And then there were five! On the May 8 episode of Dancing With the Stars, the remaining five couples fought for their place in the semifinals. Four of the five were athletes, and the final contender was Normani Kordei, of Fifth Harmony fame. This week, all of the couples had to perform not one, but two dances, including a Trio Dance. Here’s how it all went down.
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy took inspiration for their contemporary routine from her experience being bullied on social media. It was very literal, with other dancers beating down Normani as Val helped her break free, and the judges went totally nuts over it. “From where you started, to where you are right now, is beyond,” Julianne Hough said. Bruno Tonioli added that the pair would get “the Pulitzer prize for extraordinary storytelling.” Even Len Goodman, who said he wasn’t a fan of contemporary and jazz as a rule, was “spellbound” by their routine. For their efforts, they earned a perfect 40.
No one else could touch them in terms of the regular routines. Three couples ended up with 36s. Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater‘s jive earned praise for being “full of fun” and energy, but Len said Rashad still needed to work on his feet. Simone Biles and Sasha Farber performed a pretty foxtrot that the judges felt was emotionally bland, and David Ross and Lindsay Arnold put on a beautiful foxtrot that lacked polish.
As their video package revealed, Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess were starting to spat during rehearsals. Sharna was struggling with his physical limitations and he was struggling with reliving his accident, which was the inspiration for their routine. “That’s stuff I’d rather not talk about or think about,” he snapped at one point. They did their best when they hit the dance floor, but they underwhelmed the judges, all of whom agreed he just wasn’t good enough for this level of competition. “You’ve got frustrated. Please don’t blame the judges. Blame the viewers, because you’ve gone a smidge too far. I’m sorry,” Len said. Ouch. They landed at the bottom of the board with a 30.
Rashad and Emma teamed up with Witney Carson for an Argentine tango that earned an impressive 39, despite Len complaining that Rashad still needed to fix his feet. Normani and Val teamed up with Alan Bersten for a jive with a country theme, which also earned a 39. The highlight here was definitely Val and Alan ripping off their shirts to impress Normani.
Simone and Sasha added Brittany Cherry to the mix for a paso doble, but Carrie Ann Inaba complained that Simone is still too precise and not raw enough. They got a 36. Far beneath them, however, were David and Lindsay with Hayley Erbert, who also performed a paso. The concept was a gladiator battle set to “Gangsta’s Paradise.” The judges basically hated it and gave them a 29 — but they still fared better than Bonner and Sharna with Britt Stewart. They performed a jazz routine based on the idea that Bonner was an oil tycoon and the ladies were his sexy secretaries. It was pretty raunchy and there wasn’t much dancing. The judges hated this one even more and gave it a 28.
After the scores came in tonight, it was pretty evident who should be going home — and go home he did. “I was very, very surprised at how far I went,” Bonner said in his exit interview. “I am so thankful for the journey I got to take. I found out how far I can push myself.”
Tell Us: Do you think Bonner was the right one to go home?