Nelly pulled off standing backflip during his first routine on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, which premiered its 29th season on Monday night (September 14). The St. Louis-bred rap star did the salsa with professional dancer Daniella Karagach and used his own song “Ride Wit Me” as the soundtrack for their performance.
The 45-year-old artist proved age hasn’t affected his leaping ability, perfectly landing the backflip to close out his Dancing With The Stars debut. Despite the impressive effort, judges only gave him a score of 16 points out of a possible 30 points.
Nelly ranked No. 12 out of the 15 celebrity dancers at the end of the episode. His week one point total will be combined with his week two score on the second episode of the season, which will feature the first elimination.
Although the judges’ scores do carry some weight, audience voting could make their opinions irrelevant. Even if Nelly can’t crack the Top 10 in the coming weeks, he could avoid being eliminated with enough fan support.
Regardless of how the season plays out for Nelly, his decision to dance to his own song on the first episode was appreciated on a social media. Comedian Roy Wood Jr. pointed out how it was a bit of a power move by the diamond-selling artist.
“Dances to his own song,” he wrote. “Ensuring he also gets a royalty check for the licensing of his own music within a show he also performing on. King shit. I hope @Nelly_Mo do this every week. 10 weeks in he gone do the salsa to Pimp Juice.”
Watch Nelly’s salsa and backflip above.