What the what? The May 15 episode of Dancing With the Stars ended with the show’s most shocking elimination… possibly ever. It was the Judges’ Challenge night on the dancing competition show, and all four remaining stars were in it to win it. Each couple performed two dances, with the first guided by a judge. Here’s what went down — and who went home. Watch the episode’s shocking conclusion in the video above!
Normani and Val Make Len Proud
Len Goodman served as the guide for Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy. His challenge to them: to complete 12 bars of the Viennese waltz in perfect hold. (Apparently, that’s harder than it sounds.) During rehearsals, Normani was tripping a lot, which Val was quick to point out.
When the time came for the live routine, Normani had one “little stumble” that all of the judges spotted right away. Julianne Hough said the dance was “stunning” anyway and Bruno Tonioli said they “turned Vienna into Sin City.” Right before they got their scores, Val reminded Len that they go “way back” and made a point to note how much they appreciated “his knowledge.” That was all well and good, but it didn’t make Len give them a 10. They ended their first routine with nines from all judges, putting them at 36.
The second dance, however, had Len on his feet. Normani and Val came back for round two with a jazz routine that earned a perfect 40. “You are an absolute star,” Julianne said. “You are so humble. Don’t ever change.” In case it’s not clear, the judges really like Normani.
David and Lindsay Are Good, Not Great
It seems like it hardly matters what David Ross and Lindsay Arnold do on the dance floor — both the fans and the judges love him so much. Julianne was their coach and she challenged the baseball star to tuck his butt under. Happily, he succeeded at doing that during their first routine, but other mistakes led for them to only earn a 34.
Next up, they performed a tango that fared a bit better. In fact, Julianne even said he “belonged” in this phase of the competition. Carrie Ann Inaba said it was his best dance yet and complimented him for being the “most amazing base” of his team. All four judges gave them nines this time, landing them at 36 — which, while better, was still below anyone else.
Rashad and Emma Are a Match Made in Heaven
Bruno challenged Rashad Jennings with cleaning up his hands and feet. Overall, it seemed that Rashad made great strides toward doing that, as all of the judges fan-girled over how fluid and sensual the dance was — only Len saw some “funny” footwork. For their first effort, Rashad and Emma Slater earned a 38.
Next up was a quickstep, which was inspired by Rashad’s journey from failing, fat student, to star NFL player. Carrie Ann called Rashad and Emma a “match made in heaven” and Bruno said Rashad’s charisma was “out of this world.” Only Len seemed underwhelmed, commenting that the routine was “good,” but not great. Tom Bergeron suggested someone give Len a snack since he was so cranky. Rashad and Emma ended up with a 39 for their second dance.
Simone and Sasha Get Two Perfect Scores
Carrie Ann was the judge working with Simone Biles and Sasha Farber. Not surprisingly, her challenge to the Olympian was to let loose and show more of her real self on the dance floor. In the video package, Simone was clearly frustrated at her recent critiques. “I feel like I’ve been trying my hardest and they just keep saying no,” she said through tears to Sasha. “I feel really bad for you,” she added.
Tonight, Simone delivered the raw emotion that Carrie Ann had been looking for — not once, but twice, earning perfect 40s for both her jive and her rumba. Carrie Ann was thrilled to see this new side of Simone and Julianne forced Simone to give her new selves special names, alter-ego-style.
Simone and Sasha Go Home
Ultimately, not even two perfect scores could keep Simone and Sasha in the competition, however. In the final moments of the night, it was revealed that they had been eliminated and missed the finals by one spot. The judges were clearly as shocked as everyone else — though it seemed no one was more shocked than David Ross, who has been trailing everyone else still in the running for weeks.
Simone handled the blow like a total pro, however, and in this circumstance, her steely nature probably was a plus. “I’m just thankful to be at this competition,” she said with a smile. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve matured and I can’t wait to go home and I’ll be back next week for the finale.”
With her out, it’s hard to see anyone but Normani winning — but stranger things have happened.
Tell Us: Were you surprised that Simone went home?