'Dancing with the Stars' eliminates Melora Hardin and Suni Lee before Season 30 finale
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/16/2021
Dancing with the Stars eliminated two celebrities, Melora Hardin and Suni Lee, and their professional partners ahead of the finale during Monday night's Season 30 semi-finals episode on ABC.
Melora, an Emmy-nominated actress, and pro partner Artem Chigvintsev were automatically eliminated from the competition at the end of the broadcast for bringing in the lowest combined total of judges' scores and home viewer votes cast live as Dancing with the Stars aired in the Eastern and Central time zones on Monday night.
Suni, an Olympic gold medalist, and pro partner Sasha Farber also ended up in the bottom-three couples with Melora and Artem as well as talk show host Amanda Kloots and pro partner Alan Bersten based on the judges' scoring and America's votes.
Carrie Ann, Derek and Bruno all voted to save high-scorers Amanda and Alan, although Suni had noticeably improved and grown so much throughout the competition.
Since three judges were in agreement, they carried the vote and Len did not need to cast his vote. However, Len revealed he would have made the vote unanimous by also choosing to send Amanda and Alan to next week's Season 30 Dancing with the Stars finale.
Prior to the double elimination, each of the six remaining celebrity and professional pairings took the stage with two dances in the hope of becoming finalists in this season's Top 4 couples.
For Round 1, the couples performed a "Redemption Dance" in which they were tasked with improving upon a dance they had performed earlier in the season by utilizing tips from the judges.
For the second round of competition, there didn't appear to be any rules or a theme. The couples simply took the stage with meaningful or special contemporary, jazz or Argentine tango routines.
Pop star and Dance Moms alum JoJo Siwa and pro partner Jenna Johnson topped the judges' leaderboard in first place with a total perfect score of 80 points for the night.
JoJo and Jenna first reprised their Week 3 Argentine tango and received a perfect score of 40 out of 40 possible points from Carrie Ann, Derek, Bruno and Len.
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JoJo and Jenna followed that up with a contemporary routine that also earned a perfect score of 40 points from the judges.
"It was the best contemporary dance we've ever seen on this show," Derek announced, before the other judges agreed JoJo and Jenna's performance dedicated to her deceased grandfather was "stunning" and emotional.
Amanda and Alan finished the night in second place on the judges' leaderboard with a near-perfect total score of 79 points.
After performing their Week 1 tango for the "Redemption" round and scoring 39 points, Amanda and Alan danced a contemporary routine in memory of Amanda's husband who died after being taken off life support.
Amanda and Alan's contemporary routine received a perfect score of 40 points, as the judges said the performance "transcended perfection" and was too personal to Amanda to even be critiqued.
Suni and Sasha tied for third place on the judges' leaderboard at 75 total points with NBA champion Iman Shumpert and pro partner Daniella Karagach.
Suni and Sasha initially danced their Week 3 foxtrot and received 37 points for its improvement. They later took the stage with a 38-point worthy contemporary routine that featured Suni doing flips, switch-leaps and more.
Iman and Daniella's "Redemption Dance" was their tango from Week 3, and they earned 37 points for making it better.
Iman and Daniella, dubbed the "Making Moments" couple by Derek, then received 38 points in Round 2 for an impressive jazz performance.
Melora and Artem placed fifth on the judges' leaderboard with a total of 72 judges' points.
For their first performance of the evening, Melora and Artem reprised their Week 2 rumba.
After earning 36 points for the rumba routine, Melora and Artem took the stage with a contemporary dance that received 36 points from the judges.
And finally, Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby and pro partner Cheryl Burke landed in sixth -- and last -- place on the judges' leaderboard with a total of 71 points for the night.
In Round 1, Cody and Cheryl performed their Week 2 salsa, the one they never got to perform in the Dancing with the Stars ballroom due to Cheryl's COVID-19 diagnosis, which earned 35 judges' points.
(Cody was also later diagnosed with COVID-19, which resulted in the couple dancing in their respective homes during the week that paid tribute to pop icon Britney Spears.)
Cody and Cheryl followed up their salsa with a 36-point worthy Argentine tango for the second round of competition.