Normani Kordei Fights Through Back Injury That Could Force Her Out of 'DWTS' — and Scores a Perfect 40!

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC

It was a victorious, but painful week for Normani Kordei.

The Dancing with the Stars contestant and her pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy scored a perfect 40/40 for their Argentine tango on Monday’s “Night at the Movies” episode — but it wasn’t without some physical pain in the process.

While rehearsing for their “physically demanding” week seven dance, Kordei, 20, had to make a trip to the doctor to have an MRI done to examine the seriousness of her strain.

“It’s actually taking a toll on my body,” Kordei admitted about prepping for the Argentine tango. “My back has been killing me and my hip’s been killing me.”

Despite telling herself to “suck it up. I’m 20 years old. I only have one chance to do this,” the professional singer couldn’t bare the pain any longer and had to see a medical professional.

According to the doctor, the strain was so intense that she and Chmerkovskiy were advised to alter the dance for the sake of her physical well-being.

“The magnitude of the strain is fairly significant,” said the doctor. “We can keep you in the competition, but it’s going to require medication and you probably are going to have to modify your performance.”

“I had to come to the doctor’s office,” explained Kordei. “I had an MRI done and I just finished my X-ray. … My back is really killing me.”

But despite the intense pain that she felt throughout the lower half of her body, the DWTS contestant pushed through it.

“I’m going to fight through it because I just want to be the best,” said Kordei. “Even if it hurts.”


After completing her powerful performance, which was met with loud and boisterous cheers from the live audience, Kordei earned rave reviews — and the perfect 40/40, which secured the duo immunity from being voted off — from all of the judges.

“I have the envelopes in the right order and I can safely say that the Academy Award for best dance on ‘Movie Night’ goes to Normai and Val!” said Bruno Tonioli. “Outstanding!”


Similarly, Carrie Ann Inaba had nothing but positive reviews: “It’s an honor to watch you dance.”

“Val, one day you might be sitting here,” Len Goodman said to Chmerkovskiy, commending him about his choreography.

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Guest judge and longtime DWTS choreographer Mandy Moore also extended her praises. “What I was most impressed by was your leg action … if I just watched you from the waist down, you have gotten so strong in your legs. You were not like that week one … technically, you have grown a lot.”


As a way to say thank you to Goodman for his positive remarks, Kordei extended the love — and gave a sweet embrace to the head judge.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC

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