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“He’s sold homes to some of Hollywood’s most glamorous celebs, but can he close the deal tonight?”
That’s what Dancing with the Stars co-host Alfonso Ribeiro wondered aloud, and what many of Mauricio Umansky’s fans were thinking, as The Agency CEO prepared to make his debut during Episode 1 of the show’s 32nd season, which aired on Tuesday night.
“I am the king of real estate,” Umansky said before his number with dance partner Emma Slater. “I’ve got Latin blood and I’ve been known to shake my hips, so consider the mirror ball in escrow!”
Umansky’s enthusiasm to show off his best in front of the competition was evident.
“Throw me in, coach — put me in with the sharks, and let’s go big!” he said.
Slater also appreciated Umansky’s enthusiasm and revealed she was a fan — and was in the process of getting her real estate license. For their debut number in front of the judges, Slater taught Umansky a dance called a “jive,” which they danced to the song “I Ain’t Worried” by OneRepublic.
“The finesse is going to be the thing we have to work on,” Slater noted in rehearsals.
During Umansky and Slater’s performance, Umansky’s wife, Kyle Richards, and his daughter, Alexia Umansky, could be seen in the live audience cheering him on.
The judges — Derek Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli — seemed excited about Umansky’s performance and had some positive feedback for the real estate broker.
“Take this the right way — that reminded me of my dad dancing at my wedding,” Hough told Umansky when his performance concluded. “But don’t get that twisted, my dad was ripping it, he was awesome!”
“Confident, enthusiastic — you know how to sell things, don’t you?” Tonioli said with a smile.
Inaba said she was “impressed” by Umansky’s performance, given that she thought he’d be better suited for a more “sexy” dance style, like salsa.
“I am impressed because I thought that dance, it’s not what I expected from you,” she said. “I thought it was a challenge for you to go and be super cute like that, and I thought it takes courage to get out there and just embody it and go for it.”
Criticism from Inaba and Tonioli pointed to fine-tuning his movements — “enunciating” and making them “sharper.”
But despite what seemed like pretty slight verbal criticism, Umansky and Slater did not score among the top half of the 14 competing dance pairs. They received a score of 15 out of a possible 30 points from the judges, tying for 9th place with Jamie Lynn Spears and her partner Alan Bersten. The evening saw several tied scores — two teams tied for second place, two teams for fifth place, two teams for ninth place, and three teams for twelfth place.
Former Bachelorette star Charity Lawson and dance partner Artem Chigvintsev took the No. 1 spot for the evening, having earned 22 points from the judges.
But by the end of the episode, once all the audience votes had been counted, Umansky and Slater survived to see at least one more week of competition.
“We have something to go for,” Slater said. “I really am enjoying doing rehearsals with Mauricio; it’s been so much fun and we’re definitely ready for a challenge. We want to take it all.”
Actor Matt Walsh of Veep received the lowest combined score of judge and audience votes and was eliminated.
Next Tuesday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars will be Latin-themed.