Adam Rippon has dropped off his skates and picked up some new dance moves in the opening episode of Season 26 of Dancing With the Stars. This unique short season of the show includes a cast of famous athletes from different disciplines.
The season has a few winter Olympians such as Tonya Harding, Jamie Anderson, Mirai Nagasu, Chris Mazdzer and of course, Rippon. There are also some team sports players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former MLB outfielder Johnny Damon.
In this first week, the couples dance to the foxtrot, salsa, cha-cha-cha, or the waltz. The couples were evaluated both by the judges and from a live voting audience at home. For the first time in the show, two couples were eliminated on the opening episode. (Spoilers ahead!)
Luckily, Rippon wasn’t one of the two couples. In fact, he was one of the top couples of the week. It’s been a dream for the Olympian to be on the show, so I’m sure it feels great that he performed well.
Before we get into the dance, we have to talk about his introduction video. The first 10 seconds of the clip where Adam meets his partner, Jenna Johnson, is just them screaming and hugging. “It was destiny,” he says.
“Adam and I, when we first met, I was amazed because I felt like we had known each other for years,” Jenna explained in the clip. “Immediately, there was just a connection and a chemistry.”
I need to get a drink of water before we discuss how amazing his freaking performance was. If I hadn’t seen him plastered all over Twitter for like a month, I wouldn’t have been able to tell which one was the celebrity and which one was the professional dancer. First off all, they danced to “Sissy That Walk.” I don’t know if that was Jenna’s choice or a production decision, but either way, genius move.
While technically a cha-cha-cha, the choreography included some voguing moves and runway walking from the couple. Something I noticed in this dance, as compared to others, is that the moves didn’t seem as gendered. The opening, for example, was Adam voguing and walking down a set of stairsvery Beyoncé at the Super Bowl. In other performances, we saw the men performing pretty traditional “male” roles in the couple. With Adam though, we got a lot more variety.
A big condragulations to Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson. The judges and host, Tom Bergeron, commented on how the couple already feels so synchronized and connected. If this was the opening night, I can’t wait to see what they have planned for the rest of the season.