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TV stars Alfonso Ribeiro and Sadie Robertson commanded the dance floor and took home the highest scores of the night on Monday’s Dancing With the Stars season 19 premiere.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air veteran and his professional partner Witney Carson wowed the crowd and judges’ table with their jive, earning 36/40 points, the highest score of the night. Ribeiro, a seasoned tap dancer who landed his first acting role in Broadway’s The Tap Dance Kid, is prioritizing fun as his motivation for the season.
“At the end of the day, what I will try to do is the same thing that I did this week, which was try to do my best,” Ribeiro said. “And no matter what happens, no matter what score we get, it’s ultimately about working as hard as we can, focusing and having as much fun as we can on this dance floor.”
Ribeiro and Carson have been having so much fun that the comedian lost 15 pounds in the four short weeks of training and preparation for the season premiere. The actor credits making healthy personal choices and his wife’s healthy cooking, coupled with dancing, as keys to his fitter physique.
While devout fans are eagerly waiting for the Fresh Prince star to bust out the classic Carlton dance, Ribeiro and Carson confirm that it will make a debut some time this season. “All we know is that the [Carlton dance] is not going to be in the beginning. We’re going to save it,” Ribeiro said. “To be able to have something that America, and really the world, loves me for is something. How many people have that?”
Duck Dynasty duckling Robertson and pro dance partner Mark Ballas earned 34/40 for their cha-cha-cha, the second-highest score of the evening. The 17-year-old Christian reality star’s cheering section included fellow DD stars and parents Willie Robertson and Korie Robertson.
New judge Julianne Hough, a former DWTS pro dancer and two-time mirrorball trophy winner, was equally impressed by Robertson’s natural dancing abilities alongside fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. “Introducing Sadie Robertson. You are absolutely beautiful,” Hough said. “You are the entire package. Not only do you perform so, so comfortably, but you have the lines, you have the legs, everything is great.”
Olympian Lolo Jones‘ personal cha-cha-cha sentiments did not equal to Robertson’s. Though fashion designer Betsey Johnson and partner Tony Dovolani scored the lowest overall (20/40) despite the 72-year-old showcasing a cartwheel and the splits, Jones was disappointed in her premiere performance with first-time pro dancer Keo Motsepe.
“It was ‘Welcome Keo to America’ and I was just like, ‘You just messed up his dance.’ It was really heartbreaking for me and I’m not going to hide that,” Jones said. “Forever now his first dance with somebody was not what it was supposed to be.”
Jones added: “You can only move on with another chance, so I really hope that people give us another chance so I can really show them how he’s very talented, I’m talented, and I would love for people to see how you can make a rebound, because I am very good at that.”
Tune in Sept. 16 for the first elimination at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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