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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: James Van Der Beek handed heartbreak on top of real sorrow – USA TODAY, USA Today

'Dancing With the Stars' recap: James Van Der Beek handed heartbreak on top of real sorrow – USA TODAY, USA Today


    Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was eliminated from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” after the lowest scores of the night.     USA TODAY

Sean Spicerhas left the building. But five dancers returned for the“Dancing With the Stars”semifinals that will go down in history as one of the show’s most heart-breaking episodes ever.

All the dancing news paled in light of news fromJames Van Der Beek,who announced tearfully on the show that his wife, Kimberly, pregnant with their sixth child, had miscarried over the weekend ..

The pain continued as the night went on. But the show went on too, with each dancer performing two dances in an effort to make next week’s finals. The first was a “redemption dance” chosen by the judges as the worst dance from each couple’s repertoire, followed by a new routine.

Even by “Dancing With the Stars” drama standards, the tears and pain were flowing at a new level on Monday.

Here’s what went down.

How we got here:Last week, Sean Spicer got the judges’ boot

Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko

Alaina was in the hot seat after falling into the “bottom two” last week. (The judges took Spicer’s scalp and allowed the country singer to continue.) Worse, Alaina had to open the show with her worst dance, a paso doble she double-dribbled in Week 2.

But her dance floor command to the fitting song “What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Stronger” showed a different Alaina who rocked a Cat Woman-esque black velvet dress cut to show off her scandalous thigh-high stockings.

The final routine had judge Len Goodman, who trained her up in rehearsals, smiling.

“You had lovely expression and aggression,” said Goodman, calling it a “terrific routine, so much improved. “

The judges gave straight nine scores.

First dance: 27 / 30

For the second dance, Alaina revealed aViennesewaltz to “Humble and Kind.” She floated out in a sheer pink dress and twirled through a number both graceful and seemingly effortless.

Goodman swooned again, calling it “so sophisticated, so classic.” Even with the compliments, she didn’t get a 10, as the judges rolled out straight nines.

Second dance: 27 / 30

Total score: 54 / 60

Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson

Mitchell was compelled to dance a tango after tanking it on Week 1, with judge Bruno Tonioli tutoring and telling the actor to be “like a panthe r. ” Mitchell was so game-face in his tango that he wore giant red rose designs on his pants as he executed near-perfect moves to “Get Ready.” He showed achingly perfect dance frame. Tonioli was standing and proud at the end.

“You delivered with everything I asked,” said Tonioli. calling it “pure, real, proper tango.”

Inaba said this dance star has “come the furthest” on the show.

The judges gave straight nines.

First dance: 27 / 30

For his second dance, Mitchell performed a contemporary routine to “I Will Always Love You” dedicated to the childhood friend he lost to gun violence. Mitchell was all drama in the number, lifting Carson perfectly.

The judges were moved to tears, especially Inaba, who called it “riveting, it was pure. I am so grateful.”

Goodman said it all with no words, simply getting to his feet and applauding, starting another standing ovation. The weeping judges reached for the 10 paddles for a perfect score, putting Mitchell in solid position.

************** (Second dance) / 30

Total score: 57 / 60

Ally Brooke and pro Sasha Farber

The pop star Brooke is going on a streak of three perfect scores over the past two weeks. But Brooke had to work the Viennese waltz she flubbed in Week 2 (where Goodman gave a six!). Brooke was all spinning dreams, twirling in her sparkling red dress against a night backdrop filled with stars, with Farber spinning her three times before sliding her across the floor to end it. Being Ally Brooke, she cried at the end.

Goodman, who trained her, called it a “wonderful dance. You went from a caterpillar to a butterfly. ” Still, he gave her a nine, her lowest score as Inaba and Tonioli swooned and pulled out the 10 paddles.

First dance: 29 / 30

Brooke is no dummy. She’s twice been in the bottom two. So she knew her second dance Monday “could be my last.” If so, she vowed to go down fighting in a brilliant banana yellow suit for a Charleston dance.

