‘DWTS: Juniors’ Series Premiere Recap: Talented Tykes Hit the Stage for the First Time

­”Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” made its grand debut on Sunday, October 7 on ABC. The spin-off of “Dancing with the Stars” featured talented tykes flaunting their skills on the ballroom, vying for the chance to win the first-ever “DWTS: Juniors” mirror ball trophy. The series premiere saw the 12 celebrity kids performing alongside their professional junior ballroom dancers.

First taking the stage were Jason Maybaum and Elliana Walmsley. Mentored by Emma Slater, they did a Cha Cha to “Bills” by Lunchmoney Lewis. Judge Mandy Moore commented, “You are incredible, I love your rhythm and confidence.” Meanwhile, Valentin Chmerkovskiy said, “You have wonderful showmanship and charisma, but watch your footwork.” The judges gave them a 18 out of 30.

Following it up with a Foxtrot to “Mama Said” by The Shirelles were Tripp Palin and Hailey Bills. Val praised the pair, who were mentored by Jenna Johnson, saying that it was an “awesome foxtrot.” Adam Rippon added, “For someone who has never danced before, you should look in the mirror and tell yourself you are a dancer too. You did such a great job and you can’t go wrong with a beige shoe.” They earned a 17.

Addison Osta Smith and Lev Khmelev, meanwhile, danced a Cha Cha to “Burnin’ Up” by Jessie J featuring 2 Chainz with the help of mentor Keo Motsepe. Val noted that Addison had a great charisma, though he wanted “to see the better technique.” Addison got 15 points.

Miles Brown and Rylee Arnold opted for a Salsa to “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men. Lindsay Arnold mentored the pair. “That was an incredible salsa, I loved it. The minute you start I saw you explode with energy and it felt like you got all cool calm and collected. I thought it was awesome, star power,” Mandy raved. They got a 22, the highest score the night so far.

Performing a Jive to “Do You Love Me” by The Contours were Sophia Pippen and Jake Monreal who were mentored by Sasha Farber. Val loved their performance, saying, “Girl I am so proud of you, that was so good. You are so shy and so collected but when you came out and you were a different person. It was awesome, you make a great team. Sophie got 21 points.

Hudson West and Kameron Couch, who were mentored by Hayley Erbert, then took the stage to dance a Cha Cha to “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes. Mandy was wowed by Hudson’ performance, saying, “Hudson, I did not expect that from you, mister. It was really good, you had one moment when you were off with your timing. When you are rushing, you should make your moves bigger so they fill up space.” Tying with Miles, Hudson got a 22.

Ariana Greenblatt and Artyon Celestine, mentored by Brandon Armstrong, also did a Cha Cha to “Cut to the Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen. It was such an epic performance that the judges gave nothing but compliments. “Ariana, you are so cute, and you pointed right at me. That was awesome,” said Adam. She earned a 24.

Mentored by Gleb Savchenko, Mackenzie Ziegler and Sage Rosen later danced a Foxtrot to “New York, New York” by Ray Quinn featuring Ultra Love. Val said that he didn’t really like “when it changed from old school,” though he pointed out that that “was an incredible performance. It started so awesome, it was perfect in the beginning.” Mackenzie got 22 points.

Then it was time for Alana Thompson a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo to hit the stage. Mentored by Artem Chigvintsev, she did a Salsa to “Conga” by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine alongside Tristan Ianiero. “The most beautiful thing about you is your confidence, it resonates in your performance. I wish you could improve your technique a bit,” Val said of her performance. The jugdes gave them a 19.

Mandla Morris and Brightyn Brems, who were mentored by Cheryl Burke, did a Jive. Mandy thought he was as good as a “professional,” while Val said, “The superstar status is in your blood. That was the performance of the night for me.” The pair earned a 24.

Mentored by Witney Carson, Akash Vukoti and Kamri Peterson danced a Foxtrot. Adam dubbed him “cute” and “charming,” adding that he thought “veryone in this room has fallen in love with you.” Mandy commented thatt it was an “awesome” Foxtrot with incredible control. Akash got a 21.

Rounding out that night were Sky Brown and JT Church. Mentored by Alan Bersten, they took the stage to dance a Salsa. Adam called their performance “so clean” and “so sharp.” Meanwhile, Val thought “the Sky’s the limit” and she had great hip action. Sky got 22 points

It was time to learn the result and Addison & Lev and Tripp & Hailey were the two pairs who were eliminated in the first night.

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