‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Jeannie Mai’s sudden withdrawal threw a wrench in ‘Double Elimination Night’ [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

What a difference a day makes. The November 2 “Dancing with the Stars” was supposed to be “Double Elimination Night,” but one of those eliminations happened early as a contestant was forced to withdraw due to illness. So how did that sudden exit affect this week’s show? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments and our running commentary throughout the night.

Jeannie Mai was the contestant who had to make a sudden exit. The Emmy-winning host of “The Real” announced on “Good Morning America” that she was diagnosed with epiglottitis, which requires surgery and prompted her to quit “DWTS.” She had been scheduled to perform a Charleston with her pro partner Brandon Armstrong, and then she was to dance a Viennese waltz against Johnny Weir and Justina Machado in a Relay Dance round. One judge was supposed to rank the celebs in each Relay group and award bonus points based on those rankings, so it remained to be seen whether Mai’s exit would affect that format.

With her abrupt departure from the show, there would only be one elimination at the end of the night instead of two. So who was it? Mai was in the bottom two last week on “Villains Night” with Monica Aldama, but was saved by the judges. With Mai no longer around, the only celeb left who was ever in the bottom two before was Weir; he was in jeopardy on “Top 11” night but was given another chance. Did he do well enough in the judges’ scores and viewer votes to avoid another trip to the bottom this week? Were we in for any more surprises? Follow along below starting at 8:00pm (times listed are Eastern).

Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev (Jive)

Daniel Montgomery, 8:03pm — “Last week felt like a bit of a disaster,” says Kaitlyn about getting a low score after weeks of strong performances. “I’m depressed,” Artem adds. So “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen as their song for tonight’s performance is pretty fitting. Artem suggests no longer trying to please the judges but to please herself first and foremost. Because if she’s not having fun, no one watching her is either.

Daniel, 8:06pm — That looked like a pretty rock solid, technically spot-on jive. I didn’t see a foot out of place, and she genuinely seemed to be having fun

Jeffrey Kare, 8:07pm — I thought Kaitlyn and Artem both provided such a fun display of energy.

Cordell Martin, 8:08pm — It was solid. Definitely was expecting more from her.

JUDGESDerek Hough praises the amount of jive content in the dance, and she’s fantastic and can go all the way, but she needs to attack her movements more with sharper legs. Bruno Tonioli is “having such a good time,” and she “can do everything,” but he wants more “passion,” “attack” and “intentions” so it looks more like a jive. Carrie Ann Inaba thinks Kaitlyn came back with “grace” and “energy,” and it’s one of her better dances, but she’s going to dock her a point for an unauthorized lift.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Derek (9), Bruno (8) = 25 out of 30

Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson (Viennese Waltz)

Daniel, 8:10pm — A lot of pressure on him to follow up that perfect score from last week. Even more pressure because he’s balancing the pressures of the show with fatherhood and his workout regimen (cut to thirsty gym shots).

Daniel, 8:13pm — Nev has such great flow across the floor, lovely arms, a clean and graceful performance.

Cordell, 8:14pm — I agree. He’s definitely one of the more versatile dancers this season.

Jeffrey, 8:15pm — Yeah, it was quite stunning.

JUDGES — Bruno thought he was “oozing charm and charisma,” and he was leading his partner without pushing too hard, but he needs to work on the rise and fall a little more. Carrie Ann said it was “beautiful” and he looked like he was a tiny bit off from time to time (he slipped), but she still thought it was a strong routine. Derek thought he “sat in that routine beautifully,” but he needs to watch his left arm.

Cordell, 8:16pm — Oh so Carrie Ann is nitpicking now …

Daniel, 8:17pm — I’m guessing 8s.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 27 out of 30

Daniel, 8:20pm — Interesting, their comments didn’t sound quite that enthusiastic. I’m not mad at those though.

Justina Machado and Sasha Farber (Samba)

Daniel, 8:20pm — My fingers crossed for Justina getting through the samba, but Justina says she has always loved the samba. She loves Latin dance, and she’s reminded of seeing “West Side Story” and seeing Puerto Ricans on the big screen. She was inspired by Rita Moreno, who of course now plays her mom on “One Day at a Time” and shares encouraging words on video during the clip package. If anybody can kill this samba, it’s Justina channeling the spirit of Rita!

Daniel, 8:23pm — The samba is no match for Justina. That was fire, full of personality, tons of samba content, get it girl!

