ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — On Monday night’s Dancing with the Stars, the pressure continued to build after last week’s double elimination. This week, with only five stars left, there were two performances. The dance pros chose the song and dance style in the first round, while in the second round couples performed as a Trio with a second dance pro chosen by the judges. Scores were tallied for each round and combined.
NFL star Rashad Jennings and his partner Emma Slater kicked things off with a jive to the R&B classic “Shake a Tail Feather.” Jennings has been consistently strong throughout the season and tackles every dance with panache, but gets criticized by the judges and loses points for his footwork and tonight was no different.
The night belonged to Fifth Harmony stunner Normani Kordei. The 20-year-old singer continued to shine, bringing in her second perfect score with her partner Val Chmerkovskiy in a contemporary dance to “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton. The judges were resoundingly positive in their critique, with Len Goodman noting, “Throughout that dance you could have heard a pin drop from this whole audience. They were spellbound and so was I.”
Bonner Bolton gave his all but in the end was voted off. His Argentine tango failed to impress and his trio jazz number with Sharna Burgess and Britt Stewart still brought in a low score. Len Goodman was borderline cruel when he told the rodeo star, “You’ve gone a bridge too far,” but said he admired his guts.
Simone Biles and David Ross both earned their place in next week’s semi-finals, along with the near flawless Kordei. Biles faced down judges criticism that she wasn’t showing enough of herself by pointing out that she’s spent 14 of her 20 years training to be a gymnast and finds it difficult to do what she doesn’t know. But the elimination was down to, surprisingly, Rashad Jennings and the low-scoring Bolton. Jennings was spared but Bolton was voted off. He later commented that he was surprised at how far he went and he was thankful for the journey.
Monday night’s standout moment:
Without a doubt, it was all about Normani. Kordei’s first dance was punctuated by a pre-taped segment in which she shared an emotional story of being bullied and harassed on social media, feeling alone and declaring “We all want to be loved and we all want to feel accepted; when that doesn’t happen, it just breaks you.” But in spite of this, Kordei made lemonade and dazzled viewers with her performances. Judge Bruno Tonioli noted, “No one will ever break you.”
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy – 40 in the first round/39 in the second round, total = 79
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater – 36/39, total = 75
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber –36/36, total = 72
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold – 36/29, total = 65
Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess – 30/28, total = 58 (eliminated)
Dancing with the Stars returns next Monday on ABC.
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