Nelly 'DWTS' Judges Hatin' on My Shoes ... Check These Out!!!

Nelly's found the ultimate way to appease the judges on "Dancing with the Stars" who told him to ditch his sneakers for dancing shoes -- instead, he has the best of both worlds.

Despite wowing the crowd with his "Ride Wit Me" salsa dance on last week's show -- culminating with a backflip -- the rapper took some heat for wearing Jordans instead of traditional dance shoes.

DANCING J'S

Nelly insists the judges are just hating on hip-hop with their criticism, but instead of pushing back ... he got creative.

Check it out -- Nelly, aka Yung Swivel, might just have the dopest dancing shoes of all time on 'DWTS.' They look like Air Jordans on the upper with traditional ballroom dancing soles -- or as Nelly put it on IG ... "HIPHOP 4DA WIN!!!"

If you haven't been watching, Nelly's become an early fan favorite on season 29 of the reality dance competition ... because he looks like he's having the most fun.

The first elimination goes down Tuesday night, and though Carole Baskin received the lowest score during the premiere, she's not expected to go home.

Nelly's not either, so Bruno Tonioli just might have to say ... "It's gotta be the shoes, money!"

'Tiger King' Star Doc Antle Rips Carole Baskin for 'DWTS' ... What About Her Animals?!?

UNCARING CAROLE
Tiger Kingdom: More Than a King

Carole Baskin participating in "Dancing with the Stars" proves she doesn't give a rip about the animals in her care ... or so claims Doc Antle, who has some harsh thoughts.

The 'Tiger King' star tore into Carole in this exclusive clip, obtained by TMZ. In what's part of a new documentary Doc's heavily featured in, he openly wonders how Carole could be away for weeks of 'DWTS' ... IF she really cares for the animals at her sanctuary.

For him, it just doesn't add up ... and he essentially calls Carole a hypocrite for something she's previously said about her "best friends."

As we're told ... Carole's hubby, Howard, is handling the day-to-day operation of her Big Cat Rescue ... along with her daughter, Jamie. Our sources say they also have 100 volunteers helping out.

Still, Doc says that wouldn't fly at most reputable animal sanctuaries, and he thinks it reflects poorly on Carole.

As for how he thinks she's doing so far on the pasodoble front, Doc tells TMZ he thinks Carole's a "terrible dancer." Aside from that, he's digging the season thus far.

BTW, the new docuseries is called "Tiger Kingdom: More Than a King" and airs Oct. 1 on WEIV and the trailer is on TigerKing.TV. We're told it's about the aftermath of the OG 'Tiger King' series, and Doc will also address some unanswered questions.

Carole Baskin If Commercial Leads to Missing Husband ... Great 'Side Benefit' to 'DWTS'

STAYING POSITIVE
TMZ.com

Carole Baskin says she's totally on board with the commercial seeking to find Don Lewis ... even though her missing husband's fam thinks she might have something to do with his disappearance.

We got Carole leaving rehearsals Wednesday for "Dancing With The Stars," and our photog asked her about the spot that aired during her 'DWTS' debut ... begging the public for help finding Don, and asking if Carole was involved.

Carole's answer is pretty interesting -- she told us it would be "wonderful" if the Don mystery was solved, especially if the clue came as a result of her being on 'Dancing.' In fact, she sees it as a "side benefit."

SEEKING JUSTICE
Law Offices of Phillips & Hunt

As we reported ... Don's daughters, former assistant and family attorney appeared in the commercial Monday, mentioning Carole by name, asking the public to send tips to their hotline and reiterating the $100,000 reward.

John Phillips, the Lewis family attorney, and law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... since the commercial aired, lots of people have called in to their tip line, but there's nothing solid yet.

As you know ... Carole, who has always maintained her innocence in Don's case, also told us someone made certain she knew about the spot 10 minutes before she hit the dance floor ... but she said the news didn't rattle her ballroom game.

We did ask her one question about her 'Tiger King' nemesis, Joe Exotic ... and  Donald Trump potentially pardoning him. You can guess her response, but ya gotta see how she expressed it.

Carole Baskin Informed About Don's Fam 'DWTS' Commercial ... Minutes Before Dance

SEEKING JUSTICE
Law Offices of Phillips & Hunt

7:09 AM PT -- 9/15 -- Carole tells TMZ ... someone made sure she knew about the commercial 10 minutes before going out on the dance floor. She adds, "And you can see that it did not keep me from bringing the best performance of my two weeks of learning."

5:45 PM PT -- Carole's mentioned by name in the commercial, which just aired during 'DWTS.'

The spot features Don's three daughters explaining how much they love and miss him and why they need to know what happened to him.

Don's former assistant says his loved ones are just asking for justice, and the family lawyer says they deserve answers and asks the public if Carole was involved.

