Dancing With the Stars lost NFL legend Ray Lewis this week, and the rest of the cast is sad to see him go. Lewis announced on Monday night's episode that he is unable to dance due to a severe leg injury, and his co-stars sent their well-wishes. On the other hand, some are worried about how this effects their chances.
Lewis was replaced by his fellow NFL alum Rashad Jennings, who teamed up with his partner, Cheryl Burke. Jennings put on an impressive display on Monday night, allowing his rivals to get a feel for his talent. They gave their first impressions to Entertainment Tonight reporters on the scene.
Lewis was on set on Monday night as well. The NFL player tore three tendons in his leg, an injury that will require surgery, rehab and a long recovery. He admitted that he thought about trying to push through the pain and keep dancing, but ultimately admitted defeat. In the end, he tipped his hat to Jennings, wishing him luck.
Meanwhile, the other competitors are doing their best to size Jennings up, while at the same time paying deference to their fallen comrade. The professional dancers weighed in as well, having seen Jennings dance before in Season 24 of the show.
Here is how each of the remaining contestants reacted to Lewis leaving DWTS, and Jennings taking his place.
Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke
"We went back and forth on the phone at the house at times because I really wanted to push through — I wanted to figure it out, like, 'Can I go?'" Lewis told ET on Monday.
Lewis said that it actually took a conversation with his mother to take his time on this one, saying that there's "a lesson" in the injury and the disappointment. He also said that he believes he'll be back on the stage once he is able.
"I've been telling people, like, I really want to do this show again," he said.
Burke suggested that the show needs "to do a season of injuries," listing other prominent stars that have had to bow out of the competition.prevnext
Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd
Last week, Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd may have been saved by Lewis' departure from the show. They were one of the bottom two couples, but thanks to the shakeup, no one was sent home. Murgatroyd admitted that there was some relief mixed in with her feelings.
"I'm so glad that we didn't go home, I said that to [Lamar]," she said. "I was freaking out a little bit."
"I know if Ray had to leave the show, he must really be hurt," Odom added. "But God is on his side, and I'm on his side as well. So, he'll be all right."prevnext
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson
The other couple in the bottom two was comedian Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson. Like Odom and Murgatroyd, they had some relief, but Mitchell was preoccupied. He told ET that he did not see the point of the criticism that he was too "serious" in his performance.
"Yeah, I mean comedians can be serious, and I think they should give them that," he said. "We can play different roles so, I don't know. I think it's kind of spooking them out a little bit, but I am a grown man."prevnext
Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Lewis was actually the second cast member to leave DWTS this season, following Christie Brinkley. Brinkley's daughter, Sailor, stepped in for her, and she said that Lewis' departure was "devastating."
"I loved seeing Ray out there," she said. "He had incredible energy and he still does and we'll keep dancing for him."
"I think we know firsthand about injuries in this competition," her partner added. "For us, it happened before the premiere, but yeah, it sucks."prevnext
Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov
The Office star Kate Flannery said that she was not surprised by Lewis' injury. Given the intensity of the competition, she thought that something like this was a possibility from the start.
"I think this is a very serious group of contestants," the Office star shared. "I think people are really pushing their limits and I think it's great but there is that risk."
Her partner, Pasha Pashkov, took it one step further, revealing that Flannery herself has actually been feeling the effects of their demanding regimen.
"I mean, you feel it, too," he said. "Kate went to physical therapy probably three to four times this week. You have to take care of yourself because it's very easy to get hurt."
After everything she went through, Flannery said that she was surprised by their high score.
"This is insane!" she joked. "The fact that it's going so well is like a Christmas miracle in September. What is happening?"prevnext
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber
Ally Brooke shared Flannery's fear of injury, joking that her "toes might be third" to get broken this season.
"Believe it or not, y'all don't have to worry because they're not injured," she went on, referring to her feet. "They're just being covered because my feet hang out of these shoes, so we wanna make sure when I put them on the floor they don't scratch up."prevnext
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten
Former Bachelorette contestant Hannah Brown thought that Lewis' injury was a testament to how tough and athletic dancing really is. Her partner, Alan Bersten, said that they worked hard to avoid similar strain.
"Dancing is a very physical and hard sport," he said. "If you don't take care of your body -- even if you're a pro football player who is in the Hall of Fame -- you can get injured. I'm really proud now that Hannah, every morning, takes 45 minutes to warm up."prevnext
James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater
"Dancing's hard, man," actor James Van Der Beek said. "The punishment [Lewis'] body has taken his whole life. This is not for kids, it's tough."
Van Der Beek said that, even early in the competition, he could see how easy it was to get injured. His partner, Emma Slater, speculated that Lewis' injury was an old one that simply flared up under new stimulus.
"I think you just gotta really look after your body," she said. "And with Ray, I believe it was an injury that was kinda ongoing and just got worse and it doesn't surprise me because dancing, especially on the feet, is pretty strenuous. Unfortunately, we lost him in the ballroom but I wish him a speedy recovery, we both do, and I hope that he honestly makes a full recovery and then comes back and sees us."prevnext
Karamo Brown and Jenna Johnson
Queer Eye star Karamo Brown had an almost superstitious view of injuries, not even wanting to talk or think about them. The reality star said that all he could think about this week was the fact that Demi Lovato was in the audience.
"I was literally about to go on stage and Demi Lovato was like, 'I love you, I love you,'" he gushed. "Demi, I just want you to know I was going fast but I love you too. You are the world to me, everything that you do and advocate for your music, your beauty, your style. I adore you, please just know that!"
"Legit, I almost freaked out," he went on. "And you know what? I'm not going to blame my low scores on Demi Lovato, because Demi Lovato only deserves people to say how much we love her and what a 10 she is, so I will tell you this... I'm just going to slide into the DMs tonight so that Demi Lovato and I can become best friends. So that way, next week, I do her proud. That's it."prevnext
Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold
Former Trump administration press secretary Sean Spicer said that the dancing competition has been "very difficult" on his body as well, and he sympathized with Lewis. He himself has been in a constant state of pain management.
"My left leg was not where it should be," he said. "We did a lot of ice, heat, copious amounts of [Advil]. But it starts to take its toll."
"You're doing this every day for four hours," Spicer went on. "[Lindsay's] really good at reminding me to stretch and to ice down afterward. That's part of it -- you normally don't get into that routine -- but this is really demanding on your body."
Dancing With the Stars airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.prev