Dancing With the Stars season 29 premiered on September 14. While the cast was revealed in advance of the season premiere, fans were not informed of the celebrity and pro dancer pairings until night 1 of the competition.
Want to know the couples competing together this season? Read on to find out!
BEWARE OF SPOILERS BELOW.
AJ McClean & Cheryl Burke
Former Backstreet Boy AJ McClean was paired with Cheryl Burke. Of his pairing choice, McClean said, “I think she’s gonna push me. I’m stoked!” Burke admitted that, between Backstreet Boys and N*Sync, she thought N*Sync was the better dancing group; McClean said Burke and his wife were on the same page in that regard.
The pair performed a jive for their first dance, and judge Derek Hough praised the potential for their “great partnership.” They received 6s across the board for a first score of 18.
Chrishell Stause & Gleb Savchenko
Actress and Selling Sunset reality star Chrishell Stause was partnered this season with Gleb Savchenko. She told Savchenko that she thinks dancing on the show will be “way harder” than selling real estate.
Judge Bruno Tonioli told Stause that a lot when wrong during her Tango, while Carrie Ann Inaba told her she has “lots of potential,” adding, “I’m excited to see what you bring next week.” Stause got two 4s and a 5 for a total of 13 points out of 30.
Vernon Davis & Peta Murgatroyd
Former NFL star Vernon Davis will be competing alongside professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd. Davis said from the moment he stepped into the rehearsal space to meet Murgatroyd “The synergy was there, her vibe was infectious.”
Davis only retired from the NFL last year, so competition is not new to him. For his first dance of the season, he and Murgatroyd performed a Foxtrot to “All of Me” by John Legend. Inaba told Davis his first dance was impressive, complimenting his “stage presence” (though she said she was going to dock a point for a lift); Hough was also impressed, pointing out how “smooth” Davis is on the dance floor. Their Foxtrot earned them a score of 17.
Anne Heche & Keo Motsepe
Actress Anne Heche said she “always dreamed [she] would be on Dancing With the Stars,” and said she was “humbled” to be partnered with Keo Motsepe. She said she thinks she got “the best partner.”
Heche and Motsepe performed a Cha-Cha for the premiere. Hough commented on how “clean” and “neat” her first dance was but offered constructive criticism that she needs to remember to complete each move before she moves on to the next. Tonioli told her she needed more hip action in her moves. They scored an 18 out of 30.
Jeannie Mai & Brandon Armstrong
Co-host of The Real and Holey Moley, who said she’s been watching DWTS since season 1, Jeannie Mai was paired with Brandon Armstrong. Though Mai said she doesn’t have any prior dance experience, Armstrong pointed out how “feisty” she is.
Mai and Armstrong danced an upbeat Salsa in matching lime green costumes and earned an 18.
Jesse MetCalfe & Sharna Burgess
TV and film actor Jesse MetCalfe is competing with Sharna Burgess this season! Although MetCalfe rose to stardom for his role on Desperate Housewives, Burgess revealed, “I used to watch Passions as a teenager.” Burgess was not a part of the season 28 professional cast, so it is exciting to see her back in the ballroom as a competitor.
After their Quickstep, Inaba said it was one of the “steamiest Quicksteps” she’s ever seen, and told them they need to “tame it in a little bit.” They scored an 18 out of 30 for their first dance.
Skai Jackson & Alan Bersten
Disney star Skai Jackson is the youngest contestant on this season of Dancing With the Stars and said she grew up watching DWTS with her mom. Jackson was excited to meet Bersten, saying that they were going to become “best friends.” Bersten is the reigning champ in the ballroom – he won season 28 with partner Hannah Brown.
Jackson delivered a dynamic Tango for her first dance and scored the first 7s of the night for a total of 21.
Kaitlyn Bristowe & Artem Chigvintsev
Former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe was asked to be on DWTS by Bachelor host Chris Harrison himself, and was thrilled to learn that Artem Chigvintsev was her partnered.