She tossed off her top hat and did every exhausting dance move possible in the infectious routine, before comically, and literally , falling off the back stage.

The judges were floored, with Inaba saying she belonged in the finals with her ” show-stopper. “

Goodman called it a” joyful performance. ” Brooke was still catching her breath as the judges pulled their 10 paddles out for her perfect score.

Second dance: 30 / 30

(Total score) / 60

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten

Inaba has always pushed Brown. So it was fitting that Inaba was the tutor for Brown’s rumba after she criticized the lack of hip action from the Week 3 original, calling it a “cheerleading dance.” The pre-dance video showed tense standoff in rehearsals that ended with both Inaba and Brown in tears, and hugging it out. Brown then unleashed the hips to “Dancing With a Stranger,” with Bersten, shirt fully unbuttoned, leading.

She moved her hips so much her hair fell in her face. Brown finished strong and gave Inaba another make-up hug.

“You improved a heck of a lot,” said Inaba, adding Brown was “very comfortable in your hips. I’m proud of you.”

The judges gave straight nines.

First dance: 27 / 30

Brown cried again talking about her “Bachelorette” days gone by and love lost in the video before her second dance. She poured out her heart in a contemporary dance, with some stunning lifts that showed tremendous trust in Bersten.

“The emotion came out; it was a great dance, “said Goodman.

**************** (Second dance) / 30

(Total score) / 60

James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater

The “Dawson’s Creek” star is one of the favorites going into the finals, even with a his Achilles heel cha cha cha, which h e flopped on during Week 2. Before heannounced his tragic news,Van Der Beek’s disco cha cha cha to “Canned Heat,” with him clad in a silver-glitter disco shirt and tight trousers, was thrilling. It featured a back flip that had fans gasping, fist-pumping, and repeated throwing of hands to the ceiling. He even tossed Slater about before ending sliding on his knees to seal it.

But the judges were not in the mood for disco. Self-proclaimed “nasty guy” Goodman felt there were too many gimmicks.

“I would have like to have seen more cha cha cha. Too much messing about, “he said.

Tonioli called it a” Disco cha cha extravaganza , “but had problems with the routine. The judges gave straight eights.

First dance: 24 / 30

Before his second dance, Van Der Beek stunned the audience with news of his wife’s miscarriage . There was not a dry eye in the house as Van Der Beek told how his wife, still in the hospital, urged him on to dance. He performed a tango in her honor.

The pain was etched on his face in the passionate dance, which added to the pathos. Inaba was noticeably weeping as she gave her thoughts and scores.

“I don’t know how you got through that , “she said, wiping away tears. “But in the midst of all the tragedy you’re going through, you gave me great posture.”

The judges gave straight nine scores. But with his scores from both dances, the longtime favorite Van Der Beek was very much at risk of getting voted off.

Second dance: 27 / 30

Total score: 51 / 60


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So what happened?

Could Van Der Beek actually get sent home on the night he had delivered such tragic personal news? That was the question on everyone’s mind as the judges’ scores were tallied with viewers votes to determine who would be cut, and who would be in the finals.

Kel and Whitney were the first saved, followed by Hannah and Alan and a comically shocked Lauren and Gleb.

Sure enough, the last two couples were Ally and Sasha along with James and Emma. Jaw-dropping real pain on the show for Van Der Beek who kept his composure.

The judges had to make the awful decision over who was spared and who was sent home.

“Do I really have to?” Inaba pleaded tearfully. “The couple I want to save is Ally and Sasha. I’m so sorry, James.” She then put her head in her hands.

The next, decisive vote went went to Tonioli

“It’s incredibly hard,” said the judge. “I have to say Ally and Sasha.”

There was pure shock in the audience as it became clear, Van

The newly voted-off Van Der Beek hugged Slater with a look of peace on his face as the spared dancer Ally Brooke broke into tears, pleading to give her spot in the finals to Van Der Beek from the stage.

“Can I give it to James, please?” Brooke sobbed. It was not to be. Van Der Beek will not be competing in next week’s finals.


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