‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Dance duels send Danica packing and leave Meryl at bottom

Recent weeks on “Dancing With the Stars” have seen injuries to both Danica McKellar and Amy Purdy. Both made it through the show’s first ever Celebrity Dance Duels without further physical trauma, but they didn’t both make it through to the next round. Though James Maslow and Charlie White were at the bottom of last week’s leaderboard and Candace Cameron Bure was predicted by our users to go home, McKellar was voted off instead.

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Perhaps even more surprising were the evening’s final standings, where Meryl Davis, the odds-on favorite to win the mirror ball trophy based on our users’ predictions, finds herself with the lowest score.

Davis’s harshest critic this week was guest judge Abby Lee Miller, star of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms.” Miller found fault with Davis’s foot-positions during her rumba and scored her an 8, lower than she scored any other dancer, including Maslow, whom she gave a 10 even though the three regular judges thought he had poor posture.

Later in the night, Davis dueled with McKellar on a samba, but their lack of unison hurt them. They scored a 34 for their collaboration, leaving an eliminated McKellar with a combined score of 72 and Davis with a 70, four points behind the next lowest contestant still in contention.

Purdy was the top performer of the night; she has always scored highly but never topped the leaderboard until now. Despite a prop mishap – they included a stool in their dance and nearly tipped it over mid-routine – her Argentine tango with Derek Hough scored a perfect 40 from the judges. She then teamed with Maslow on a well synchronized jive that scored a 39, giving Purdy a total of 79. Maslow finished with 75, good enough for third place.

Close behind Purdy was White, who has been craving the judges’ approval and finally got it. He opened the night with a quickstep that earned him his own perfect 40, and then he joined Cameron Bure for a contemporary routine full of difficult lifts that earned them a 38. White finished with 78 points, and Cameron Bure with 74.

Is Candace Cameron Bure bulletproof on ‘Dancing with the Stars’?

The complete leaderboard for the remaining dancers is as follows:

Amy Purdy – 79
Charlie White – 78
James Maslow – 75
Candace Cameron Bure – 74
Meryl Davis – 70

For next week’s semifinals, the remaining five contestants will perform to songs by American icons and be judged by Kenny Ortega, a three-time Emmy-winner whose victories include Choreography prizes for the “2002 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony” and 2006’s “High School Musical.”

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Will Davis survive her shocking shortfall? Is the battle for the mirror ball trophy now wide open? Below, predict who will win this season of “Dancing with the Stars”:

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