate” by Silk Sonic (Foxtrot)

Beverly Hills, 90210 star Brian Austin Green‘s appearance on the show marks a rare occasion, as he is partnered alongside his real-life girlfriend and longtime DWTS pro, Sharna Burgess. Bringing their romantic chemistry to the ballroom floor, the couple made their debut performing a foxtrot to Silk Sonic’s “Skate.” While the judges relished in the couple’s love for each other, they weren’t afraid to point out the room for improvement. They still managed to start off strong with a score of 24.

JoJo Siwa’s dance to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet (Quickstep)

The final dance of the season premiere was a historic one, as pop star JoJo Siwa and partner Jenna Johnson debuted as the show’s first-ever same-sex pairing. Having grown up in the competitive dance spotlight on Dance Moms, JoJo’s dance skills were enough to earn the duo the top score of the night with 29 points, even with Jenna’s accidental slip mid-way through the routine. The judges praised the monumental moment, with Bruno exclaiming, “Finally, the groundbreaking moment we’ve been waiting for!” JoJo made herself the one to beat, as Derek told her, “You were born for Dancing With the Stars.”

Dancing With the Stars, Mondays, 8/7c, ABC