Is Normani Kordei the Best Dancer to Finish Third in 'DWTS' History?
Is Normani Kordei the Best Dancer to Finish Third in 'DWTS' History?
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Dancing with the Stars delivered one final shock on the finale of season 24, and once again it came at the expense of a talented female star. Following the shocking and premature eliminations of Heather Morris, Nancy Kerrigan and Simone Biles, Normani Kordei and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, were eliminated in third place. That came despite outscoring David Ross by 15 points on the final leaderboard.

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Normani was definitely talented and, as Carrie Ann Inaba said, she was born to win this show. She received high scores from the judges and more perfect scores than anyone else this season. But she still finished in third place. So is she the best dancer in the show's history to go out in third?

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Here's a look at some of the numbers surrounding the best third place contestants of all-time on Dancing with the Stars.

The Best Average Scores

Normani had the best scores from the judges for season 24, a statistic that typically spells success. In almost every single season, the couple with the highest scores finished in first or second place. The only other exceptions were season 2's Stacy Keibler, who was tied for best score with winner Drew Lachey, and season 13's Ricki Lake.

Normani's average score for season 24 was 36.8 (better than all 9s). However, that's not the best average score for a third place finisher. Back in season 2, Stacy Keibler did slightly better, averaging 27.7 (adjusting to a 40-point scale, that's about a 37).

Still, Normani came close and had the second-best scores for anyone who finished in third place. Next on the list, and the only other stars who finished in third and averaged better than all 9s from the judges, are Janel Parrish, William Levy and Laila Ali. It's interesting that the list includes two of Val's partners and one of Maksim's partners. What does that say about the Chmerkovskiy brothers?

The Most Perfect Scores

Normani is the 17th star to receive five or more perfect scores from the judges in a single season (that includes her Freestyle and 24-hour fusion dance). However, 15 of the stars on that list finished in first or second place. The only other star to receive five perfect scores and finish in third place was season 19's Janel Parrish, who was also partnered with Val. So I guess, while the judges may love Val, he may not be as popular with the voters.

Based on the numbers, Normani is certainly one of the best dancers in the history of the show to finish in third place. Given the combination of her average scores relative to the rest of the cast as well as all of her perfect routines, I think the Fifth Harmony singer deserves the title of Best Third Place Dancer of All-Time. It may not be a Mirror Ball, but at least it's something.

(Image courtesy of ABC)