"DWTS: Athletes" Week 1 Recap: Well, That Was Quick(Step)

April 30, 2018

Excuse us for a sec—we’re still recovering from extreme whiplash.

Approximately five minutes after we watched the 10 couples of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” perform for the first time, we were forced to say goodbye to two of those dynamic duos. During the premiere.

Such are the perils of this accelerated, 4-week season of “DWTS.” But on the plus side, Olympic figure skaters make darn good ballroom dancers—on the sliding reality-TV scale, at least—and since no fewer than three of them took to the ballroom floor last night, we were treated to a highly entertaining show.

First, let’s talk about Tonya Harding. Because while we figured we’d love her in an ironic way, we actually just loved her, period. Her foxtrot with Sasha Farber was fluid, full of clean lines, and—we’ll say it—classy.

It was super fun to see Mirai Nagasu, always so elegant on the ice, show off her sensual side in a spicy salsa with Alan Bersten. And she had zero trouble pulling off some truly crazy acrobatic tricks.

Holding it down for the non-skater crowd was Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, whose super-energetic cha-cha was the happy surprise of the night. He pulled off the intricate choreo handily—and it seems like he and Sharna Burgess have real, not-just-for-TV chemistry, which is always fun.

Finally, let’s discuss ballroom-legend-in-the-making Adam Rippon, shall we? I mean, If you could build a “DWTS” celeb to spec in a lab, you’d make this unicorn of a man. And his cha cha with our fave Jenna Johnson had ALL the sparkle, both literal and figurative. Giant glitter wings! A RuPaul song! Legitimately impressive technique! We’re with Carrie Ann: Adam was born to do this show.

At the end of the episode, after some intense live voting, we lost Red Sox vet Johnny Damon and snowboarder Jamie Anderson to the sands of “DWTS” time. Johnny and Jamie, we hardly knew ye.

‘Til next week, friends. Our Adam Rippon shrine—a sculpture of his perfect eyebrows, made of sequins and feathers glued together with hair gel—should be just about done by then.