St. Louis legend Nelly made his debut on Dancing With the Stars during the season's premiere last night (September 14).
Taking to the floor with professional dance partner, Daniella Karagach, the rapper kicked off the show’s return with a salsa dance number to one of his biggest hits, “Ride With Me.” The highlight came when Nelly pulled off a backflip to cap off the dance. DWTS host and executive producer Tyra Banks dubbed the performance “sexy magic.”
Clips of his performance made their way across the Internet as Nelly’s name started to trend on Twitter. Some felt that the judging panel—composed of Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough — scores of 16 out of 30 points was too low. This leaves Nelly in 12th place. But he looked like he was having the time of his life, and fans couldn’t be more happier with his first showing.
“I don’t usually watch #DWTS but I heard [Nelly] was going to be on, I had to see what was up (and I wasn’t disappointed). Nelly out here doing back flips, I love it,” one user commented on the social platform.
“You deserve all 10's a big bruh great job,” a second person added.
A third person chimed in to point out, “If Nelly keeps doing the salsa to his own songs he will win the people’s vote.”
Ahead of his debut performance on Dancing With the Stars, Nelly admitted to Entertainment Tonight that he was feeling a little out of his element when he first started.
"I think the first day I was like, 'What the hell am I doing?' It was definitely one of those [days], but the more and more I've gotten into it, my partner -- my inspiration, my coach -- is very good," he told the outlet. "I think to put up with me in a certain situation of, 'Are you sure? I don't know if we're going to get this step,' that's me. She's just nailing it home, like, 'Yo, you can do this.'"
He also shared that he had "mixed emotions" about dancing to one of his own songs, saying "On one hand I'm very thankful that they're using my music.”
"But on the other hand it's like, 'I came here to dance and not really be Nelly, but to bring Nelly to a different genre,' he continued. “But I'm game, so we'll see what happens!"
Catch Nelly’s debut performance on Dancing With the Stars and reactions to it below: