Last week Nelly was told he needed a breakout performance on “Dancing With the Stars” and he delivered on Monday night’s show as the Top 13 took the stage.
On last week’s show, judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she needed a breakout performance from the "Country Grammar" rapper, and to the tune of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win,” that’s what he gave as he opened the show with pro dance partner Daniella Karagach.
They danced the Paso Doble (meaning double-step) to the hit tune, and Nelly walked away from it with his strongest performance to date. Adding a couple of sly hip-hop flourishes to the dance certainly kept him even more at ease, not to mention yet another pair of fresh, customized dance-fitted Jordans.
Nelly and Karagach were rewarded with their best scores ever, seven points from each of the judges, totaling 21. It was their highest total to date, though it still left them tied at the bottom.
At the elimination at show's end, Nelly and Karagach were safe. The rapper was clearly on pins and needles awaiting his fate, and once it was finally revealed, he appeared so relieved he couldn't even muster a smile.
Judge Inaba told Nelly not only was this his breakout, but it was misstep-free, and that the improvement was definitely seen.
Judge Derek Hough said he really enjoyed the routine, commented on Nelly having his “guns” out, and said all he needed during the routine was more shaping, something the other judges repeated. Bruno Tonioli told Nelly to refine his artistry.
Going into the dance, Nelly said the term Paso Doble alone was a monkey wrench for him. His partner promised she’d push him harder than ever with more pressure and more sweat.
One Nelly side note later in the show -- during Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy’s dance to “Party in the U.S.A.,” lyrics were slightly revised to include Nelly and Backstreet Boys (Backstreet Boys performed virtually during the telecast with groupmate AJ McLean, who is also a celebrity dancer on the show).