EXCLUSIVE: Normani Kordei Dishes on Ankle Injury Ahead of ‘DWTS’ Finals: ‘I Can Push Through Anything’
Normani Kordei has been the frontrunner on Dancing With the Stars since early in the season, but her run for the Mirror Ball trophy was put in jeopardy this week when she suffered an injury during rehearsals. However, the dynamic performer isn’t letting anything keep her down.
The Fifth Harmony singer and her pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, recently spoke with ET’s Angelique Jackson in the dance studio, where they shared an update on Kordei’s injured ankle, which she rolled while practicing their upcoming routines for the season 24 finale.
“My ankle is actually fine,” Kordei shared. “It looked really bad. I saw the video back, but luckily I can push through anything and I’m dancing on it.”
According to Chmerkovskiy, the accident was mostly his fault because he had his partner trying out some moves that they’d never done before and weren’t ready for.
“It was an ignorant injury on my behalf,” he explained. “We attempted a move that we’ve never done before, and it didn’t pay off, clearly.”
Kordei, however, assured her partner that the injury wasn’t anyone’s fault and was a simple mistake that could have happened at any time.
“I literally [just] did a toe touch. It’s like me walking down the street and I roll my ankle,” Normani said, adding that, while the dance move may be a bit more complex than walking, it “wasn’t like, a lift or anything.”
The pair made it clear that they are going to really bring their A-game in the DWTS season finale, and Chmerkovskiy teased what their two upcoming performances are going to look like.
The couple is performing a quick step, which the handsome pro said is going to be “very fierce [and] kind of sexy.”
“It’s kind of the last time you’re going to see Normani kind of bring it on the show in that sense,” he explained.
As for their freestyle, Chmerkovskiy teased that it will be “a little softer. It’s sweeter, it’s more beautiful.”
“I think it’s more special,” he added. “It’s not necessarily huge in production as much as it is in emotion. I hope our audience really feels that.”
Kordei and Chmerkovskiy have been close friends all season — with the long-time DWTS pro even traveling with the singer as she toured through Asia with Fifth Harmony. Through their bond, the singer says she’s managed to learn more about herself than she expected.
“I found myself a lot throughout this show, and I have Val to thank,” Kordei shared. “Especially because he created such a safe place for me to find beauty, and recognize my worth and what I have to offer, and knowing that it’s OK to give myself a pat on the back at times too, and not being afraid to let my light shine.”
When Kordei and Chmerkovskiy hit the DWTS stage for the season finale, the pair will be facing off against NFL pro Rashad Jennings and his partner, Emma Slater, as well as former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross, alongside his partner Lindsay Arnold.
However, Kordei already has some idea where the Mirror Ball trophy will go if she ends up taking it home.
“My grandma will find a place. She will. We have a case where she puts all my awards,” Kordei shared. “Or maybe I’ll put it on my ceiling. I don’t know how to mount it up there, but that could be the last thing I see before I go to sleep.”
As for Chmerkovskiy, this would be his second victory in a row, after taking home the trophy with Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez at the end of season 23, back in November.
The DWTS pro said winning back-to-back seasons “would be incredible,” not out of vanity, but because “I got a chance to see this incredible young woman through into the finals, and then win it for her.”
For more on Kordei’s recent ankle injury, check out the video below.
Kordei, Jennings and Ross will battle it out for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy in the Dancing With the Stars two-night finale next Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.