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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Recap: Vanessa Lachey Stuns and the First Couple Is Sent Home

Injuries abound on Dancing With the Stars! It’s only week two of the quest for the Mirrorball, but plenty of celebrities were already suffering from the physical strain. Still, they danced on, performing the first of two dances for the week. While some couples made great strides forward, others continued to struggle. Here’s how it all went down.

Dancing With The Stars
‘Dancing With The Stars’ Season 25 cast Eric McCandless via Getty Images

The Good

Frankie Muniz broke his back eight years ago, but his injury was acting up again due to the strain from rehearsals. He managed to push through and deliver a tango with Witney Carson that wowed the judges. “You are like an explosion together,” Carrie Ann Inaba declared. Len Goodman, however, thought their routine was “too aggressive.” In the end, they ended up with a 23, putting them near the top for the night.

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Tying with them were Sasha Pieterse and Gleb Savchenko. Her parents, who had been professional ballroom dancers themselves, stopped by the dance studio to tell Sasha that everything Gleb had been saying to her in terms of what she needed to fix was correct. Sasha did not appreciate that very much, but she did take everyone’s advice to heart. Len said their foxtrot blew him away, while Carrie Ann declared that she was a star. Bruno Tonioli complained about Sasha’s arms, but it didn’t bother him enough to ding her score much.

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev were close behind with a 21 for their waltz. Nikki performed in honor of her grandmother, which everyone thought was very sweet even though they all agreed she still had some work to do on her form. Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas also snapped up a 21 with their kooky butterfly-themed quickstep. Bruno again complained about her arms (he was really the arm police tonight), but all of the judges loved how creative the dance was.

Debbie Gibson and Alan Bersten, Drew Scott and Emma Slater, and Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke all landed just behind them with 20s. (Drew had pulled his hamstring, which had cut into rehearsal time, so he did pretty well all things considered.)

The Bad

Nick Lachey and his wife, Vanessa, have a deal that whoever gets the lower score has to give the other a foot rub, so the stakes are high! Nick and Peta Murgatroyd hoped that he would move from the middle of the pack up toward the top this week, but that didn’t really happen. Peta’s dress got caught during their foxtrot and they never quite recovered after that. Carrie Ann thought Nick was still too stiff but said she saw improvement and Vanessa cried tears of joy while watching her husband perform. Still, he only earned a 19, which put him near the bottom.

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Tying with him were Derek Fisher and Sharna Burgess. They too performed a foxtrot that underwhelmed the judges. Carrie Ann thought Derek was dancing too “small,” as if he were trying to swerve between other players on the basketball court. Len said he had to work on his finesse. Fortunately, Derek’s mom stopped in to tell him to tuck his butt in and pretty much stole the show.

The Best

Three couples tied for first tonight with 24s. Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold delivered what Bruno called a “true ballroom sparkler,” though Len thought it was too “staccato” and “sharp” at times. Still, the judges all said he was a talented dancer and one to watch. With his musical theater background (he was in Hamilton for a while) that’s hardly a shock, but Victoria Arlen was a bit of a surprise. Victoria (who was paralyzed for a decade and still has no feeling in her legs) performed a tango with Val Chmerkovskiy that blew the judges away. Carrie Ann was completely amazed at her technical ability and everyone loved her general upbeat vibe.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, though, was Vanessa Lachey and her partner, Maks Chmerkovskiy, who performed a foxtrot that Carrie Ann called “liquid gold.” It was obvious last week that Vanessa is a talented dancer, but she really took it to another level tonight. Bruno compared her to a cross between Ava Gardner and Jessica Rabbit. Oh, and she had sliced off one of her toenails during rehearsal, which made her performance even more impressive. (Fortunately, her toe was tucked away in her dance shoe.)

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The Gone

Then it was time for the first elimination of the season. In her video package, Barbara Corcoran had broken down in tears recalling her childhood. She had always been considered the dumb one in class because she is dyslexic, but she said this is what drove her to succeed. She worked hard to deliver a dance that was better than last week’s, but it wasn’t better by much. The judges said she looked more relaxed, which she attributed to her “love affair” with Keo Motsepe. They received a 17 and shortly thereafter, they became the first couple to be eliminated this season.

“How am I gonna live without him?” Barbara said. “It was such an honor and probably the most exciting thing I’ve done in my whole life.” Tom Bergeron suggested a dance-off between Barbara and Charo. No comment.

Tell Us: Did the right couple go home?

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Monday at 8 p.m. ET and Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

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