15 'Dancing with the Stars' Eliminations That Shocked Everyone (Including the Judges!)

Sure, not everyone can cha-cha their way to the Mirrorball trophy, but it was shocking to see these pairs waltz out of the competition

01 of 15

James Van Der Beek & Emma Slater

Ally Brooke & James Van Der Beek
Ally Brooke & James Van Der Beek on DWTS. Eric McCandless/ABC via Ge

After an emotional week on Dancing with the Stars, Van Der Beek was sent home with partner Slater, with the judges choosing to save Ally Brooke and her partner, Sasha Farber.

The blow was particularly difficult for both the contestants and judges because Van Der Beek revealed that week that his wife had suffered a miscarriage. Brooke was so shocked that she began to cry and asked if she could offer her spot in the finals to the Dawson's Creek star.

Carrie Ann Inaba was also emotional when she talked about her decision on The View, saying, "As a human being, what he and his wife Kimberly suffered is heartbreaking and I have so much sadness in my heart for them and my prayers are with them. But, you know, this is when it's really hard is that, as a judge, I have to judge the dance."

She added that the decision made her physically ill, stating plainly, "I went home and I vomited."

02 of 15

Kate Flannery & Pasha Pashkov

Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty

The judges were shocked when they were faced with making a decision between the Office star and Ally Brooke. After being a frontrunner for weeks, Flannery, with pro Pashkov, ended up going head-to-head with Sean Spicer in the dance-off round, only to land in the bottom two.

At the end of the night, Flannery and Pashkov found themselves in jeopardy with Brooke and Sasha Farber. Both pairings were then brought before the judges, who were in shock that the two women were 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 Carrie Ann Inaba. "I'm a little confused and a little irritated."

Bruno Tonioli echoed that sentiment saying that Flannery did not deserve the bottom two slot, "Again, I'm in the same position as Carrie Ann. You know, I have to do my job. You shouldn't be here."

Ultimately, it was Flannery who went home, though what's most shocking is that Spicer — who scored the lowest with a 20 out of 30 — was still in the running for the Mirrorball trophy.

03 of 15

Sailor Brinkley-Cook & Val Chmerkovskiy

Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy. Eric McCandless/ABC

After lacing up her dancing shoes and joining the cast of Dancing with the Stars when her mom, Christie Brinkley, was injured, Sailor Brinkley-Cook was eliminated in the sixth week of competition this season.

Though the 21-year-old earned a 27/30 for her jive, she and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, found themselves in the bottom two with another frontrunner, Ally Brooke.

"Everybody is understandably upset right now," co-host Tom Bergeron said before the judges had to decide who would remain in the competition. Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli lamented having to choose between the two, ultimately deciding to save Ally.

The situation was made all the more dramatic because controversial contestant Sean Spicer continued his run on the series, despite lesser scores.

04 of 15

Juan Pablo Di Pace & Cheryl Burke

Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke. Craig Sjodin/ABC

The Fuller House star and season 27 standout consistently wowed the judges, earning himself a perfect score of 60 for the two dances he performed in week seven of the competition. That wasn't enough to save him, though, from a double elimination that left judges and fans astonished.

Judge Len Goodman even went so far as to say, "There is no justice here."

05 of 15

Heather Morris & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Eric McCandless/Walt Disney Television via Getty

Season 24's Morris had a bit of an advantage, what with being a professional dancer and all, but that didn't mean the competition was in the bag. In fact, the former Glee star only made it to week six of the competition. Adding insult to injury, she was eliminated after receiving a perfect score.

06 of 15

Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy

ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" - Season 11 - Week Seven
Adam Larkey/ABC/Getty

Brandy's season 11 elimination was so shocking that ABC had to defend its voting system because fans were accusing show staff of tampering with the vote. The singer consistently dazzled on the dance floor, only to be eliminated in favor of Bristol Palin. For reference, Brandy managed to get a perfect score in the semi-finals, while Palin had the lowest.

07 of 15

Shannen Doherty & Mark Ballas

ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" - Season Ten - Week One
Adam Larkey/ABC/Getty

Doherty wasn't the best dancer, but she certainly scored higher than Buzz Aldrin and Kate Gosselin, who stayed in the competition during season 10 longer than the Beverly Hills, 90210 star. Doherty was eliminated in week three.

08 of 15

Simone Biles & Sasha Farber

David Livingston/Getty Images

Even after two perfect scores in the season 24 semi-finals, winning the Mirrorball trophy was one landing that Olympian Biles could not stick.

Everyone was shocked at her elimination, even the judges, but no one more than Biles herself. Biles said of the elimination, "I thought they were gonna pull a Steve Harvey on us..." alluding to Harvey's infamous Miss Universe flub.

09 of 15

Normani & Val Chmerkovskiy

ABC/Craig Sjodin

The "Motivation" singer made it to the finale of season 24, only to place third, which came as a surprise to everyone.

Normani was stunned, telling Entertainment Tonight at the time, "You're never really guaranteed. It was quite a shocker for me as well, but I've gained so much from this experience."

10 of 15

Elizabeth Berkley & Val Chmerkovskiy


The former Saved by the Bell actress was eliminated in week nine, just missing the season 17 final four. It was a shock to many, especially considering the fact that she lost out to Bill Engvall, who had consistently been given the lowest score for five weeks.

Berkley told PEOPLE after her elimination, "I felt a little sucker punch because I was excited about next week. I just feel, like, cut short a little bit — not that I feel entitled by any means. I just felt excited and grateful, that's all. Don't be sad that it's over, smile because it happened."

11 of 15

Kristin Cavallari & Mark Ballas

Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty

The Very Cavallari star was trucking along through the season 13, earning respectable scores, only to be eliminated in the third week of competition. The rest is still unwritten ...

12 of 15

Sabrina Bryan & Mark Ballas (and then Louis Van Amstel)

Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty

Anyone with eyes could see that former Cheetah Girl, Bryan, was a talented dancer. Her very first routine in season 5 earned her a record first-week score of 26, and she was getting perfect tens by week four. That didn't keep her and her season five partner, Mark Ballas, from being eliminated in week six.

Bryan returned with a vengeance for season 15, only to be eliminated again in week six with partner Louis Van Amstel.

13 of 15

Willow Shields & Mark Ballas

Willow Shields
Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty

Shields was the youngest contestant to compete on the show when she danced in season 20, and her skill was undeniable. That wasn't enough to keep her in the competition, though, as she was eliminated in week seven.

The young star said of getting the boot, "It was shocking. I got really upset … the only reason I got upset is because I've loved my experience and didn't really want it to end."

14 of 15

Christina Milian & Mark Ballas

Christina Milian
Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty

Milian was an early front-runner, even earning the first 10 of the season, before getting eliminated during week five.

Milian told PEOPLE of her elimination from season 17 of the show, "I'm sad I'm shocked. After our performance tonight [and] getting those scores, I thought, hey, even if we are in the bottom, our score can help us stay in the game. But I guess based on votes from last week, you know, [we] just didn't make the cut Even the audience was like, 'huh?' It was quite a reaction I wasn't expecting [to be eliminated], but it's okay."

15 of 15

Sasha Pieterse & Gleb Savchenko

Eric McCandless/ABC

The former Pretty Little Liars star had been steadily improving in season 25 when she was sent home during week five. Who made the cut instead? Nick Lachey, who had the lowest scores for two weeks in a row.

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