Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough’s Dancing with the Stars elimination shocked fans of the show, but the consistently high-scoring couple wasn’t surprised to get cut last night.
During an interview with PEOPLE, Nastia and Derek both said that their Monday night performance with Len Goodman felt like their swan song. They waltzed away with two perfect scores (along with a lot of help from Derek stand-in Sasha Farber), but Nastia Liukin’s flawless dancing wasn’t enough to win over the voters at home — Noah Galloway, Rumer Willis, and Riker Lynch will be the three celebrities competing for the mirrorball trophy.
“I feel like that when we finished the dance, it felt a little bit like a final dance, a final moment and a beautiful moment,” Derek Hough revealed.
Nastia Liukin also stated that their emotional dance “felt like a send-off moment.”
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Derek passionately defended Nastia last week in his TV Guide blog post. He was responding to the Dancing with the Stars producers’ decision to air a video package that showed the gymnast refusing to talk to the producers about her feelings after a long day of practice. Derek hinted that the powers that be were trying to create drama and make Nastia look bad by provoking her.
Nastia Liukin was very upset about the video package, and the show responded to her distress by airing the very same footage during Monday night’s semifinal. Meanwhile, Noah Galloway was given the opportunity to tug at viewers’ heartstrings by proposing to his girlfriend. Many viewers thought that his proposal was a shameless attempt to pander to those whose emotions are easily-manipulated, so Glamour asked Derek if he thought that the proposal helped Noah Galloway make it to the finals.
“You know, it doesn’t really matter,” Derek said. “That’s the thing…what it could have been or what it is…it’s done, it’s over. The only thing you could say is that the last dance we did last night was very beautiful, very memorable, very special. Those things are everlasting. So there’s zero value in trying to guess [why we were eliminated].”
Nastia Liukin had to worry about the DWTS producers using carefully-selected footage to tarnish her image, and it looks like Rumer Willis is going to have a similar concern going into the finale. However, her partner is the one to blame for hurting their chances.
According to Glamour, Val Chmerkovskiy dissed Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough in one of the video packages that played during last night’s show. Val called the talented duo “so perfect that it makes them a bit uninteresting,” and Derek wasn’t happy about that low blow.
“I heard him and I went up to him afterwards and was like, ‘Thanks. Classy, bro, classy,'” Derek said.
Val Chmerkovskiy apologized to Nastia Liukin, and he let his fans know that he also talked to Derek after sticking his foot his mouth.
— Valentin (@iamValC) May 13, 2015
Many of the fans who voted for Derek and Nastia were probably viewers who want to see the best dancer win DWTS. Because Rumer Willis is so talented, she likely would have scored many of their votes. However, after Val’s Derek diss, these potential votes might go to Riker Lynch, the other high-scoring celebrity left in the competition.
There’s also a chance that Riker and Rumer will split the vote between those who believe that pure talent trumps inspiring stories, and this could benefit Noah Galloway.
Do you think Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough deserved to be cut, and which of the three remaining celebrities would you like to see win the golden mirrorball trophy?
[Image credit: DWTS/Instagram]