The duo performed a Cha-Cha, and the judges agreed that it was a great first dance. Hough recommended she “hit” her arms and give more bite moving forward, suggesting she looked like she was playing it safe. Bristowe and Chigvintsev got a 20 out of 30 for their performance.
Nev Schulman & Jenna Johnson
Catfish host Nev Schulman brought flowers to the rehearsal room to meet his partner Jenna Johnson. Johnson referred to him as “bubbly” and a “funny nerd.”
After their Foxtrot, Inaba said, “The world needs a little bit more of Nev,” recommending he smooth out his moves. Hough complimented Schulman as a great dancer but said his “booty” was “in another time zone,” and Tonioli said he should work on improving his hold as a contestant in the competition. Schulman and Johnson earned a 20 out of 30.
Johnny Weir & Britt Stewart
Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir was paired with new female dance professional Britt Stewart. Stewart is also the first Black female dance pro to compete on DWTS. After their first dance together, Weir told host Tyra Banks, “How lucky am I to get to dance with such a brilliant pro?”
As an early front-runner due to his skating background, it was no surprise that the judges enjoyed their Cha-Cha. Hough told Weird to stay confident, pointing out that the moves that were distinctly Cha-Cha appeared to be a bit out of his element. They scored an 18.
Justina Machado & Sasha Farber
Six Feet Under and One Day at a Time actress Justina Machado said she wasn’t feeling pressure because she’s not a professional dancer. Her partner, Sasha Farber, remarked after meeting her: “I can tell that Justina is pure fire.”
Machado and Farber got a 21 out of 30 for their Cha-Cha, tying for 1st place for the night.
Charles Oakley & Emma Slater
Former NBA star Charles Oakley is the tallest contestant of the season; he is 6’9″ tall! His height will prove challenging for his partner Emma Slater, who said, “I love working with athletes.” Oakley told her he’s a special athlete because he considers himself “a student of the game.”
Inaba told Oakley that he was ahead of the music the whole time and that he should use having the whole ballroom dance floor to his advantage. Oakley got a 12 out of 30 for his dance and though it was the lowest score at that point in the night, he was still cheerful to receive it.
Monica Aldama & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Monica Aldama from the Netflix show Cheer said cheerleading is “way different from ballroom dancing,” adding that the most dance training she’s had came from watching DWTS. Of their pairing, Chmerkovskiy said, “I’ve never been a coach to one of the most legendary, famous coaches right now.”
After their Foxtrot, Hough said it felt “really good to watch.” Tonioli warned her not to break her wrists and to be careful executing her under-over turns. Aldama and Chmerkovskiy got 6s from Inaba and Tonioli but a 7 from Hough, for a total score of 19.
Nelly & Daniella Karagach
Singer Nelly was paired with new dance pro Daniella Karagach. Of his partner, Nelly said, “I feel great about Daniella, but she’s gonna need to carry these feet.”
The two performed a Salsa to Nelly’s song “Ride Wit Me,” in color-coordinated red dance costumes. Inaba scored their dance a 5, as did Hough; Tonioli gave them a 6 out of 10 for a total of 16 for their first dance of the season.
Carole Baskin & Pasha Pashkov
Carole Baskin, Tiger King star and the season’s most controversial contestant, is competing alongside Pasha Pashkov for season 29. Baskin said that if someone would have told her last year that she’d be on Dancing With the Stars, “I would have laughed out loud.” Baskin said she has no previous dance experience, so Pasha Pashkov will have a lot to teach her. Baskin brought a flower crown to the rehearsal studio to meet Pashkov.
The pair danced the Paso Doble to “Eye of the Tiger,” and Inaba praised her for not holding back. The couple received two 4s and a 3 from Bruno for a total of 11 – the lowest score of the night.
Dancing With the Stars season 29 premieres on Monday, September 14 at 8/7c on ABC.
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