Adam Rippon, Tonya Harding & Josh Norman are heading to the "DWTS: Athletes" finale
ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — The Dancing with the Stars: Athletes finale is set: figure skater Tonya Harding and partner Sasha Farber, NFL star Josh Norman and partner Sharna Burgess, and figure skater Adam Rippon and partner Jenna Johnson will all compete for the Mirror Ball trophy next Monday night on ABC.
The night ended with the brutal elimination of three couples: luger Chris Mazdzer and partner Witney Carson, Jennie Finch Daigle and partner Keo Motsepe and Mirai Nagasu and partner Alan Bersten.
This week was “MVP Week,” as the contestants all dedicated individual dances to their own “Most Valuable Persons.” That was followed by “Ballroom Battles,” where two couples each faced off against each other, doing the same dance simultaneously.
Also this week, contestants got some help from guest mentors and a guest judge, all former athletes who’d competed on past seasons. Season 24 runner-up, baseball star David Ross, served as a fourth judge, while the Ballroom Battle couples were mentored by season 18 champ and Olympic skater Meryl Davis, season 22 contestant and football star Von Miller, and season 20 semi-finalist and Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin.
Here’s a recap of the night’s dances and scores:
Mirai chose her mother as her MVP. She and Alan did a quickstep to “Bo$$” by Fifth Harmony. The judges all approved of the performance, though Mirai was criticized for her posture at times. Carrie Ann Inaba showed off her language skills by telling Mirai’s mom that her daughter had done well…in Japanese. Score: 35/40
Jennie chose her husband Casey as her MVP. She and Keo performed a romantic Viennese Waltz to TimMcGraw and Faith Hill’s “The Rest of Our Lives.” Carrie Ann said she wished the competition was longer so Jennie would have more room to grow and improve each week. Score: 29/40
Chris chose his mom, a Dancing with the Stars superfan, as his MVP. He and Witney performed a show-stopping foxtrot to “I’ve Got Rhythm,” which featured them dancing on top of a piano and doing choreography with hats. At the end, Chris’ mom joined in. Carrie Ann was booed when she said she’d ding the couple for sneaking in a lift, which they argued was more of a “catch.” Score: 33/40
Tonya chose her late father, who passed away nine years ago, as her MVP, and spoke about how much she missed him. At the end of their emotional rumba to “See You Again” by Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa, Tonya was literally in tears. Score: 33/40
Adam chose his mother as his MVP. He and Jenna dancing a stunning contemporary dance to “O,” the Coldplay song he skated to in the Olympics. The bird-themed performance actually started out inside a giant birdcage. Carrie Ann called the dance “perfection, while Bruno Tonioli said it was a “masterpiece.” All the judges except Len Goodman gave the couple 10s. Score: 39/40
Josh chose his four brothers as his MVPs. He and Sharna danced a contemporary number to Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” The judges loved it, with David Ross calling it “smooth” and “beautiful.” Score: 36/40
Once the partner dances were complete, the Ballroom Battles began. The winning couple from each pairing received two extra points. Here’s what happened:
Jennie and Keo danced the cha-cha against Tonya and Sasha. The judges voted to give the points to Tonya and Sasha, though America’s vote, displayed on the “Passionmeter,” showed that viewers preferred Jennie & Keo, with 60% of the vote.
Best friends Adam and Mirai faced off against each other, each performing a super-energetic jive. The judges were tied, so America’s vote was used to determine the winner. It was Adam and Jenna, with 64%.
Josh and Sharna then went up against Chris and Witney, dancing a salsa. Both men ripped off their shirts and showed off their sexy moves, and at first, it appeared to be a tie. Then it was revealed that David Ross had mistakenly voted for Chris and Witney when he meant to vote for Josh and Sharna, so they got the points, though America preferred Chris and Witney, with 55%.
At the end of the show, the first couple to be announced as finalists was Adam and Jenna, followed by Tonya and Sasha and, finally, Josh and Sharna.
The finale of Dancing with the Stars: Athletes airs next Monday night on ABC.
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