Jeffrey, 8:24pm — Justina and Sasha both know how to bring it in the ballroom.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann loves the way Justina makes the audience feel despite one little stumble. Derek loves the song, loves the samba rolls, but she needs to articulate her feet a little more. Bruno calls her a “tangerine dream” with an “exuberant, joyful presence.” And he also says something about “The Full Monty” and she needs a little more bounce.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 27 out of 30

Cordell, 8:26pm — Great score.

Daniel, 8:27pm — And well deserved, though I’m still waiting for her to finally get a 10.

Jeffrey, 8:27pm — Me too.

Cordell, 8:28pm — Me three.

Nelly and Daniella Karagach (Rumba)

Daniel, 8:29pm — They’re dancing to “Nobody Knows” by The Tony Rich Project. It’s one of Nelly’s sister’s favorite songs. In 2001 she was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find a donor and she died in 2005, so he’s dedicating this dance to her. He promised her that her children would be taken care of, and now her kids have kids so Nelly is a grand uncle in addition to a devoted and loving brother.

Daniel, 8:32pm — Needed more hip action and more extension of his arms. His movements could have used more passion and oomph.

Jeffrey, 8:33pm — Pretty good for the most part, though a little stodgy in some places.

JUDGES — Derek thought the emotion of his story transcended dance, though he doesn’t make any comment about the dance itself. Bruno thought he made Daniella shine, but there’s a movement in the feet you needs to get the right hip action, and he “stepped it” too much. Carrie Ann is “proud” of Nelly for his effort, but effect is “not quite” where the judges want them, and she wants more variety of shaping, though she could feel the emotion he was expressing with it.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Derek (7), Bruno (7) = 21 out of 30

Daniel, 8:37pm — Harsher than I would have expected given some of his previous scores, but fair.

Cordell, 8:38pm — I think Nelly might escape the bottom two.

Daniel, 8:38pm — He might, but they’re really gonna test his fan base. It’ll be interesting to see how Chrishell and Johnny do.

Jeffrey, 8:38pm — Indeed.

Cordell, 8:39pm — Watch Chrishell get all 9s.

Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko (Viennese Waltz)

Daniel, 8:40pm — I was surprised she got 9s last week. I wonder if the judges will keep that up or nitpick her performances tonight. But Chrishell is balancing “DWTS” with her job doing real estate on “Selling Sunset.” They do a video chat with her co-workers to promote her reality show. Not to be cynical, but I’m not sure that clip package would inspire a lot of passion from fans.

Daniel, 8:43pm — Some solid moments in that routine, a little hoppy and steppy in places instead of gliding, but one of her stronger routines. 8s-worthy.

Jeffrey, 8:44pm — Very steamy; definitely one of their better routines.

Cordell, 8:45pm — Typical Gleb routine.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was “graceful and elegant,” and “sexy” too, but her arm out of hold needs work, and so does her neck gets a little crooked. Derek sees her “improving” each week, but he agrees with Carrie Ann about the arms, and she also needs smoother transitions. Bruno is fanning himself from all the hotness, and she had “very good moments,” but she needs to be able to sustain it better throughout the routine.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Derek (8), Bruno (8) = 24 out of 30

Daniel, 8:50pm — I think the judges nailed it with her tonight, perfect, well-deserved numbers for that routine.

Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten (Salsa)

Daniel, 8:51pm — They’re dancing a salsa to “Work It” by Missy Elliott. I’m not sure about that song choice for that dance style, and I also worry about Skai on this routine because her biggest struggles have been with Latin dances so far this season. This could be an important moment of redemption for her. If she can slay her Latin dance demons, she could be unstoppable.

Daniel, 8:54pm — I didn’t think it was one of her best routines, and she used those lifts as kind of a crutch, but it was clean and she handled it really well with that difficult tempo. Kudos!

Jeffrey, 8:55pm — Yeah, not one of their best performances, but they both at least still got to show off some moves.

Cordell, 8:56pm — Alan needs to stop with the lifts.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann appreciated how aggressive Skai was, but the landings on her lifts were a little sloppy. Derek notices that Skai’s dancing was more grounded than usual, which he liked, but it had one or two lifts too many. Bruno thought it was like Cirque du Soleil, but he agrees with Carrie Ann that the landings needed to be cleaner.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Derek (9), Bruno (8) = 25 out of 30

Daniel, 8:58pm — I’m not mad at those scores. Constructive criticism, room to grow, but they gave her the credit she was do for her skill and athleticism.

