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'Dancing with the Stars' season 29 recap: Carole Baskin lets out her last roar on the dance floor

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ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — Dancing with the Stars celebrated all things Disney when it returned Monday night with competitors paying homage to the happiest place on earth.  There was plenty of magic in the air after two new competitors danced their way to the top of the scoreboard and earned the season’s first straight eights.

Despite surviving the bottom two last week, Carole Baskin — who was dressed like a lion for her samba to The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life” – was sent home by the judges after earning the night’s lowest score, a 12 out of 30. The Tiger King star was all smiles as she exited the ballroom floor for the last time, joking with host Tyra Banks that, “My husband is gonna be so happy I’m coming home.”

As for the night’s big shakeup on the leaderboard, Johnny Weir and Nev Schulman out-performed the rest of the competition with their mesmerizing routines and secured the highest scores of the season, 24 out of 30.

Weir’s powerful rumba to Mulan‘s “Reflection,” a song that deeply resonated with him and the struggle his family went through to help him achieve his Olympic dreams, brought judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.  She, along with fellow judges Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough, congratulated Weir for completing his transition from a world champion ice skater to an accomplished dancer.

Meanwhile, Catfish‘s Schulman dazzled with his Pirates of the Caribbean-themed Argentine tango by not only embracing his role as Captain Jack Sparrow, but for even channeling the beloved pirate’s mannerisms with each step.  The judges commended his ability to not only remain true to character, but for mastering the dance’s complicated foot movements and for sneaking in a few “appropriate” lifts.

One of the most welcome surprises of the night came from Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe, who happily announced she will be able to continue her DWTS journey.  The reality star’s MRI results determined that she didn’t fracture her ankle, but that her injury was caused by tendonitis and shin splints. 

She almost joined Weir and Schulman atop the leaderboard with her precise and graceful rumba to Moana‘s “How Far I Go,” but judge Hough regretfully had to deduct a point because she was dancing on her bare feet.  The six-time DWTS champion explained to Bristowe that without a “Latin heel and Latin shoes,” she technically didn’t perform a real rumba. 

The night’s biggest standout performance came from The Real‘s Jeanne Mai, whose romantic and smooth Viennese waltz to Up‘s “Married Life” won over the judges, who happily awarded her a new personal best score of 22/30.  The talk show host also dedicated her adorable routine to future husband Jeezy, who celebrated turning 43 on Monday night.

Dancing with the Stars returns next Monday for another “exciting and emotional night of competition” at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Here are the current standings:

Tied in First Place:
Nev Schulman, host of Catfish, with Jenna Johnson — 24/30
Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater, with Britt Stewart — 24/30

Kaitlyn Bristowe, former star of The Bachelorette, with Artem Chigvintsev — 23/20
Jeannie Mai, host of The Real, with Brandon Armstrong  — 22/30
Vernon Davis, Super Bowl champion, with Peta Murgatroyd — 22/30
Chrishell Stause, Netflix’s Selling Sunset star, with Gleb Savchenko — 22/30
Monica Aldama, head coach on Netflix’s CHEER, with Val Chmerkovskiy — 21/30
AJ McLean, member of Backstreet Boys, with Cheryl Burke — 21/30
Jesse Metcalfe, actor, with Sharna Burgess — 20/30
Justina Machado, One Day at a Time star, with Sasha Farber — 19/30
Skai Jackson, Disney Channel star, with Alan Bersten — 18/30
Nelly, Grammy Award-winning rapper, with Daniella Karagach — 18/30 

Lowest score:
Anne Heche, TV and film actress, with Keo Motsepe — 15/30

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By Megan Stone
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