Just when fans thought the ballroom couldn’t get any more shocking, frontrunner James Van Der Beek was eliminated from Dancing with the Stars. Van Der Beek’s final performance punctuated a difficult week in the actor’s personal life.
Van Der Beek’s first dance (the cha cha) with his partner Emma Slater was littered with technical errors. During the judging, the actor forced a smile as he listened to the harsh criticism. For their efforts, he and Slater received three 8s, giving them a score of 24 out of 30. Host Tom Bergeron rushed to Van Der Beek’s defense, hinting that the actor had an emotionally taxing week, which may have contributed to his shaky performance. Later in the show, during a taped package, a teary-eyed Van Der Beek revealed that his wife Kimberly suffered a miscarriage over the weekend.
“We lost the baby,” he said Monday. He then added:
“The little soul that we had expected to welcome in to the family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond. You never know why these things happen, that’s what I’ve been telling my kids. All you know it brings you closer together. It breaks you open, it opens up your heart… it makes you more human. I really didn’t think I’d be dancing tonight, but Kimberly from our hospital bed said to me, ‘I’m not done watching you dance.’ Kimberly, I love you. We are dancing to ‘Take Me to Church,’ which is all about human convention that’s so strong, it’s out of control, it’s scary, it rocks your soul.”
The baby would have been the couple’s sixth child together. As promised, the Dawson’s Creek star danced a slow and nearly perfect foxtrot to Hozier’s hit, “Take Me to Church.” The performance, which marked his final turn in the ballroom, netted him and his partner three 9s. What happened next will live in infamy as one of the harshest cuts the long-running dance contest has ever made. After landing at the bottom of the leaderboard, the judges began the process of determining which couples would make it into the finals. As a semifinalist, Van Der Beek was favored by some to take the top prize. However, his low scores that night placed him in the bottom two opposite Ally Brooke and her pro Sasha Farber. The judges were asked to choose who they wished to save and they unanimously named Brooke and Farber. The former Fifth Harmony member was so stunned, she asked if she could step down to allow Van Der Beek to dance another week.
Van Der Beek left an indelible mark on season 28 of Dancing with the Stars. His consistency and charisma really set him apart from the other performers. While it’s heartbreaking that his elimination was handled so callously by the judges, this season seems to belong to the ladies. Maybe Van Der Beek secretly asked to be let go from the competition and just didn’t have the heart to step down. Or maybe everything in the ballroom is exactly as it seems. Either way, fans are still reeling from the upset. Not all is lost for Van Der Beek, though. His time on Dancing With the Stars demonstrated a brand-new skill set that is sure to land him in a coveted new role. Until then, he and his family will comfort each other through this deeply emotional time.
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