On the ninth week of the reality dance competition, which was also the semifinals, the ESPN features reporter and former Paralympic swimmer, 23, was sent home from season 25 of the ABC series on Monday night just one week shy of competing for the Mirrorball Trophy.
For her final two dances of the competition, Arlen first performed a Waltz to “To Build a Home” (feat. Patrick Watson) by Cinematic Orchestra with pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy — they earned a 27/30 — before delivering a recreation of season 17 winners Derek Hough and Amber Riley’s Charleston to “Bang Bang” by will.i.am that earned her first 10s from judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli for a total of 29/30.
“Val has shown me I was looking down at my feet but for the first time I’m looking up. I’m holding my head up higher and I’m not worrying about my feet,” Arlen said in her video package before her second dance.
This season, fans and viewers learned that Arlen slowly regained the ability to speak, eat, walk, and move after being diagnosed at age 11 with a neurological condition and an autoimmune disease which affected her spinal cord and left her in a vegetative state for four years. For nearly a decade, she was paralyzed from the waist down.
“Making it to the finals would mean the world to me. Who would’ve thought the person who was paralyzed a year-and-a-half ago would be dancing in the semifinals? I want to go to the finals, and I want to win,” Arlen said this week.
Last week, the star suffered a painful injury when her whole right side of her body went into a spasm.
With Arlen’s departure, there are four fellow couples heading to the finals: Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas, Drew Scott and Emma Slater, and Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson.
“Be proud of yourself, there’s nothing to be upset about. So proud of you,” Chmerkovskiy, 31, whispered in his partner’s ear after learning of their elimination.
“Thank you to the show for trusting me with an amazing young woman. The future is bright for you,” the pro said on camera before he and Arlen were joined by her parents on the ballroom floor.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.