Performing the salsa to his own song “Ride Wit Me” with pro dancer Daniella Karagach, St. Louis superstar Nelly made his “Dancing With the Stars” debut on ABC Monday night during the show’s 29th season premiere, scoring 16 out of 30 points for the performance.
The scores seemed a bit lower than expected, which drew boos from the crowd and ranked Nelly No. 12 out of 15 celebrity dancers.
The scores will carry over and combine with judges’ scores from week two; week two will also see the first weekly live viewing audience vote of the season and the first elimination.
Starting the performance on a motorcycle, Nelly and Karagach delivered respectably, with Nelly’s backflip serving as the dance’s unexpected highlight. He looked as if he was having the time of his life.
After the performance, judge Bruno Tonioli thanked Karagach for taking Nelly on a wonderful ride and said their connection was fun, but Nelly needed to be more elastic.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said Nelly has a groove no one else had but he needs to open up and expose his heart. She added she didn’t see the backflip coming.
New judge Derek Hough said their dance was great, that he wanted to shake Nelly’s hand since he’s a fan but social distancing and all, and that Nelly may want to wear ballroom shoes instead of sneakers moving forward.