One week after Tonya Harding was nearly eliminated on the “Dancing with the Stars” season premiere, the disgraced figure skater earned positive reviews from the judging panel … with the help of a bear.
Harding, with partner Sasha Farber, quickstepped to “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson on Monday night. Harding chopped wood. There was a campfire. A man in a bear costume leaped out of bushes.
“All we need is [Leonardo] DiCaprio, and it’s turning into ‘The Revenant'” judge Bruno Tonioli said.
Harding, 47, received straight 8s from the regular three judges, plus a nine from retired NFL running back Rashad Jennings, a past show winner making a guest judge appearance.
Harding was one of five Olympians to make the final six with two episodes left in the 10-athlete season. Harding competed at the 1992 and 1994 Olympics and then was banned from figure skating for life for her role in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
Farber chose the “Redneck Woman” performance last week because he wanted to show “the real Tonya Harding that not many people know about.”
“Redneck woman is totally me,” said Harding, who has repeated that competing on the show feels like competing on Olympic ice again. “I drive a big truck. I cut fire wood. I hunt. I fish. I’m a country girl.”
Harding could become the third figure skater to win the Mirror Ball Trophy after Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis.
Kerrigan competed on the show last spring and finished sixth.
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