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“Dancing with the Stars 24” Recap: Normani tangos through back pain to earn a perfect score; Nancy and Nick go home


ABC/Craig Sjodin

(LOS ANGELES) — Excitement was at a fever pitch for Monday night’s of Dancing with the Stars, especially after last week’s shocking elimination of Heather Morris.

The theme for week seven was “A Night at the Movies,” with dances selected to evoke a mood from a specific movie genre. The remaining stars were each assigned a dance by judge Len Goodman but also faced the prospect of double elimination, based on the combined tally of judges’ scores and viewer votes.  

La La Land and DWTS show choreographer Mandy Moore sat in as a guest judge for Julianne Hough. Moore choreographed the opening number, which set the tone for an evening of Hollywood elegance and exhilaration.

In a pre-taped segment, Fifth Harmony stunner Normani Kordei revealed her recent affliction with back pain, which briefly compromised her rehearsals with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. She visited an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Robert L. Murrah, Jr., who gave her an MRI and X- ray and told her that she might have to modify her performance.

Nevertheless, the 20-year-old singer bravely fought through the pain with an arresting Argentine tango to “Quizàs, Quizàs, Quizàs” by Andrea Bocelli featuring Jennifer Lopez for the theme of “Foreign Film.” For only the second time this season, the judges awarded a perfect score, with judge Bruno Tonioli exclaiming, “I can safely say that the Academy Award for best dance on Movie Night goes to Normani and Val!”

Giggly Olympian Simone Biles and NFL star Rashad Jennings both scored big, as each earned a total of 37 out of 40. Jennings and partner Emma Slater tackled a “Horror Movie” theme with a paso doblé to “O Fortuna” from the cantata Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Len Goodman praised Jennings for “another solid performance.” Tasked with a “Silent Movie” theme, Biles and her partner Sasha Farber brought her gymnastic expertise to the dance floor and wowed with a Charleston to “Charleston” by Bob Wilson & His Varsity Rhythm Boys.

After the individual performances, a dance-off helped winnow down the competition. Olympians Nancy Kerrigan and Biles faced off in a cha cha; while sports stars Jennings and David Ross jived and Bonner Bolton and Nick Viall rumba’d. Biles, Jennings and Bolton each came out on top.

Bolton was still up for elimination at the end of the night but fortune favored the rodeo star and he was spared. The two stars who were eliminated were figure skater Nancy Kerrigan and Nick “The Bachelor” Viall.

Next week the competition is down to Kordei, Biles, Jennings, Bolton and Ross.

Monday night’s standout moment:

Normani Kordei was sensational but in an abrupt and bittersweet ending, Nancy Kerrigan was sent home. Kerrigan’s tango to Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” earned her a score of 36, but it was not enough to save her after the dance-off. Yet her positivity and effervescence throughout the competition was delightfully engaging and she will be missed.

Judges’ Scores:

Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy – 40        
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater — 37
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber –37
Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev – 36
Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd – 34
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold – 32
Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess – 29

Dancing with the Stars returns next Monday on ABC.

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