"I wasn't on for very long," she admitted. Kardashian was the third contestant eliminated way back in Season 7, a decade ago now. She did have some advice for the basketball daughter, who got critiqued for her shyness last week.
"I think my shyness really hurt me," Kardashian told her. "So I really want you to be confident. You just have to, like, let it go." But was she able to? Was Kim's support enough to keep her toward the top of the leader board?
Once again, the voters in the studio audience proved that they are watching this show with blinders on, keeping truly awful performers and sending home another contender. Le sigh.
Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last sixteen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Mandy Moore, and Adam Rippon, because they are really being sweet to these kids. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
Props to Sophia for making it through with no missteps in the choreography, but she could have done with a little pinache. Something. It was such a flat performance, she came off look like she was doing a walkthrough. And her confidence definitely didn't get much of a boost from Kim, as it looked like she was in her head throughout that routine, with discomfort written all over her face throughout. Unfortunately, this was the most uncomfortable she's looked all season, as if she's regressed.
A contemporary routine is right in Mackenzie's wheelhouse, so this needed to be great. It's annoying that producers seem determined to downplay her extensive dance training, but there was no hiding it during this beautifully realized routine. Dancers point their toes like that, and she was perfectly in tune with Sage through partnering and tandem work. She's a fantastic dancer, but it does feel a little unfair to the other contestants.
Brandon really pushed Ariana with this samba choreography, incorporating a prop and a lot of character and personality, and she really shined through. There was some hip action there, which really worked with her grass skirt, and some real flair in the samba movements. Sure, she's a little stiff at times still, as she's working through, but she's showing a growing confidence and grace on the dance floor, and their work with the limbo bar was tricky and handled beautifully.
Judges Scores: 9, 8, 8
My Score: 8
Mandla Morris & Brightyn Brems (w/ Cheryl Burke)
Brightyn did a lot of heavy lifting in this jazz routine, but mariachi bandleader Mandla really did step up as a leading man in a way we haven't seen before. He had true moments of command and presence on that stage, and moved with a confidence in himself that was nice to see. It wasn't totally consistent, but it was enough to show real growth and the potential for further improvement.
This piece had a lot of character and personality, but it also had elements of swing and a pretty solid Charleston section that Miles handled admirably. His ankles could have turned in a little more aggressively, but that's not an easy thing to do at the speed Lindsay had them working in. Performance was top-notch, and his delivery of the choreography continues to improve making him one to watch.
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9
My Score: 9
Alana Thompson & Tristan Ianiero (w/ Artem Chigvintsev)
This was a true transformation for Alana who showed more grace and poise in this routine than we've seen all season. She embodied the character of Belle beautifully, and even gave a few bars of solid foxtrot here and there. At some points, she was stalking the stage more than moving gracefully through it, but this is a huge step in the right direction for the reality star.
What a cool and inspirational routine from this young couple. It was genuinely moving, and Sky matched JT almost move for move through this contemporary piece, including several acrobatic moves. You could see the yearning in her performance of "How Far I'll Go," and she's backing off of her reliance on the mouth agape facial expression, offering some variety, which is refreshing. That was very strong.
Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8
My Score: 8
Jason Maybaum & Elliana Walmsley (w/ Emma Slater)
There was a sweetness to this foxtrot that almost overcame Jason's stiff gait throughout. He definitely brought the performance element to the piece, and he managed all of the choreography, but it's about a fluidity of movement rather than just getting where you need to be for the next step. He is improving in his dance elements overall, though, which is good to see. He just needs to show some proper technique in these styles to really show it.
Akash's problem is he's not committing fully to anything. Even his flexing poses are with floppy and weak arms. Just own each pose, each extension, each step fully and he'll be amazed at how much better his everything looks, because he's got the choreography down. He's either way too self-conscious or in his head or something, but he's so close to just being able to break out of his shell and be a real performer. The pieces are there and it could be so much fun ,but the only thing slowing his growth at this point is him.
Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7
My Score: 6
Unexpectedly, Sophia Pippen dropped to the bottom of the leaderboard, with a three-way tie above her including Mandla Morris, Akash Vukoti and "Honey Boo Boo" herself, Alana Thompson, who climbed out of the judges' basement with her best week yet.
Once again, there were tears in the ballroom when it was revealed that Sophia & Jake had scored the lowest combined total from the audience and judges' scores. With a two-point gap between her and the next highest score, the audience was going to have to work hard to save her, and the numbers just weren't there.
With this show not taped live, there's an opportunity for a cut to allow the eliminated couple time to collect themselves so they can say a few words. These are kids, so their emotions are running hotter than adults, so having them come down right away with tears streaming down their faces just makes all of us sad.
"Dancing With the Stars: Juniors" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET, and don't forget "Dancing with the Stars" every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.