Country star and American Idol alum Lauren Alaina returned to the ballroom floor on Monday (Sept. 23) as part of the second episode of season 28 of Dancing with the Stars. This week’s edition of the show marked the first elimination round for competitors. But, that didn’t stop Alaina from proving she still belongs in the running for the Mirror Ball trophy.
Showing viewers just how much she has improved as a dancer from week one, the Georgia native, 24, and her pro partner, Gleb Savchenko, wowed judges with a remarkable paso doble routine to Demi Lovato’s pop smash, “Confident.” Alaina looked elegant, while dressed in a gown with a mesh and sequin top and with her hair pulled back in a high bun. She and her partner kept the energy going throughout their dance as Savchenko ripped off Alaina’s cape before she closed out their performance in the splits.
“I love seeing you come out of your shell like this!” Carrie Ann Inaba told Alaina afterward. “You seem so conservative, but not today! You’re extremely flexible. Your shoulders were a little high throughout, but when he took off the cape, you were like, ‘God this feels good.’ I was loving you.”
After hearing from the judges,’ the competitors received a score of 19/30, which equaled last week’s total when they danced the cha-cha to Shania Twain’s iconic hit “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.”
Leading up to the show, viewers learned of a change in voting. For the first time during the live broadcast, fans could text in their votes up until the final dance of the night. Following the last routine, results were in, and contestants were whittled down to the bottom two. Alaina and Savchenko were marked as safe, but that wasn’t the case for The Supremes’ Mary Wilson and her partner Brandon Armstrong or Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis and dancer Cheryl Burke, who found themselves in the bottom two. Luckily, judges were able to save one pair out of the low scoring couples. They chose Lewis and Burke.
Even though Wilson and Armstrong were forced to go home, all of the performances during the night were fierce. Fellow contestants James Van Der Beek and his partner Emma opened up the program with a solid cha-cha routine. Meanwhile, Sailor Brinkley-Cook and dancer Val Chmerkovskiy took the ballroom floor with sensual rumba. The highest-earner of the night was Bachelorette star Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten who delivered an otherworldly Viennese waltz to Taylor Swift’s “Lover.”
Along with Alaina and other stars previously mentioned, this season of DWTS featured a cast of celebrities who come from various career backgrounds, including Fifth Harmony member Ally Brooke, The Office alum Kate Flannery, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, All That’s Kel Mitchell and former Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.