Week 9 of “Dancing With the Stars” ended with the elimination of Paralympian Victoria Arlen.
After dancing the Charleston and earning her first 10s of the season, Arlen said the elimination was “devastating.”
“Our two dances were probably the best we’ve had all season, and you just felt so good with them,” Arlen said today on “GMA.” “I was really excited. I mean, last night couldn’t have gone greater, until the end, but I’m really proud of what we achieved and the fact we did get those 10s.”
Val Chmerkovskiy also addressed the elimination, saying, “With every challenge is a great opportunity. I’m so grateful that the show trusted me with this incredible young woman and I got to tell her story.”
Over the past few weeks, Arlen has shared the heartbreaking story of the adversity she faced when she was 11 and diagnosed with two rare conditions: transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which impaired her ability to speak, eat, walk and move.
She managed to overcome it and went on to become a gold medalist swimmer in the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Her story was inspirational, but she had the lowest combined judges’ scores and viewer votes from last week, and although she made it to the semifinals, she won’t be competing in the finals for the Mirror Ball Trophy.
This week featured two rounds of competition: dancer’s pick, in which the pros picked a song that best represents their partner, and a classic routine, in which the couples reinterpreted an iconic dance from past seasons.
“Property Brothers” co-host Drew Scott kicked off the show with a tango in high-Scottish elegance to the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” in a red tartan kilt, which matched a long dress that his partner, Emma Slater, wore.
In spite of a lively performance, judge Len Goodman was tough on Scott about his technique, saying, “Well done, Braveheart. You came out full of determination and attack. However, dance is a balance. It was so full on, you lost your posture, you lost your technique.”
Scott and Slater still drew 8s from each judge, for a score of 24.
Chmerkovskiy and Arlen had a moving contemporary routine, for a score of 27.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold performed an Argentine tango, though Arnold had some difficulties with her leg, which gave out during rehearsals. She managed to rally and danced wearing a knee support.
While Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba were tough on Fisher because they have such high expectations of him. Bruno Tonioli was enthusiastic, calling the performance “absolutely fabulous.” Their routine earned Fisher and Arnold a total score of 28, with a 10 from Tonioli.
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas performed a contemporary dance, which moved Goodman to say, “You really blew me away.” Nevertheless, while Inaba and Tonioli awarded 10s, Goodman gave only a 9, earning the pair 29, the round’s high score.
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson moved well in a contemporary dance that Goodman said “was too much hip-hop and not enough hip action.” He and Inaba were tough and gave the “Malcolm in the Middle” star 8s, but Tonioli gave them a 9, for a 25.
After a special performance by the pros from the upcoming “Dancing With the Stars Live: Light Up the Night” tour, Scott and Slater were decked out in gold lame to re-create the jazz routine of Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff from season 17. The dance required Scott to twirl, lift and spin Slater, and at times it looked as if he was going to drop her, but they pulled it off for a score of 24.
Arlen and Chmerkovskiy had to re-create the Charleston that Amber Riley and Derek Hough performed in season 17 and drew raves from the judges and a nearly perfect score, as Goodman and Tonioli gave them 10s while Inaba held them back with a 9, for a total of 29.
Fisher and Arnold re-created a high-energy jive, complete with cartwheels, that MMA fighter Paige VanZant and Ballas performed in season 22 to “Proud Mary.” The pair drew raves from the judges and a well-earned perfect score.
Stirling and Ballas re-created the season 18 tango of Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy for a 28.
Muniz and Carson re-created the paso doble of season 4 champions Julianne Hough and Apolo Ono. They were fun to watch, but Muniz lost points for form. They scored 26.
Muniz and Arlen were up for elimination, and she was sent home. She started to cry and didn’t speak as her partner hugged her and said, “Come on. Be proud of yourself. There’s nothing to be upset about. I’m so proud of you. Seriously.”
Tom Bergeron called her the most inspiring person he has met in 25 seasons of the show.
Scores: Drew Scott and Emma Slater: first dance 24, second dance 24 Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson: 25, 26 Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold: 28, 30 Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas: 29, 28 Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy: 27, 29; eliminated
“Dancing With the Stars” returns for the finals next Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.