‘Dancing with the Stars’ shocker: Former frontrunner Nastia Liukin eliminated before finals

On Tuesday night, “Dancing With the Stars” eliminated one last contestant before the finals, and it was yet another head-scratcher. Gymnast Nastia Liukin, who led our users’ predictions for the mirror ball trophy earlier in the season and tied for the highest judges’ score on Monday night, won’t even get to dance in the finals.

That result came as a surprise to most of us. Only 11% of users correctly predicted the Olympian’s ouster, giving her 8/1 odds. We had thought military vet Noah Galloway (55% of users and 5/6 odds) and musician Riker Lynch (22% of users and 7/2 odds) were far likelier to go home.

But it didn’t surprise all of our users. Three actually scored 100% predicting this week’s results: Denton Davidson, Eeric and Richard R. If you think you can beat them next week predicting the finals, you should enter our “DWTS” predictions contest for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Of those three, Davidson wins this week’s contest because he used his bets the most wisely and scored 5,840 game points, edging our Eeric, who had 5,240 points.

So how did he do it? Davidson’s scored his biggest windfall by predicting Lynch’s high score on Monday night. He placed 500 points on Lynch at 9/1 odds. That alone earned him 4,500 points, which made up the lion’s share of his total. He also bet 200 points on Liukin’s surprise ouster at 11/2 odds, adding 1,100 points to his tally. Lastly, he placed 200 points on Galloway’s low score at 6/5 odds, which had a relatively low payout of 240 points, but it was enough to secure his victory.

Eeric made the same predictions, but he used his big bets differently and fell just short. He wagered 500 points on Liukin’s elimination; Liukin had 8/1 odds at the time Eeric locked in that pick, earning him 4,000 — that was 500 points shy of Davidson’s big-bet payout. Then, Eeric put 200 points on Lynch’s high score Monday night, but when he made that pick, Lynch had 5/1 odds, so he only scored 1,000 on that right answer.

Most bottom-scoring dancers were spared elimination this season by generous viewer votes; only twice did the lowest scorer go home: musician Redfoo, who was the first contestant sent home, and “Shark Tank” businessman Robert Herjavec, who got the boot in last week’s double elimination.

However, this was the only time this season a first-place dancer was sent home. Liukin and Lynch both had a perfect night on Monday, receiving 10s across the board from judges, but even that wasn’t enough to save Liukin.

So this season’s finalists are Lynch, Galloway and actress Rumer Willis. Of those, double-amputee Galloway is the underdog; Willis and Lynch have outscored him most weeks, but Galloway has massive support from viewers voting at home.

In fact, that may be the biggest takeaway from this week’s results: Willis and Galloway clearly have huge fan bases. After finishing third and fourth in the judges’ scores Monday night, they must have had an enormous boost from voters to get them both into finals ahead of top-scoring Liukin. And this isn’t the first time they’ve outlasted higher scoring dancers; Willow Shields had outscored both of them when she was eliminated.

Take that into consideration when making your predictions for the finals. We know for sure that Willis and Galloway will draw tons of viewer votes regardless of the scores. However, we don’t know if Lynch’s fan base is as strong. Even though he was the first contestant announced to be in the finals on Tuesday night, that doesn’t mean he finished first this week. It’s possible he survived by the skin of his teeth.

This week’s prediction results also shook up our predictions leaderboard for the season. Radzie is still the user to beat, but he only answered one of this week’s questions correctly, so his overall accuracy rate dropped slightly (52%, down from 54%).

Meanwhile, thanks to his perfect predictions this week, Eeric got a big boost. He was in second place going into this week’s event, but he was tied at 42% with three other users: Kevin Postel, Ngo Khang and Ryan Lapierre. Now he stands alone in second place with 48% for the season and may be within striking distance of Radzie.

Postel is currently third (44%), Lapierre is fourth (41%) and Khang is fifth (41%).

When making your predictions, remember that coming out on top doesn’t just mean answering the week’s questions correctly. You also have to use your three big bets (one of 500 points and two of 200 points) strategically to score the most game points. If you bet on a long shot who pulls off an upset, you can really rack up the points. As we use those point totals to break ties when more than one user tops our leaderboard with the same number of correct answers, don’t take them for granted.

And there are a lot of opportunities for points next week, because for the finals you’ll now predict five outcomes instead of three: who will get the high score, who will get the low score, who will win the mirror ball trophy, who will finish second and who will finish third.

Just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice.

Was Nastia Liukin robbed: Sound off in our fiery forums

Then, after Monday night’s performance show, our predictions will re-open for you to make or edit your picks for the winner, second-place and third-place results on Tuesday night.

To enter your predictions, make sure you are logged into your Gold Derby account or register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google.

After logging in, click on the “Predictions” button found at the top-right of every page. That will bring you to a list of every event currently being predicted at Gold Derby.

We are forecasting everything from the results on TV shows like “The Amazing Race,” “Game of Thrones” and “Survivor” to the winners of the Primetime Emmys and Billboard Music Awards.

Click on any box to bring up that event, then scroll down to start making your predictions.

For each TV show, cast your votes on several different questions relating to the upcoming episode. And remember to place your 500 and 200-point bets wisely. 

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