"The piece is so symbolic of times I felt helpless and desperate," Kordei shared in a pre-taped package. "I got bullied, terribly, on social media. I did an interview and it got taken out of context completely… people were calling me the N-word, it was really ugly."
"Every time I went online it was, 'How much we hate you. How talentless you are,'" Kordei recounted in a solo interview. "They actually made images of me being whipped, beaten, hung… I shouldn't want to change the color of my skin or the texture of my hair or the fact that I'm a woman. I felt really alone and just like everybody hated me."
"We all want to be loved. We all want to be accepted," she shared. "And when that doesn't happen, it just breaks you. And I think in the process I just because a super guarded person… at the end of the day I have to be me, and I want to be able to look in the mirror and say, 'I'm proud of that person and I love who you are.'"
Kordei and Chmerkovskiy represented her strength and drive to overcome self-doubt with a contemporary performance set to Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton's song, "Freedom," and the passionate, powerful routine wowed the audience as the singer showed off her raw power and the refined skills she's developed after eight weeks of working alongside her partner.
The dance resonated with the judges as well, bringing Julianne Hough and Carrie Ann Inaba to tears and even giving Len Goodman a newfound appreciation for contemporary dance.
"When you can tell a story like that -- which is so profound and is going to touch so many people -- you're doing more than just dance," Hough shared. "You're creating art and you're creating history and it's so beautiful."
"I'm not really a big fan of contemporary and jazz, I'm an old fuddy-duddy ballroom and latin [dance] guy," Goodman explained. "But let me say this first of all: Throughout that dance, you could have heard a pin drop from this whole audience. They were spellbound and so was I."
Kordei and Chmerkovskiy went with a more lighthearted routine for their trio dance, where they teamed up with troupe member Alan Bersten for a country-themed jive set to "Feeling Alive" by Earl St. Clair.
Rocking a red, glittery bra-style bikini top and super-short Daisy Dukes, the singer allowed herself to show a whole different side to her performance repertoire, and the dance ended with a surprise cameo by fellow DWTS contestant (and country fan) Bonner Bolton.
"You know what I loved so much? You showed a completely different side in the first round, and then you showed this side where you're smiling and you're having fun," Hough marveled. "It was so fun!"
Goodman agreed with Hough, however he took issue with a section of the dance in which Kordei danced on the judges' table, calling it "a little time wasted."
The pair earned a score of 39 out of 40 for their second dance, which, while lower than their first, still earned them the highest combined score of the week.
Last week, the couple opened up to ET about getting their first perfect DWTS score of the season
and the singer said of her time on the show, "I just have to remind myself this is fun, this is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I only have one shot to do it." Check out the video below to hear more.