Everyone got a surprise at the end of the Dancing With the Stars Season 18 premiere when the Week 2 dance styles were revealed live. The assignments were based on what the celebs supposedly told producers they wanted to dance. They didn’t necessarily want to dance these styles on Week 2, and the pros may not have wanted this at all, but it’s not the worst twist in the world, so let’s roll with it!
Here’s what each couple will be dancing on Monday, March 24, plus their thoughts on how Week 1 went and any plans they have for improvement going forward.
Candace told TODAY she "so didn't say" that she wanted the Rumba. "That’s the dance that I fear the most!" she said. "I really wanted to do the Viennese Waltz, so I was shocked when they told us we were doing the Rumba." Sneaky producers — we’re onto you! However, she added, “We got a great song and Mark says it’s great to get the Rumba out of the way, so it’s good."
Candace told On the Red Carpet she can critique her Contemporary performance — she saw a bent arm and whatnot — but she's really pleased with her "first one out of the gate." They're both really happy with the result. Mark said she really brought it out on the live show, he looked over at her during the routine and saw her expressions and was so impressed, especially since she has no experience. Candace fees like she's representing every mom out there, since there are probably a lot of viewers out there who also don't have dance experience but would be thrilled to do the show.
Amy told On the Red Carpet she knew this would be difficult, timing the first week with the Paralympics. She just had to get through it, now she wants to take it as far as she can. She's motivated — especially since she didn't get her gold medal at the Paralympics (she got bronze), so she's pushing for the DWTS version of the gold.
By the way, she said movement is easier for her than just standing, since the pressure from the prosthetics hurts less when she's moving around.
Derek is happy for them to get Swing on Week 2, but he would've been fine with anything. "A long time ago, I got very strategic with dances and when I was going to do them," planning out when he wanted to do this dance versus that one. He ultimately let go of that and said he'll work with whatever dance comes along. The future and past don't exist, you just focus on this moment. Very Zen, Hough, very Zen. He’s blogging for TV Guide this season, so he may update with more details on Friday.
Maks is not going to take the bait and say he and Meryl were underscored on Week 1. However, he did quip to On the Red Carpet that "the judges are still the same — the fossils are still here." Yes! A touch of the Old Maks. Just a touch, though. He's not going to do down that road again. He and Meryl are staying positive and having fun.
Maks told Meryl the scores are the element of the show they have no control over. His mistake in the past was overreacting to that kind of thing. It doesn't matter; what matters is what they do from here. They have a great new dance and they’re moving forward. They don’t talk specifically about the Swing Dance, but maybe we’ll hear more about it in a blog or interview later in the week.
Love Danica's assessment of Val: "He plays the violin and he wears brightly colored socks and he's really, really smart!" Colorful socks FTW! Danica is so bubbly and excited in the On the Red Carpet interview. Val definitely agrees that the show is going for romance and rivalries this season. He thinks it's fun to see the banter between Danica and Candace and it's fun to dance opposite his brother again, but they are focused on what they are doing. "I want everybody to have a great time," Val said. "I want everybody to do well, but I want us to do just a little better." Nice! They don't discuss specific Samba plans, but expect a sexy little two-person dance party.
The first guy Cheryl ever won with was named Drew, so maybe it can happen again… Cheryl told On the Red Carpet Drew exceeded her expectations on Week 1. You never know how your partner is going to be in rehearsals vs. live, she said, and Drew is better live — he's a true performer. He's also a humble guy, and she loves that.
Drew doesn't say anything about his Jive; if you put a camera near him, he just repeats their voting number!
Karina had to talk to On the Red Carpet solo, and she didn’t discuss any Salsa plans. Sean has two other jobs, Karina explained, so he couldn’t be there for the post-show press line. Karina said she complained a little bit to him, saying this is a job too and he has to be here. But since Sean is donating his DWTS money to charity she doesn't feel like she can push him. But next week he will be there.
Karina talked to OTRC about Sean's huge progress from when she started with him to the Week 1 show. She couldn't be more proud of him. She also talked about Sean's clothes — he is a fashion guy — and she said to give her a couple of weeks; if they get to Week 4 or 5, she'll make him go shirtless.
