‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Will perfect scores save Nastia Liukin, Riker Lynch from elimination?

Did you predict the high and low score on “Semi-Finals” night on “Dancing With the Stars“? If so, you may be well on your way to winning our weekly predictions contest for a $100 Amazon gift card. What matters now is who will be sent home in Tuesday night’s elimination.

There was a tie at the top of the judges’ scores this week, but ironically, neither of those top scorers was who we had predicted. After actress Rumer Willis put together two perfect dances during last week’s show, so 49% of users thought she would top the leaderboard again during semifinals, giving her 21/20 odds. But that wasn’t the case.

Instead, musician Riker Lynch and gymnast Nastia Liukin emerged victorious, each with two perfect dances of their own. Only 25% of users expected Liukin to get the top score (3/1 odds), and only 21% picked Lynch (4/1 odds).

This week, the remaining contestants performed twice: a regular competitive dance and then a special Judges’ Choice routine whose styles, music, and concepts were selected by one of the four judges: Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Julianne Hough.

Each Judges’ Choice dance was scored by the other three judges, which put them all in a difficult position of having to critique their colleagues. So perhaps unsurprisingly, every Judges’ Choice routine scored courtesy 10s across the board, even military vet Noah Galloway‘s less polished paso doble coached by Inaba, That means those second dances, while fun to watch, contributed nothing to the competition.

Despite that perfect dance, Galloway still ended up at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard for the night because his first dance only scored 36 out of 40, the lowest score of the night. That result came as no surprise to our users: 85% of them predicted it , which resulted in 2/11 odds.

So how does that affect our top users’ predictions going into Tuesday night’s elimination?

Two of the top five users on our overall predictions leaderboard answered both questions correctly. Second-place Eeric and third-place Kevin Postel both foretold Lynch’s high score and Galloway’s low score, so both have a chance to score a perfect 100% for the week if they’re right about who is eliminated.

But they differ on that question. Eeric went against our users’ consensus by picking Liukin to be sent home, an opinion held by only 11% of users, resulting in 8/1 odds. Meanwhile, Postel joined the majority picking Galloway to get the boot; 55% of users think so, giving him 5/6 odds.

It’s possible Monday night’s results are the worst thing that could have happened to Galloway. His popularity with viewers might have helped him pick off Liukin or Lynch if they had finished second or third in the scores, but it’s much harder to unseat the top-scoring dancer.

Meanwhile, the judges left Willis vulnerable in third place — what fault did they find in her Viennese waltz that she scored 9s from the otherwise 10-happy Goodman and Hough? And does that mean she could be sent home? That prospect was the farthest from our users’ minds going into Monday night’s show. 55% of users were predicting Willis to win the whole season (5/6 odds), while only 4% bet on her to be eliminated (25/1 odds).

Willis is a fan-favorite, so she may yet advance to the finals, but having the second lowest score has resulted in more eliminations than any other leaderboard position this season, and Galloway certainly pulled out all the stops to appeal to his fans; in addition to his two dances, he also proposed to his girlfriend live on the air, leaving nary a dry eye in the house.

Our top users don’t agree on what will happen Tuesday night. First-place Radzie (54% accuracy for the season) and Postel (42% accuracy) are betting on Galloway. Postel predicted perfectly on Monday night, while Radzie got the high-scorer wrong (he picked Willis), so that means Postel is guaranteed to gain some ground on Radzie on our leaderboard.

Eeric is the only user in our top five who says Liukin will go home, so going out on that limb could pay off big time if he’s right, especially since he correctly predicted both the high and low score on Monday night.

Fourth-place Ryan Lapierre and fifth-place NgoKhang both have 42% accuracy for the season, and both mistakenly predicted Willis would get the high score Monday night, so they’re hoping to gain ground on Tuesday; both say Lynch will be eliminated.

The week-nine rankings of the “DWTS” contestants after both of their Monday night dances were added together were:

Nastia Liukin – 70
Riker Lynch – 70
Rumer Willis – 68
Noah Galloway – 66

Our racetrack odds indicate that Galloway will be eliminated (5/6 odds). Lynch is next in line (7/2 odds), then Liukin (8/1 odds) and Willis (25/1 odds).

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