Monica Aldama, a 14-time National Championship winning cheerleading coach, made her Dancing With the Stars debut on Monday night. The Cheer star donned a blue dress and partnered with Val Chmerkovskiy for a foxtrot routine. They danced while Rascal Flatt's "My Wish" served as the backing track.
While she may be an award-winning head coach for Navarro College, Aldama became a student while working on her routines. The hard work translated to one of the highest-scored performances of the first episode. Judge Derek Hough said that the foxtrot was "beautiful, graceful, so pleasant to watch, like a breath of fresh air." He gave the duo a 7 overall while the other two judges handed out 6s. At the end of the first episode, Aldama and Chmerkovskiy sat in fifth place overall.
"Mrs monica aldama you did NOT have to pop off like that [starry-eyed emoji]" one person commented on Twitter. Several others voiced similar opinions and said that the Cheer star was putting on a show during her first trip to the dance floor. One person even predicted that Aldama and figure skater Johnny Weir would face off in the final episode.
Fans on social media expressed adoration for the routine, but one of the judges found fault. Carrie Ann Inaba docked Aldama a point for having her foot come off the ground. This penality is a similar issue that former NFL tight end Vernon Davis and partner Peta Murgatroyd faced with their version of the foxtrot on Monday. Aldama later told Hollywood Life that she was disappointed and that she was putting in extra work to ensure that she is technically correct in the second episode.
"I have very high expectations, so I'm really disappointed in myself that Carrie Ann Inaba deducted a point from my toe because I've been really tight, really efficient in pushing that toe to the ground," Aldama told HL. "I didn't think that it came off but maybe it did. I just want to get my technique right and get the highest score that I can, so I told Val that I'm going to work really hard next week to make sure everything is technically correct."
Aldama will have another opportunity to impress judges and fans alike on Monday when the second episode airs. She will have to strive for perfection, considering that this episode will feature the first elimination of the season. The judges will combine the scores from the first two weeks with the fan vote and determine who to send home.