Well it wouldn’t be a season of “Dancing with the Stars” without at least one shocking elimination — even an abbreviated season like this one. Six sports stars went into Monday night’s semifinals with a shot at the Mirror Ball Trophy, but only three advanced to the finals on May 21: football player Josh Norman and figure skaters Adam Rippon and Tonya Harding. So the three who got the boot were softball player Jennie Finch Daigle (who we were expecting to go home), luger Chris Mazdzer (who we knew was on the bubble) and figure skater Mirai Nagasu (who we were convinced would make the finals). What did you think of those outcomes? Vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.
Finch Daigle had her work cut out for her. After a strong first week of competition, she fell behind in week two and again in week three, winding up at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard in the semifinals. Her Olympic heyday was a decade ago, and she didn’t have the name recognition of some of her rivals in the ballroom, so it would have been a major upset for her to reach the top-three with all those factors stacked against her.
Mazdzer could have gone either way. He improved greatly from week one to week two, plus he had the charm and the social media savvy to develop a fan base, but despite making Olympic history as the first American man to win a medal in singles luge, he’s not a household name and only had three weeks for “DWTS” viewers to get to know him. In a longer season he might have become the kind of lovable underdog who fans rally around.
Nagasu’s ouster was the biggest surprise. If you had told us that two figure skaters and one football player would make the finals, we would have easily believed you — in fact, that’s exactly what we were predicting would happen. But If you told us Tonya Harding would be one of those skaters, and not Nagasu, that would have seemed much less likely.
Harding has plenty of name recognition, but not necessarily for the best reasons: she became embroiled in controversy after the 1994 attack on her figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan, and she remains controversial even though the Oscar winning film “I, Tonya” recently showed her in a warmer, more sympathetic light. But Harding must have had support from fans because she made it to the finals despite the fact that Nagasu had equal or better scores than Harding every week.
So as we recover from Monday night’s surprising results and await the season finale on May 21, vote in our poll below: what did you think of the triple elimination?
Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.