‘Dancing with the Stars’: Injury, tears, and perfect 10s in dramatic third week of competition

Our users predicted the elimination of actor Billy Dee Williams this week on “Dancing With the Stars,” but not like this. The 76-year-old star announced he was withdrawing from the competition due to chronic back problems and therefore wasn’t able to perform.

But the show must go on, and on it went with what the judges described as one of the most competitive nights in the show’s history. How strong were the week-three performances? A contestant needed almost straight 8s just to stay out of last place.

Drew Carey was the unlucky contestant who ended up at the bottom of the judges’ standings, despite receiving 8s from Bruno Tonioli and guest judge Robin Roberts from “Good Morning America.” Carrie Ann Inaba thought his waltz lacked the happy-go-lucky energy of his previous dances and gave him a 7, as did Len Goodman, for a total of 30 out of 40.

Despite also receiving respectable marks from judges, NeNe Leakes (31 for her rumba) and Candace Cameron Bure (32 for her jive) joined Carey among the lowest three scorers.

But Meryl Davis didn’t miss a step during her foxtrot, getting the first perfect 10s of the season. Three out of the four judges thought she was flawless, and with a combined score of 39 she stands alone on top of the leaderboard for the first time this season.

Her Olympic ice dancing partner Charlie White, who was the top scorer for the first two weeks, had to settle for a tie for second place. He and three others – James Maslow, Danica McKellar, and Amy Purdy – scored straight 9s for a total of 36.

Of those, Purdy elicited the most emotional reaction from the judges and crowd. The double-amputee showcased her new prosthetic legs in a personal and technically challenging contemporary dance with partner Derek Hough, which was devoted to her father, who donated a kidney to her when she contracted bacterial meningitis in 1999.

But Purdy won’t have Hough in her corner next week when the stars are paired with different pros for a one-week partner switch decided by fans on Twitter. Will she get a boost from a new partnership, or will she and the other stars fall short of this week’s impressive scores?

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