In 24 seasons of “Dancing With the Stars,” Heather Morris and Maksim Chmerkovskiy‘s elimination this week has to be the most shocking in the show’s history. After six weeks in the competition they finally topped the leaderboard only to be sent home at the end of the night.
Meanwhile, Normani Kordei and Simone Biles continued to earn high praise and scores from the judges, and Rashad Jennings was able to bounce back after a so-so week on “Disney Night.” But Nancy Kerrigan, Bonner Bolton, David Ross and Nick Viall each felt the pressure of the competition and it showed in their uneven performances.
For the team dances at the end of the night the celebs split into two groups for a battle of the sexes. Team Girl Group bested Team Boy Band by just one point, so now with Morris out of the competition Kordei is left atop the leaderboard while Viall placed last.
But that’s according to the judges. Below are my rankings for the week. After reading my analysis vote in our poll at the bottom of this post to let us know who you think gave the best performance of the night.
1. Heather Morris & Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Rumba)
“Waterfalls” by TLC — Morris loved the rumba and how it made her feel youthful. The dance was really sexy and full of content that told a story. She was really in her element tonight, without hesitation or uneasiness. I agree with the judges that this was her best performance of the season. Too bad that she went home the night she finally received a perfect score.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 9 (Carrie Ann Inaba), 9 (Len Goodman), 10 (guest judge Nick Carter), 10 (Bruno Tonioli) = 38
Actual Scores: 10 (Inaba), 10 (Goodman), 10 (Carter), 10 (Tonioli) = 40
2. Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy (Salsa)
“When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls — After last week’s near perfect routine, the pressure was on Kordei to deliver another knockout performance. This dance was great, entertaining and sexy. As I anticipated, Goodman didn’t like the hip-hop section of the performance, but Kordei continues to nail every step while capturing the character of each dance style. I figured Goodman would give them an 8. Personally, I would have given them a 9.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 9 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 10 (Carter), 10 (Tonioli) = 37
Actual Scores: 10 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 10 (Carter), 10 (Tonioli) = 38
3. Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater (Tango)
“Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops — Jennings made it his mission to get back on top. This week he’s juggling a busy “DWTS” week with NFL tryouts, but he is a constant showman. I loved the opening of this dance; it was fun and really set the tone of the song. Then when he was in hold with Slater I thought his frame overall was great and I thought they attacked the dance with gusto.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 9 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 9 (Carter), 8 (Tonioli) = 34
Actual Scores: 9 (Inaba), 9 (Goodman), 10 (Carter), 9 (Tonioli) = 37
4. Simone Biles & Sasha Farber (Samba)
“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child — Biles is still working to find her inner sexiness. There was a lot of content in this dance, but there were a few moments when her timing was off and I felt that there was little conviction from her. It felt forced and didn’t seem to come naturally, but the judges’ scores were right on the money. However, I was surprised that Carter gave her an 8.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 9 (Inaba), 9 (Goodman), 9 (Carter), 9 (Tonioli) = 36
Actual Scores: 9 (Inaba), 9 (Goodman), 8 (Carter), 9 (Tonioli) = 35
5. Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev (Paso Doble)
“Free Your Mind” by En Vogue — Kerrigan felt the pressure of living up to Mel B & Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s paso doble to this same song in season five. I thought she handled it for the most part, but I could sense that she felt uneasy throughout the dance. She lacked the necessary intensity and aggression. I thought this would be a breakthrough for her, but I was completely wrong.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 10 (Inaba), 10 (Goodman), 10 (Carter), 10 (Tonioli) = 40
Actual Scores: 9 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 8 (Carter), 8 (Tonioli) = 33
6. David Ross & Lindsay Arnold (Argentine Tango)
“I Want You Back” by N Sync — Ross had trouble with the Argentine tango. He was at his best while in hold, but there were a few times when he was a little bit wobbly and lacked passion. I was really hoping for him to nail this routine and bounce back from last week’s scores. But his fan base will still probably vote to keep him around for another week or two.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 8 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 8 (Carter), 8 (Tonioli) = 32
Actual Score: 7 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 8 (Carter), 7 (Tonioli) = 29
7. Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess (Rumba)
“I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys — Bolton and Burgess were disappointed with their scores from last week, but even though Bolton thinks that he’s probably the weakest dancer left in the competition he was still determined to have fun with it. This dance consisted of several poses and lacked the hip action needed for the rumba. I think it’s the end of the road for him next week, and I’m glad the judges are now actually scoring him accordingly.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 8 (Inaba), 8 (Goodman), 9 (Carter), 8 (Tonioli) = 33
Actual Scores: 8 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 8 (Carter), 7 (Tonioli) = 30
8. Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd (Jive)
“Fun, Fun, Fun” by the Beach Boys— Viall was looking forward to the jive. His confidence level was at an all-time high after tying with Morris for fourth place on “Disney Night.” However, his mood changed as he realized how tough the competition is getting and how challenging the jive really is. As I expected, the dance lacked finesse and timing throughout. But at least he seemed to enjoy himself.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 8 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 8 (Carter), 7 (Tonioli) = 30
Actual Scores: 7 (Inaba), 7 (Goodman), 7 (Carter), 7 (Tonioli) = 28
Team Boy Bands (Nick Viall, Rashad Jennings, David Ross and Bonner Bolton)
After host Tom Bergeron announced that they were all safe from elimination the guys were able to let loose and have fun. Jennings was by far the best of the bunch with Bolton bringing up the rear. Overall, I thought it was entertaining. But considering the less-than-enthusiastic scores, I guess the judges are making sure that one of the guys goes home next week.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 9 (Nick) + 9 (Bruno) = 36
Actual Scores: 8 (Carrie Ann) + 8 (Len) + 9 (Nick) + 8 (Bruno) = 33
Team Girl Groups (Normani Kordei, Simone Biles, Nancy Kerrigan and Heather Morris)
The girls were hoping to better the men. I was definitely expecting a lot more from this routine given the inherent talent level of these four women. I suspect that finding out they were all in jeopardy shortly before taking the stage really shook them up and held them back from giving their all in the dance. The girls did beat out the boys, but only by one point.
My Pre-Show Predictions: 10 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 10 (Nick) + 10 (Bruno) = 38
Actual Scores: 8 (Carrie Ann) + 8 (Len) + 9 (Nick) + 9 (Bruno) = 34
After this week’s shocking elimination I predict that we’ll see a male celebrity go home. Right now I’m leaning towards Bonner Bolton. He’s been a dud pretty much this entire season and it’s time for him to go.