The family mentions their $100,000 reward and drops a number for their tip line.

The family of Don Lewis -- Carole Baskin's millionaire husband who went missing in 1997 -- is cutting in on Carole's first night of 'DWTS' ... asking the public for help finding him.

Don's family and attorney John Phillips bought time to air a commercial during Carole's "Dancing with the Stars" debut. We're told the spot will implore the public to send tips regarding his mysterious disappearance ... featured, of course, on 'Tiger King.'

We're told the spot will run during the first 'DWTS' commercial break of Monday night's premiere. It features Don's 3 daughters Gale, Lynda and Donna, plus his former assistant, Anne McQueen, and the family attorney ... who all allege Carole has something to do with Don's disappearance.

As you know ... Carole is getting ready for her big 'DTWS' debut ... and we're told Don's family feels her participation in the dance competition series undermines the ongoing investigation into his whereabouts and is a "grossly insensitive" decision by the show's producers.

Carole has always maintained her innocence in Don's case.

Originally published -- 9/14 12:38 PM PT

Carole Baskin Dancing With Myself ... Prepping For 'DWTS' Debut

Carole Baskin's got the eye of the tiger as she prepares for her big "Dancing with the Stars" debut ... and she's practicing her moves in a way that would make Billy Idol proud.

Sources close to Carole tell TMZ ... she's been dancing with herself in her Los Angeles apartment during her downtime this week as she gets ready for her first 'DWTS' number.

Carole's gearing up for her first dance, which will be to "Eye of the Tiger," but we're told she's not practicing to any specific music ... just the music in her head.

With Carole only getting 3 to 4 hours a day of official 'DWTS' rehearsal, she's taking her work home ... we're told she feels she needs more practice and moved the furniture in her living room to create her own dance floor.

Carole's documenting her progress too ... we're told she's recording her practice dances on her phone so she can look back and see how far she's come.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Remember ... Carole studied hard and cheaply, before getting on the 'DWTS' set ... picking up her ballroom basics by watching video tutorials on YouTube.

With some rehearsals under her belt, we're told Carole is mostly focusing on dance steps and staying on tempo when she's home alone.

Carole's costume for her first number will have no feathers or fur, and our sources describe the outfit as a "sunset" with a lot of "cattitude" ... whatever that means.

We're told Carole instantly fell in love with the getup ... and she's already asked producers if she will be allowed to keep it or purchase it after the show, but producers haven't indicated a final decision.

And, get this ... our sources say Carole told her family she thought to herself, "I want to be buried in this dress," when she first saw it. Thing is, we're told she plans on being cremated and wouldn't want the dress to burn. How sweet.

Backstreet Boy AJ McLean 'DWTS' is Totally Different Dancing ... Gotta Reprogram My Brain!!!

EQUAL PLAYING FIELD
TMZ.com

A couple of new "Dancing with the Stars" contestants insist they have no advantage, despite having dance-ish backgrounds, so who do you believe less -- AJ McLean or Johnny Weir???

First up, the Backstreet Boys star, who we got outside the 'DWTS' rehearsal studio in L.A. and asked if his boy band choreography skills give him an immediate edge over the competition. He thinks it might be the exact opposite.

AJ tells us he's been trained to dance one way for 30 years, but now ... it's a whole new ballgame, so he's gotta reprogram. On top of that, the singer says he's been focused on his health and diet to prepare for the challenge ahead ... and so far he's "kicking ass."

As for what music he'll be dancing to on the show, he says some BB hits can definitely be expected ... but rules one of them out.

LACK OF ADVANTAGE
TMZ.com

We also got figure skater Johnny Weir ... who agrees with AJ, telling us 'DWTS' requires a completely different skill set than any of his spinning and twirling on the ice could have prepared him for ... so he's on an even playing field.

Of course, along with skating, costume design is sort of Johnny's thing ... so he might have a leg up on his fellow contestants there. That he can't deny.

Carole Baskin I Got My Moves from YouTube ... Get Ready 'DWTS'!!!

Carole Baskin studied hard, and cheaply, before "Dancing With the Stars" ... picking up her ballroom basics by watching video tutorials online.

Sources close to Carole tell TMZ ... she immediately turned to YouTube for help after finding out she was going to be on the upcoming season of 'DWTS' -- and she started with the biggies: salsa, cha-cha and the Venezuelan waltz.

We're told she also enlisted the help of a cool cat ... or kitten -- one of her Big Cat Rescue members teaches dance, and gave Carole some tips.

PURRFECT PAIR

Let's be real, she needs all the help she can get ... other than her infamous dance clip submission for the Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande music video, we're told Carole has zero dance experience.

Our sources say Carole also signed up for a virtual training app in June, with the music-based training helping her get used to being on tempo. Turns out that's important for dancing.

