‘Dancing with the Stars’: Calvin Johnson upsets Laurie Hernandez, but both safe from elimination

Dancing with the Stars” aired a shortened one-hour episode on Monday, September 26, due to the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that followed. That meant a change in format. Instead of the usual themed dances — last week was “TV Night” — the remaining 12 stars competed in six face-off battles. The winners of those battles earned immunity in Tuesday night’s elimination. The losers are at risk of being sent home. Our predictions center is back open, so you can enter or update your picks for who you think will go home on Tuesday night, and you can also let us know who you think will win the Mirror Ball Trophy at season’s end.

Photo Gallery: Every winner of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ to date

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. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Dancing with the Stars” in Gold Derby’s reality TV forum.

The match-ups were as follows:

Jana Kramer vs. Babyface — Jive
Rick Perry vs. Vanilla Ice — Paso Doble
Ryan Lochte vs. James Hinchcliffe — Cha Cha
Terra Jole vs. Calvin Johnson — Viennese Waltz
Maureen McCormick vs. Amber Rose — Salsa
Laurie Hernandez vs. Marilu Henner — Tango

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The six battles themselves weren’t necessarily surprising, but the overall judges’ leaderboard was. We thought Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez would get the highest score of the night for the third week in a row; she had leading 2/5 odds of coming out on top. But unfortunately for her, judge Carrie Ann Inaba docked her a point for an unauthorized lift during her tango with pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Inaba gave her a seven, while Len Goodman, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli gave her eights, for a total of 31 out of 40.

That was enough to put her behind football player Calvin Johnson, who unexpectedly scored straight eights from the judging panel, for a total of 32. That came as a surprise to our predictions contest entrants, who ranked him fifth with distant 33/1 odds of getting the top score.

However, both Johnson and Hernandez won their respective dance battles, as did country singer Jana Kramer, rapper Vanilla Ice, race car driver James Hinchcliffe and actress Maureen McCormick. Those six are thus immune from elimination on Tuesday night — they automatically move on to the next week of competition and can breathe a sigh of relief.

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The other six dancers, however, need America’s votes to stay alive: singer-songwriter Babyface, politician Rick Perry, swimmer Ryan Lochte, reality TV star Terra Jole, model and actress Amber Rose and actress Marilu Henner. You can now choose from among those dancers to decide who you think will be eliminated. And when you decide make sure to refer to the judges’ scores, which will be combined with viewer votes to determine who goes home. They are as follows (contestants in jeopardy are highlighted in red):

Calvin Johnson – 32
Laurie Hernandez – 31
Terra Jole – 30
James Hinchcliffe – 29
Marilu Henner – 28
Maureen McCormick – 28
Jana Kramer – 26
Babyface – 25
Ryan Lochte – 25
Amber Rose – 25
Rick Perry – 23
Vanilla Ice – 23

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As you can see, Jole was the highest scoring dancer to lose her face-off, while Perry (once again) was the lowest scorer of the night — Perry tied with Vanilla Ice in his total score, but Vanilla Ice got a higher score from head judge Goodman, which was the tie-breaker that decided their face-off. But Perry survived last week’s elimination despite having the lowest score, so Babyface, Lochte and Rose had better hope their fans vote in earnest.

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