Dancing with the Stars contestant Nastia Liukin and partner Derek Hough no longer have a chance at the Mirrorball, but both of them agree it didn’t come as too much of a surprise after Monday’s episode.
“I feel like that when we finished the dance, it felt a little bit like a final dance, a final moment and a beautiful moment,” Hough told PEOPLE backstage after the show. “So I think, for us, I’m not terribly surprised, but I’m very pleased. I can’t believe what [Nastia’s] accomplished.”
And although the couple had some of the highest scores from the judges this season, Liukin also admits that the pair’s performance felt like the end of her time on the show.
“I think after last night I just kind of felt like you know no matter what happened today I don’t have any regrets,” Liukin shared. “And being able to dance with Derek one last time really meant a lot to me. It was such a special moment … I was kind of hoping it wasn’t that way, but it felt like a send-off moment.”
She adds: “More so than anything this journey has been so incredible for me, being able to learn so much about myself, and Derek has kind of been a huge help – really making me believe that it’s okay to just be myself and not try to be perfect all the time.”
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Did the pair think contestant Noah Galloway’s proposal to girlfriend Jamie Boyd during Monday’s show gave him an edge at all?
Hough says he knew Galloway was “through instantly” after watching his performance.
“I knew there was a moment in his dance – it wasn’t even the proposal; the proposal was awesome and beautiful – but it was a moment in the dance where he just closed his fist,” Hough said. “I knew in that moment the way his eyes and his face was, I was like, ‘Boom! He’s through.’ ”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.