Carole's looking slim at 'DWTS' rehearsals ... our sources say she lost 20 lbs since shooting 'Tiger King' and is down to 165.

We're told Carole has been on a vegan diet and only eats 2 meals a day. She's also riding her bike 10 miles a day, 7 days a week, and doing a lot of squats, lunges and leaps ... and seeing results.

All that health and fitness might help Carole feel like an L.A. local. She's moved to LaLa Land temporarily for 'DWTS.' Her husband, Howard, and daughter, Jamie, are staying home in Tampa to tend to the big cat sanctuary.

Nikki Bella I'm Marrying My 'DWTS' Partner!! After John Cena Breakup

Nikki Bella has found her forever dance partner ... 'cause the ex-WWE superstar and Artem Chigvintsev are getting HITCHED!!!

The couple broke the news on Friday, saying they got engaged a few months ago after a romantic trip to France ... but just now decided to take it public.

"I said yes in France in November!" Bella said on social media. "We have been trying to keep it a secret but really wanted to share our excitement for the New Year!"

Of course, Bella was famously engaged to John Cena ... and they were together for 6 years before a very public breakup in 2018.

Cena tried like hell to win Nikki back shortly after the fallout ... but she slammed the door on that relationship and began dating Chigvintsev in 2019.

Bella and the "Dancing with the Stars" pro were paired up on the show back in 2017 ... before they were eventually eliminated in the 7th show of the season.

Artem also posted about the engagement ... saying, "You are the best thing that has ever happened to me . So excited for what’s to come I love you more then anything and thank you for saying Yes."

As for Cena, don't feel too bad -- he's moved on too with Shay Shariatzadeh ... and they've been spotted making out with each other all over the place, including airports!

UFC's Junior Dos Santos Voted Off Brazil's 'Dancing W/ Stars' ... Made Final 5!!!

UFC heavyweight Junior Dos Santos' dancing career just took a KO shot to the face -- Cigano has been eliminated from the Brazil version of "Dancing With The Stars."

The 35-year-old ex-champ showed off his moves one final time on "Dança dos Famosos,” on Sunday ... but was ultimately voted off the show after receiving the fewest votes.

It was a great effort from the #4 ranked heavyweight and his partner, Ana Paula Guedes ... the dude danced his ass off to hits like "What Is Love" by Haddaway while wearing pants that would make MC Hammer proud.

Cigano left the show due to an injury back in October -- which also kept him out of UFC Moscow in November --  but was able to come back to be the last athlete standing (the rest of the dancers are actors/actresses).

Dos Santos really made his presence known on the dance floor -- his dances scored among the highest each week until his elimination.

Now, it's back to fightin' for JDS (21-6) -- he's scheduled to fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC Raleigh on Jan. 25.

Sean Spicer 86'd from 'DWTS' Trump Bump Not Enough

Sean Spicer finally got the boot from "Dancing with the Stars" ... this after weeks of low scores, though you'd never know it from President Trump's tweets.

POTUS' former White House Press Secretary was eliminated Monday night during the Boy Band & Girl Group Night episode, which was the quarterfinals. The elimination round came down between Sean and fellow contestant Lauren Alaina.

The writing had been on the wall for weeks now as Spicer's performances continually kept earning low scores from the judges ... but fan votes kept him alive. Until they didn't.

Trump, as he's done pretty much all season, took to Twitter and urged his base to vote for Sean. But then, oddly, Trump deleted the tweet after Spicer's elimination.

POTUS followed up with a new tweet saying, "A great try by @seanspicer. We are all proud of you!"

Spicer had been dancing with fill-in partner Jenna Johnson after his partner, Lindsay Arnold, was forced to miss the last couple of weeks due to the passing of her mother-in-law.

He's got the Base
TMZ.com

Not everyone was a happy camper with Sean's run. "The Office" star Kate Flannery was on that train and said as much when she recently hopped on "TMZ Live" voicing her frustration and confusion with Spicer's popularity vote.

'The Office' Star Kate Flannery MAGA Votes Save Spicer's Bacon ... But PISS Off 'DWTS' Purists!!!

He's got the Base
TMZ.com

Kate Flannery realizes she probably brought a knife to a gun fight as far as challenging Sean Spicer on "Dancing with the Stars," but says all his Presidential support might alienate core 'DWTS' fans.

We spoke to the 'Office' star Wednesday on "TMZ Live" on the heels of her elimination, and asked why she thinks Spicer keeps getting through ... despite the judges giving him incredibly low scores.

Kate -- who had to bow out after dancing a jive - says Sean's obviously got the backing of President Trump ... which goes a long way in this country. Whether he deserves to be there or not is almost irrelevant --  as she notes, it's really a popularity contest.

She rightfully points out that she's got her own fanatic base herself, especially after her old 'Office' costar, Steve Carell, gave her a shout-out -- and adds that 'Office' fans have been more than supportive in her 'DWTS' bid.

