‘Dancing with the Stars’ slugfest: Discussing Rashad Jennings’s upset victory over Normani Kordei [WATCH]

“It was definitely a surprise. I didn’t expect to see her finish like that. She at least made it pretty far,” says Gold Derby contributor Jeffrey Kare about Normani Kordei‘s unexpected defeat in the season finale of “Dancing with the Stars.” She was the frontrunner to win the Mirror Ball Trophy according to the combined predictions of our users, but she ended up finishing third behind baseball player David Ross in second place and Rashad Jennings the Mirror Ball champion. Watch our discussion of the final “DWTS” results above.

“He seemed to have a great journey,” says Jeffrey about Jennings, who didn’t have previous dance experience and who explained during Monday night’s finals that he’s never won much of anything despite a career in the NFL. On top of that, he joins a long tradition of Mirror Ball-winning football players. “As you mentioned, several football players have won the Mirror Ball Trophy before, so it’s nice for him to join that pantheon of people like Emmitt Smith.” Smith won season three, while fellow football stars Hines Ward and Donald Driver won seasons 12 and 14, respectively.

We’ll have a while to wait before “DWTS” begins season 25 this fall. Who might compete next year, and should the show stick with pure amateurs or mix in stars with dance experience like Kordei and Heather Morris, whose prior training drew criticism from some who felt that they had an unfair advantage. But Jeffrey thinks the show should continue to invite celebs with a wide range of experience levels. He says, “I think it feels a little more competitive when you have a wide variety of people like that. That way you see how amateurs do against people with experience.” And if nothing else, Jennings and Ross finishing first and second demonstrates that having dance experience isn’t always an advantage.

‘Dancing with the Stars’: Watch Rashad Jennings win the Mirror Ball Trophy

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