Daniel, 8:59pm — If Skai makes it to the finals and gets to do a freestyle, I wonder if her feet will even touch the ground with all the lifts Alan will put in it because she’s so light.

Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart (Foxtrot)

Daniel, 9:00pm — “Top 11” was off for him, and then he came back with a strong “Villains Night” routine. Johnny doesn’t know anything about the foxtrot, but he sure as hell knows a lot about Shawn Mendes, whose song “Wonder” they’ll be dancing to. “I know everything about Shawn Mendes’s biceps!” Johnny is so thirsty he’s practically dehydrated, but I can’t blame him.

Daniel, 9:03pm — He was throwing his arms a little wildly at the end there, but he had such grace of movement and timing, excellent work.

Jeffrey, 9:04pm — Incredible!

Cordell, 9:05pm — Great performance.

JUDGES — Derek says Shawn Mendes would be proud, but the rise and fall needs to be more “gradual.” It was like “choppy waves” instead of a “swell in the ocean,” and the cropped pants broke up the line of his legs a bit. Bruno thinks he has “wonderful, sweeping movements that fill the stage,” but he agrees with Derek about the rise and fall needing to be smoother. Carrie Ann appreciated the passion and storytelling, and she actually liked the choppy rise and fall as an intentional choice.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 27 out of 30

Daniel, 9:06pm — High scores, well deserved, and they might keep him safe from the bottom.

Jeannie Mai’s Farewell

Daniel, 9:06pm — She comes in with a clip from her hospital room, where she received emergency surgery for an abscess in her throat that was infected and was at risk of closing up her throat. But surgery went well according to her pro partner Brandon Armstrong. She says she’s “devastated” for her journey on the show to end this way. She had such potential, personality, and natural ability that I’m sad not to see her continue to progress on the show, but it was “hands down one of the best journeys of my life,” she says. For us too, Jeannie!

Cordell, 9:08pm — Tyra, please stop being so dramatic lol

AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke (Rumba)

Daniel, 9:14pm — Tyra announces that next week is “Icons Night” and will be inspired by legendary music stars. But now we’ve got the Backstreet Boys music star. In his clip package he discusses his struggles with drugs and alcohol. He overdosed twice and has been in and out of recovery until just a year ago. His breaking point was when his daughter told him, “You don’t smell like my daddy.” Cheryl can relate because she has been sober for two years. “DWTS” has also taught him to embrace his emotions and vulnerability and not run away from those feelings.

Cordell, 9:17pm — This might be AJ’s best dance. This should’ve been a contemporary.

Jeffrey, 9:18pm — I might have to agree with your first comment Cordell, because this is exquisitely breathtaking!

Daniel, 9:19pm — Solid dance from AJ, not perfect, but he definitely was a lot more expressive physically than Nelly was with his routine, which sold it a lot better

JUDGES — Bruno was “captivated” by the “intensity” of it, but there wasn’t enough actual “rumba action” despite how impressed he was by the performance. Carrie Ann agrees it was “passionate” and “moved up,” but “there wasn’t enough content” or “hip action,” and he’s a little “sloppy on the edges.” Derek thinks AJ’s sobriety journey is heroic, though he too echoes the fact that it was short on actual rumba.

Cordell, 9:20pm — I agree Bruno, not a lot of rumba in it. It would’ve been a 10 if it was a contemporary.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Derek (8), Bruno (8) = 24 out of 30

Daniel, 9:22pm — Those were the right scores. Definitely stronger than Nelly’s even without enough actual rumba content.

Cordell, 9:23pm — I agree.

Daniel, 9:24pm — It’ll be interesting how the relay dances go down, and how viewer votes will affect it. Chrishell has fans as evidenced by her being safe up until now, but her clip package was just about her working real estate. Nelly and AJ opened up with life and death stories about their lives and struggles and might elicit more passionate support from their fans.

Relay Round: Carrie Ann Judges Cha Cha

Daniel, 9:26pm — Nev, Chrishell and Nelly will be performing cha chas, in that order. Nev is going to make it tough on Chrishell and Nelly setting the standard for them. Nev has to be considered the front-runner given his past performances on the show and his past performance on the cha cha.

Daniel, 9:29pm — Chrishell went wrong a couple of times and didn’t have Nev’s speed and precision. Nelly was a little off in places too. Nev clearly wins that relay for me, second and third place is a toss-up.

