“That was the most amazing display of courage I’ve seen in 23 seasons.” That was the response to Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez‘s foxtrot during the “Dancing with the Stars” semi-finals on Monday night (watch above). But that didn’t even come from the judges, it came from host Tom Bergeron, who commended Hernandez for her perseverance in the face of grief: in the week leading up to Monday night’s show her grandmother died after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The judges were impressed as well, not just by her ability to get out on the dance floor at all, but by the quality of the dance itself. “You delivered it with so much passion — more passion than I’ve ever seen before,” said judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “You breathe into every move, using all of that emotion and channeling it into something beautiful for all of us to watch.”
Added Julianne Hough, “I’m choosing to smile right now, with tears of joy and happiness because I know that that’s exactly what your grandmother is doing right now … You should be very proud of yourself.” Bruno Tonioli perhaps put it best by saying, “You looked like you were flying, guided by an angel.”
That foxtrot earned Hernandez perfect 10s from all of the judges, placing her at the top of the leaderboard for the fifth time this season. In our predictions she has been the Mirror Ball Trophy frontrunner since day one. What did you think of her routine?
Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Dancing with the Stars” in our reality TV forum.