‘Dancing with the Stars’ shocker: Jake T. Austin eliminated instead of Rick Perry

The second night of this week’s two-night “Dancing with the Stars” event ended in a surprise. Former Texas governor Rick Perry got the lowest judges score two weeks in a row, but he wasn’t the celebrity sent home in the season’s first elimination. In fact he was declared safe almost immediately — just after frontrunner Laurie Hernandez. So the rest of the contestants had to wait a while to find out who would get an unwelcome surprise.

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It was Jake T. Austin who got the bad news. The 21-year-old actor, known for his on-screen roles in “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “The Fosters” as well as his voice-over performance in “Go, Diego, Go!,” had also received low scores from the judges: 22 out of 40 for his week-one jive, then 24 for his week-two cha cha, for a total of 46. That put him second to last on the leaderboard, and it turns out his fans didn’t vote as passionately as Rick Perry’s.

So now that we know Rick Perry has unexpected appeal to voters at home, what will happen next week? Was it a fluke that he was spared, or might he stick around for a while? Perhaps he could even — gasp — improve his dance skills. Stranger things have happened. But even if his scores continue to suffer, the dancers just a notch or two above him in the judges’ scores — like swimmer Ryan Lochte, actress Maureen McCormick and model Amber Rose were in the first two weeks of competition — will need to keep their fingers crossed and pray that their fans come through. And you may have a tougher time making your predictions, but that’s what separates the best from the rest in our weekly predictions contest.

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Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “DWTS” in Gold Derby’s reality TV forum.

Austin’s ouster was also bad news for his professional dance partner Jenna Johnson, who competed for the very first time this season. But she’s not the first “DWTS” newcomer who has felt the sting of an early exit. Keo Motsepe also went home first in his debut outing as a competitor, when he was paired with track-and-field athlete Lolo Jones in season 19. It wasn’t until Motsepe’s fourth try that he even made it past week three; in season 22 he was partnered with actress Jodie Sweetin, and they lasted until week eight. So it may not have worked out for her this time, but there’s always next season.

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