Jeffrey, 9:30pm — A bit of a mixed bag, but mostly solid.

Cordell, 9:31pm — Yeah Nelly and Chrishell were a bit off

CARRIE ANN SPEAKS — She thought Nev started slow, but got a lot better. Chrishell had a lot of content. Nelly is the most improved from his first cha cha, but he needs to keep his head up.

CARRIE ANN’S VERDICT — Nev gets 3 bonus points. Chrishell gets 2 bonus points, and Nelly also gets 2 bonus points.

Daniel, 9:32pm — Interesting that she was able to give two couples 2 bonus points and wasn’t just ranking them top to bottom.

Relay Round: Derek Judges Viennese Waltz

Daniel, 9:36pm — Justina dances first, followed by Johnny and Jeannie, except Jeannie won’t be performing. Justina aced her last Viennese waltz, so she might be a slight favorite, but I think they’re actually pretty evenly matched, and they’re tied with their high scores tonight so far, so this will be a good battle.

Daniel, 9:38pm — Not sure who did better between Justina and Johnny. I thought they were pretty even.

Jeffrey, 9:39pm — Yeah, I thought both of them were terrific.

DEREK SPEAKS — He thought Justina was “beautiful,” but he wanted “a little more energy.” He calls Johnny’s dance “phenomenal.”

DEREK’S VERDICT — Justina gets 2 extra points, while Johnny gets 3 extra points, which puts Johnny and Nev in a tie for the top of the judges leaderboard for now with 30. Justina is right behind with 29. Skai, Kaitlyn and AJ will do sambas next, and the best any of them can do is 28 total since Kaitlyn and Skai scored 25 in the first round.

Relay Round: Bruno Judges Samba

Daniel, 9:44pm — They’re dancing to “Levitating” by Dua Lipa (love that song!). It will be AJ, then Kaitlyn, then Skai. AJ gets the set the standard, and he actually had a really great samba when he performed it. Skai almost fell down during hers, so she’s looking for redemption. Skai might actually be the underdog here given her past difficulty.

Daniel, 9:46pm — AJ started solid, Kaitlyn was about even with him after them with maybe a little more samba content. And I think Skai might have actually been my favorite of the three, good for her.

Jeffrey, 9:47pm — A grand finish to the relay round!

Cordell, 9:48pm — Skai was the best.

BRUNO SPEAKS — He thought AJ was “rhythmical,” Kaitlyn was “well placed” and “finished,” and Skai was “much improved,” but she needs to soften her bounce.

BRUNO’S VERDICT — Bruno gives 3 bonus points to Kaitlyn and AJ, and only 2 points to Skai.

Daniel, 9:49pm — WTF, he gave Skai the fewest points? I thought h e was gonna give 3 to everyone, yeesh.

Jeffrey, 9:50pm — Come on, Bruno. Skai deserved a 3 too.

Cordell, 9:50pm — Are you serious? I’m so annoyed.


1. Nev Schulman — 27 + 3 = 30
1. Johnny Weir — 27 + 3 = 30
3. Justina Machado — 27 + 2 = 29
4. Kaitlyn Bristowe — 25 + 3 = 28
5. Skai Jackson — 25 + 2 = 27
5. AJ McLean — 24 + 3 = 27
7. Chrishell Stause — 24 + 2 = 26
8. Nelly — 21 + 2 = 23


Cordell, 9:53pm — Skai better not be in the bottom two.

Daniel, 9:53pm — Luckily I threw her some votes.

Jeffrey, 9:54pm — I threw her 10. Fingers crossed.

Daniel, 9:55pm — Okay, time for the results. The celebs who are safe from elimination are Nelly (whoa, kinda surprised), Justina Machado (damn straight!), AJ McLean (interesting, they were also low on the leaderboard), Kaitlyn Bristowe (no surprise there really), Johnny Weir (no surprise either) and Nev Schulman (not a surprise there either). The bottom two are Skai Jackson and Chrishell Stause.

Daniel, 9:58pm — This really shouldn’t be a tough choice. Carrie Ann votes to save Skai. Bruno also saves Skai. Chrishell is officially eliminated. Derek says he also would’ve saved Skai, so it would’ve been unanimous.

Jeffrey, 9:59pm — Not only did Skai made it into the bottom two, but she survived it!

Daniel, 10:00pm — I think Chrishell was done in by her clip package. There was no emotion to it.

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