'Dancing With the Stars': The Surprise Elimination Finally Arrives

Kristyn Burtt

We waited and waited and waited and that surprise elimination on Dancing With the Stars never came. Week 5 and 6 slipped by without the viewers raising an eyebrow. The Week 8 double elimination hit a snafu when Jeannie Mai had an untimely medical emergency and had to withdraw from the competition.

That's when Week 9 told us, "Hold my Mirrorball Trophy." The surprise elimination came and ran over us with every sequined step.

In today's highly unscientific elimination poll that we put up on our Twitter feed, we were called out by a few people for adding AJ McLean's name to that list. Now that we have hit the quarterfinals, someone's name has to go up there — we were down to seven contestants.

Skai Jackson was listed because she hit the bottom two contestants last week. Nelly was on the list because he had the lowest score. Since Chrishell Stause was eliminated last week, that left the two lowest-scoring stars — AJ and Kaitlyn Bristowe.

Only 3.6% of the poll participants thought AJ would go home tonight, but many fans were thinking about his Backstreet Boys' popularity. His dancing hit a wall a few weeks ago. While it was certainly very good, he needed to break through to match what was happening with Justina Machado, Nev Schulman and Kaitlyn.

He should be proud of his DWTS journey and even prouder of his continued sobriety. That part of the story will have a bigger impact than any mirrorball trophy.

Even though the poll had 49.1% of the votes predicting that Nelly would go home tonight, his fan base shouted louder than any social media post. That means another surprise elimination could be ahead of us — don't count Nelly out of the finals on Nov. 23.

Before you go, check out our interview with Season 16 Dancing With the Stars troupe member Julz Tocker.

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Kristyn Burtt is a commercial dance journalist, TV host and producer. She was the West Coast correspondent and host of "To the Pointe" on Dance Network for five years. Her coverage of "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing With the Stars" and "World of Dance" is popular with dance fans across the globe. Kristyn's love of dance began early in her life. She trained at the Boston Ballet School, danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in "The Nutcracker" and won a dance scholarship to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She currently serves on the American Dance Movement’s Marketing & PR Committee and is a member of the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA.

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