We demand a recount! While some Dancing With the Stars contestants are understandably eliminated for their two left feet, other entrants are sent home far too early.
The voting system got an overhaul for season 28, following the controversial victory of radio host Bobby Bones one season prior, but the changeup didn’t stop fan favorites from leaving the ballroom.
“One thing we are going to do, we’re going to introduce live voting throughout the season, which is something we haven’t done before,” executive producer Andrew Llinares told reporters in 2019. “You’ll see a show, so you might see the Disney show, and then you’ll see the result at the end of that show, based on what happened that night. So, we get the immediacy of the results.”
Additionally, he added a judges’ save to the competition, allowing the experts to choose who went home from the final two — something the judges weren’t thrilled about.
“I’m a little stressed out by it,” she told Entertainment Tonight following the rule change. “It’s hard at the end to choose who we want to stay. … We’ve had people in the past that were amazing that went home suddenly. That is what we are trying to avoid here, so even though I don’t like it [and] it makes me a little bit nauseous. It’s really important to do. And I’m happy we have the opportunity.”
Ahead of the season 28 finale, fans were emotionally spent when James Van Der Beek was eliminated after quickly becoming a fan favorite. Fellow contestant Ally Brooke, later opened up about her conversation with Van Der Beek following his exit.
“James was so wonderful. He’s like, ‘Girl, you shine and go enjoy this and go shine.’ So I took that with me, but you know I did work so hard to get here and it’s not been easy and I’m very, very thankful to be in the finale,” she exclusively told Us Weekly in November 2019. “I hoped I would be and the fact that I’m in the finale is unbelievable! It’s bittersweet because I’m going to miss everyone so much but at the same time, I’m taking every minute in now that I know that it’s coming to an end.”
The performer also discussed how she was “texting back and forth” with the Dawson’s Creek alum after his elimination.. “He’s just the sweetest. He’s such an encourager and an amazing human being. He’s just a remarkable man.”
The next season, Olympian Johnny Weir was heartbroken when he was sent home — and opened up about the upsetting result following the episode.
“It hurts a lot because it definitely feels like a popularity contest more so than a dance contest but that’s part of it,” Weir told Us at the time. “I knew what I was signing up for. I can say wholeheartedly that I would always prefer to be myself than be popular.”
Scroll down to see Dancing With the Stars’ most shocking eliminations.