Peta told On the Red Carpet she couldn't believe some of the behind-the-scenes video packages that aired on the premiere. They had a good laugh about their dating set-up package. James is just hoping to inspire some of his fans to pursue their own dreams and try things they've never done before.
In terms of doing Salsa on Week 2, James said they're going to do many different styles of dance, so if Salsa wasn't next week it would be another week. It's going to be a challenge, but he's excited — especially since it'll be more "free" than their Foxtrot.
James expanded on the topic in his Parade blog, writing, "As for next week, I think the Salsa is cool and I’m excited to do the second dance and do something different than the Foxtrot. I’m so sick of frame! I started to appreciate it more than ever. My back is sore, let’s do something that’s not as upper-body demanding. I think if I can take anything away from the first performance it’s as soon as I forgot about the crowd, just as if I was performing on tour, I started having fun and people noticed. Even if the dance wasn’t perfect, they enjoyed that aspect. I want to continue to remember that and continue to have fun."
He's going to have to get used to perfecting his frame, though. Sorry, man!
Henry told On the Red Carpet the first thing that strikes him about Diana is “respect.” They've built a trust. She listens intently to what he says, which is great as a teacher (he also just has a great voice), and he's inspired by her past and present achievements. No one wants to be here more than Diana, he said. She's a DWTS expert and he can feel that in the rehearsal room. She loves the process — she feels like she could win a DWTS trivia contest. She's also a flower that still has to bloom; "don't give up on me!"
They have such a positive outlook. They don't discuss plans for the Cha-Cha, but it's actually a good follow-up for the Foxtrot, and not a bad dance to get on Week 2.
Billy told OTRC he's appreciative of the audience support, although it was a bit "disconcerting" to get the kind of scores that he got for the Week 1 Cha-Cha. (All 5s.) Emma reminded Billy that the scores are only half the battle — or maybe not even half, because the most important thing in the whole show is how the fans react and how inspiring you can be. She would know after Bill Engvall last season! She knows so many people are rooting for Billy Dee and can't wait to see him on the show. Plus, the rioters are back! They plan to riot if Billy is eliminated.
Billy thought they did very well in the first dance and Emma said it was the best he had done it. Emma said their partnership is very young and fresh, but she's already learned a lot from him. They didn’t share thoughts on the Tango, but it might be a good fit for him.
Witney and Cody already have little injuries, even though their combined age is only 37. Cody just wants to get out of this with an amazing life experience. He believes it’ll make him a better entertainer to have all these dance styles under his belt. He was really “stoked” with their first performance. He was nervous ahead of time but Witney coached him through it and calmed him down. He talked to OTRC about his new song, “Surfboard,” and why older women (50s, 60s, 70s, etc.) who may not know who he is might want to support him too. They also went over the fauxmance angle a bit, but they didn’t talk about their Week 2 Tango.
Sharna said they really made it tough on themselves for next week, since they started so high at the top. She warned that fans should expect a roller coaster from Charlie. He'll be great at some things and not-so-great at others, like everyone else. "Contemporary sits on his body beautifully,” she said. “Next week we have Tango. I have a feeling he's going to be an amazing Tango dancer." But they hadn't even started it yet.
Charlie has a natural ease about him, OTRC said, and he said he's spent a lifetime making himself look like he's calm. You don't want to look like you're scared as hell at the Olympics, you want to look like you're ready to perform. Sharna said she almost knocked Charlie over at the end of their routine, ‘cause she was so excited and overwhelmed at how they got through the routine with no mistakes or hiccups. Charlie said he was aiming for 10s; getting 9s just made him hungry for perfection. We have a super-competitor!
NeNe told On the Red Carpet the Jive is her husband Gregg’s favorite dance, not hers. Getting it on Week 2 actually goes against Tony’s master plan. “I wanted to save some of those exciting, energetic dances for a little bit later in the competition,” he said. “We started with Cha-Cha and now we've got Jive. Two exciting dances. I don't want to get to Week 8 and start doing Foxtrot." Oh well! It’s not that bad to have two exciting dances in a row, since “exciting” implies the opposite of boring. Not that NeNe could ever be boring. They’ll work it out.