Dancing With the Stars returned last night with seven couples still fighting for the mirrorball trophy – and yet another shocking elimination.
The Office actress Kate Flannery and her pro dancer partner Pasha Pashkov were eliminated after landing in the bottom two.
Flannery first performed a jive during the individual dance portion of the evening and earned a 24/30 from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli.
In the dance-off round that followed later, Flannery and Pashkov went head-to-head against Sean Spicer and Jenna Johnson. But although Flannery was awarded two extra points from the judges in the cha cha dance-off, it was the actress who was sent home.
At the end of the night, Flannery and Pashkov landed in jeopardy with Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber. Both pairings were brought before the judges, who were in shock at Flannery and Brooke landing in the bottom two.
“First of all, I just want to say it’s confusing for me at this point why these are the bottom two,” said Inaba, who admitted, “I’m a little confused and a little irritated.”
Tonioli had similar feelings. “Again, I’m in the same position as Carrie Ann. You know, I have to do my job. You shouldn’t be here.”
Inaba called out viewers who may use their votes to “spite” the judges. “What I want to say about this is, there are people who are working their butts off, and we’ve gotten so many complaints in the past seasons about not the best dancer winning,” she said, seemingly referring to the controversy over Bobby Bones winning last season. “So, these people who are voting just to spite us or whatever reasons they’re having in their heart – listen, I respect you, but how about having a little respect for the people who are working their butts off dancing?”
“This is a dancing competition. It’s nothing else. It’s supposed to be about the best dancer. Put it where it counts!” she exclaimed.
Ultimately, both Inaba and Tonioli chose to save Brooke and Farber. Kate was all smiles and took the elimination like a true professional, and was even lifted into the air by her fellow castmates in celebration of her valiant efforts.
For the first time this season, the judges pulled out their 10 paddles. Kel Mitchell received the first 10 of the night. Ally Brooke, who was in the bottom two, earned the first perfect score, a 30/30, of the season, wowing the judges with a stunning Paso Doble to her own song, “Higher.” James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater, who were granted immunity ahead of the Dance-Off, since they were at the top of the leaderboard last week, which meant they were given two extra points. However, they didn’t really need it; their contemporary dance earned them a perfect 30.
Van Der Beek and Emma Slater were at the top of the leaderboard with 32 points and Spicer and Jenna Johnson, who filled in for pro dancer Lindsay Arnold, were at the bottom with 20 points. Arnold skipped show after her mother-in-law unexpectedly passed away. Johnson and Karamo Brown were eliminated last week.
Still in the running for the coveted mirror-ball trophy are The Bachelorette alum Hannah Brown; country music singer Lauren Alaina; actor James Van Der Beek; singer Ally Brooke; actor Kel Mitchell; and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Here’s how the stars stand at the end of Week 8:
1. James Van Der Beek – 30 + 2 = 32
2. Hannah Brown – 29 + 2 = 31
3. Ally Brooke – 30
3. Kel Mitchell – 28 + 2 = 30
5. Kate Flannery – 24 + 2 = 26 (ELIMINATED)
6. Lauren Alaina – 24
7. Sean Spicer – 20