But, when push came to shove ... the power of Trump was too great to overcome for Dunder Mifflinites. And, that's a shame for dance fans, according to Kate ... who says a bad dancer like Spicer winning, purely on fan votes, would hurt the show.

She's keeping a good attitude about the loss, though, thanks to her good friend, Jameson. Yes, THAT Jameson.

Brooke Burke Hits 'DWTS' Reunion With New Hunky Boyfriend

Brooke Burke has moved on to a new man a little over a year after filing for divorce from her husband, David Charvet -- and she's already introducing him to her reality TV pals.

The model and actress was recently spotted at the brand new Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, where she arrived with her new man, Scott Rigsby. They were joined by a couple "Dancing with the Stars" pros who were there with their significant others.

Julianne Hough came out with her ex-hockey player hubby, Brooks Laich -- and her bro, Derek Hough, was on hand with his own GF, Hayley Erbert. The group of six laid out in style at the Nobu Hotel Los Cabos and enjoyed the facility's many amenities ... and trust, there's a lot ... gym, restaurant and more.

Photogs captured the 'DWTS' crew hitting up the gym, lounging out under their own cabanas and enjoying poolside margaritas. They even got couples massages!

We're told at one point, the dancing team actually met up with some other celebs staying at the resort -- Erika Christensen, Dania Ramirez and Mario Lopez.

As for Rigsby, he's a partner of LA-based real estate development company Redcar LTD.

You'll recall ... Brooke filed for divorce from her husband, David, last spring -- and she's clearly doing just fine ... with a fine new piece.

Lamar Odom Scores 10s on 'DWTS' ... For Major Shift of His Junk!!!

QUICK FIX
ABC

Lamar Odom was feeling a little contained below the belt as he waited on deck at "Dancing with the Stars" -- so he made a BIG adjustment ... which was caught on camera.

The former NBA superstar grabbed his crotch and aggressively shifted the family jewels Monday night during the live broadcast. The 'DWTS' cameras caught ALL the action ... to be fair, it was hard to miss ... right after Hannah Brown finished her dance.

Towering Lamar paso'd his doble right behind Erin Andrews as she interviewed Hannah. It seems like he didn't know he was in the frame during his not-so-low-key move.

Ray Lewis Quits 'Dancing' Over Injury Castmate Ally Brooke Sends Love

Ray Lewis is OUT of "Dancing with the Stars" -- the NFL Hall of Famer suffered an injury while practicing a Cha-Cha .. and his castmates are already sending their love.

The 44-year-old Baltimore Ravens legend and his partner Cheryl Burke were rehearsing for their tribute to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" when Ray tore a tendon in his foot ... just like he did during his playing days.

Of course, the whole thing played out during the broadcast of the show Monday night -- when Lewis revealed he tore 3 tendons in his foot and would need surgery.

"In a game in 2010, I tore a tendon in my foot," Lewis said on the show ... "And, now, all of this dancing, all of this on your toes, I’m reliving a problem that I thought I’d never have to live again."

"I am having so much fun when it comes to the dancing part. But, the part behind the scenes, it’s just been painful. It’s bothered me a lot."

"When [the doctor] read that MRI to me today, I knew something was wrong."

Christie Brinkley Check Out My Gross 'DWTS' Injury

Christie Brinkley is out of a cast after injuring her right arm in a nasty fall during "Dancing With The Stars" practice ... and it's clear why she was forced to bow out of the competition.

The former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model showed off her injuries Friday over social media, and the pics are gnarly.

Christie's surgically repaired right wrist looks badly bruised and mangled ... and she even shared a few images from before and after she went under the knife, including her X-ray.

You'll recall ... Christie took a nasty fall during 'DWTS' rehearsal earlier this month, injuring her arm in the process and being knocked out of the event before it even started. The untimely injury forced her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook to step up and take her place.

Looks like Christie was still able to keep a smile on her face throughout the painful ordeal ... hey, she is a super model after all.

As for Sailor, she's still alive on 'DTWS' and making momma proud!!!

Sean Spicer Seen Crying After 'DWTS' Premiere ... Not Sad, Tears of Joy!!!

BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS
TMZ.com

Sean Spicer was reduced to tears after his big debut on "Dancing with the Stars" -- but he wasn't crying out of sadness ... the guy was actually overjoyed.

We got President Trump's former Press Secretary Monday night sitting in his car outside of Cleo in Hollywood -- shortly after he salsa'd his way into a pretty bad score on the ABC show ... where he was seen wearing a very loud, neon-green outfit alongside his dance partner, Lindsay Arnold.

Sean was getting roasted online, and when we saw him bawling in his ride -- seemingly looking at a screen -- it looked like he was taking in all of the negativity.

Not so, though!!!!

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