“Dancing with the Stars” season 19 continued Sept. 29 form Hollywood as the 11 surviving mirror ball trophy hopefuls and their pro partners lit up the esteemed ballroom with a night of show-stopping movie-inspired routines. The evening wasn’t without its share of shocking moments, including a handful from the scoring paddle of guest judge Kevin Hart, who sat in as usual head honcho Len Goodman’s temporary replacement. On Sept. 30, the reality show’s public relations rep shared an entertaining behind the scenes video clip featuring Hart as he embarked upon his “DWTS” journey.
As production worked around him during the moments before the live show began, Hart put his funnyman skills on display as he deadpanned “I’m excited for you guys because it’s a big deal to have me here.” He then took on a more serious tone as he praised the vibrancy of the room and dedication of the contestants, calling the overall effect “probably the most excitement I’ve seen on television since I’ve been in the business.” He then vowed to “mix it up,” which is precisely what he went on to do as the show progressed.
The actor and star of BET’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood” flashed his 10-paddle, which signifies a perfect score, a whopping three times during the broadcast. When it came to “Pretty Little Liars” actress Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy, and YouTube star Bethany Mota and Derek Hough, Hart matched the marks given by regular judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli, which secured both pairs the first perfect 40s of the young season.
But when it came to fellow comedian Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd, Hart went off book, awarding the pair a perfect 10 for their “Por una Cabeza” Argentine tango. Chong and Murgatroyd’s final mark of 34 was good enough to secure them an impressive –and arguably undeserved– second place finish for the evening. Hart also served up one another surprising score when he gave fashion designer Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani –who performed third– a nine for their “Unchained Melody” contemporary routine, while the more dance-savvy Inaba and Tonioli gave them sevens and technical details stickler Hough presented a six.
The high marks were surprising but not out of the realm of reality for Hart, whose goal was to reward entertainment value. Both of the septuagenarians earned high praise from the comedian, who verbally high-fived Johnson for “dropp[ing] it like it’s hot” and credited Chong for remaining “poised” despite having to follow Parrish and Chmerkovskiy’s perfect jazz number.
To see a different view of Hart’s live performance alongside the “DWTS” pros and “The Wedding Ringer” co-star Josh Gad, view the video provided. “Dancing with the Stars” season 19 resumes Oct. 6 on ABC with a set of routines inspired by the 10 remaining celebrities’ most memorable years.