Rippon and Harding advance to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ final

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Olympic figure skaters Adam Rippon and Tonya Harding will be two of the three finalists of ‘Dancing With the Stars’.

Three more Olympians were eliminated in the third week of the competition after receiving the lowest combined judges and audience score: Figure skater Mirai Nagasu, luger Chris Mazdzer and softball player Jennie Finch Daigle.

NFL star Josh Norman will battle it out with Rippon and Harding in the one-hour finale for the coveted mirror ball trophy.

Close to perfection

In the individual dance Rippon – wearing a feathered costume – was just a ’10’ away from a perfect score with this contemporary performance to Coldplay’s ‘O (Fly On)’.

 

The 28-year-old used the song in free skates in the last two seasons.

“It’s impossible to tell who is the professional,” judge Bruno Tonioli told him and partner Jenna Johnson.

Rippon dedicated his dance to his mum, while Harding performed an emotional Rumba for her dad, who died nine years ago.

“Whether I win doesn’t matter,” the 47-year-old said in tears before scoring 33 out of a possible 40 points. “I don’t want to leave. … Thank you, America, from the bottom of my heart.”

Second only to Rippon in the individual performance was Washington Redskins cornerback Norman, who managed 36 points with partner Sharna Burgess.

Gruelling face-offs

The six remaining pairs also faced off in ballroom battles, in which two teams simultaneously performed a dance in one particular style.

Tonya Harding triumphed over 2004 Olympic softball champion Jennie Finch Daigle with a Cha Cha.

The controversial former figure skater has now advanced further than Nancy Kerrigan did on the show one year ago.

There was no room for sentiment from Rippon as he edged out fellow PyeongChang 2018 bronze medallist and close friend Nagasu, with a Jive.

In the closing performance of the night, Norman earned extra-points with the Salsa, while Olympic silver medallist Mazdzer was sent home.

On May 21, Rippon and Harding are hoping to become the third figure skaters to win ‘Dancing with the Stars’ after Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis.

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Author: Alessandro Poggi
Italian-born reporter and multimedia editor. Former long distance runner, now tiramisu lover.