ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — Week nine of Dancing with the Stars ended with the elimination of paralympian Victoria Arlen.
Over the past few weeks, Victoria shared the heartbreaking story of the adversity she faced when she was only 11 and afflicted 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 in the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Her story was incredibly inspirational but she had the lowest combined judges’ scores and viewer votes and though she made it through the semi-finals, sadly won’t be going on to win the Mirror Ball trophy.
This week featured two rounds of competition: “dancer’s pick,” which meant the pros picked a song that best represents their partner, and a classic routine, where each star has to reinterpret an iconic dance from past seasons.
Property Brother Drew Scott kicked off the show with a tango in high Scottish elegance to the Proclaimers’ “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 Drew 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.” Drew and Emma still drew eights from each judge for a score of 24.
Val Chmerkovskiy and Victoria had a moving contemporary routine and they waltzed their way to a score of 27.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold performed an Argentine tango, though Lindsay had some difficulties with her leg, which gave out during rehearsals. She managed to rally, while wearing a knee support. While Len and Carrie Ann Inaba were tough on Jordan, because they have such high expectations of him, Bruno Tonioli was enthusiastic, calling the performance, “absolutely fabulous.” Their routine earned them 28, with a perfect 10 coming from Bruno.
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas performed a contemporary which moved Len Goodman to say, “You really blew me away.” Nevertheless, while Carrie Ann and Bruno each awarded them 10s, Len only gave them a 9; still they earned a high score of 29.
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson moved well in a contemporary that Len said “was too much hip hop and not enough hip action.” Both Len and Carrie Ann were tough and gave the Malcolm in the Middle star eights, but Bruno gave them a nine for a score of 25.
After a special performance by the pros from the upcoming tour, Dancing with the Stars Live: Light up the Night, Drew and Emma were decked out in gold lame to recreate the jazz routine of Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff from season 17. The dance required Drew to twirl, lift and spin Emma and at times looked as if he was going to drop her, but they pulled it off for a score of 24.
Victoria and Val had to recreate the Charleston that Amber Riley and Derek Hough performed in season 17 and drew raves from the judges, and a nearly perfect score as Len and Bruno gave them 10s while Carrie Ann held them back with a nine, for a total of 29 out of 30.
Jordan and Lindsay recreated a high-energy jive complete with cartwheels that MMA fighter Paige Vanzandt and Mark Ballas performed in season 22 to “Proud Mary.” The pair drew raves from the judges and a well-earned perfect score.
Lindsey and Mark recreated the season 18 tango of Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy for a 28.
Frankie and Witney recreated the paso doble of season 4 champions Julianne Hough and Apollo Ono. They were fun to watch but Frankie lost points for shape. They scored 26.
Frankie and Victoria were both up for elimination but Victoria was eliminated. She started to cry and didn’t speak as her partner Val 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’s met in 25 seasons of the show.
Drew and Emma, first dance 24; second dance, 24
Frankie and Witney, 25; 26
Jordan and Lindsay, 28; 30
Lindsey and Mark, 29; 28
Victoria and Val, 27; 29; eliminated at the end of the night
Dancing with the Stars returns for the finals next Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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