For Tonya Harding, week one of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” was about establishing her redemption narrative 24 years after she was implicated in the attack on her figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. Week two brought her back to her working-class, underdog roots. She performed a quickstep routine to “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson. It was a far cry from her elegant foxtrot last week, and its bear-in-the-woods theme even reminded judge Bruno Tonioli of “The Revenant.” Watch it above.
Despite the fast-paced difficulty of the quickstep and the fact that she also had to learn a team dance in the same week, she impressed the judges for the second week in a row. She received 8s from Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman, as well as a 9 from guest judge Rashad Jennings. When that was combined with her team score she ended up tied with Chris Mazdzer for fourth place on the leaderboard, and she advanced safely to the next round.
Did you think Harding gave the best performance of the night? See what the judges had to say about her routine below, and scroll down to vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.
Rashad Jennings: “I absolutely loved it … One thing you said in your package is that you get to show the world another side of you, and I love it. I just finished writing my first book, and in doing that you write chapters. And you, Tonya, are showing the world a new chapter of your life. I love it.”
Len Goodman: “It was fast, but it would be if you’re being chased by a bear. I liked the routine. I liked the energy. The quickstep is a tough dance because it’s one of those dances where you have to maintain the frame. There’s no hiding places. This dance made me feel good. It just had that feel-good factor.”
Bruno Tonioli: “For a split second I got a bit worried. The bear, the axe, the fire — all we need is DiCaprio, and it’s turning into ‘The Revenant.’ But I have to say, it was great fun: high-energy, high-spirited. I was counting because I thought, ‘She’s going to lose the timing’ … but you didn’t lose the timing. Your frame is better, but you still have one thing you have to do, and I told you last week: you lose your neck.”
Carrie Ann Inaba: “What’s most impressive about this dance — as Len said, it is one of the most difficult dances to do — is that you have to have so much strength. What I noticed the most was your strength. You’re very strong. You’re very powerful. There’s a poignancy when you dance. It’s a real joy.”
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