"DWTS" Week 9: A Shocking Elimination

Well, well, well. Nastia Liukin has been eliminated from "Dancing with the Stars," (really, America? REALLY?) leaving Noah Galloway, Riker Lynch and Rumer Willis as the three contenders going into the final week. I'll try not to be too upset about never seeing Liukin's perfectly hyper-extended legs again, but it's going to be tough.

In the face of such madness, all we can do is focus on the good stuff. Fortunately the Top Four who competed on Monday night were all able to deliver something highly entertaining, be it raging bulls, 50 Shades of Gray or a sweet tribute to Len himself.

Noah and Sharna Burgess' Paso Doble was frightfully intense, with Noah as a sort of minotaur ringleader. Fortunately he showed those bulls who's boss.

Nastia and Derek Hough danced a Viennese Waltz, inspired by Len saying how disappointed he was that he can't dance like he used to. In the sweetest moment of reality dance TV history, Len stepped onstage to partner Nastia in the last moments of the waltz. Dawwww!

But here's the thing: Nastia is an Olympic gymnast. Of course she's made it this far! Girl can kick, flip and learn choreo quickly and she has a gumby back. As much as I love watching amazing dancers/athletes doing amazing things, the special appeal of "DWTS" is that most of the contestants start off distinctly not amazing. And watching people grow thanks to dance is just wonderful.

Case in point: Riker and Rumer. Um, Riker. Your contemporary dance with Allison Holker looked like actual dancing. Like, actual, technically challenging, contemporary dancing! Way to go! I hadn't really been a Riker fan up until the moment I saw him tossing Allison around like someone who knows what he's doing. And snaps for Allison, too. It's not easy to come up with technical choreography that looks good on a pro and her less-experienced partner.

As for Rumer...well, she's still my favorite. And while 50 Shades is pretty tired by now, I loved her Viennese Waltz with Val Chmerkovskiy. Who knew a waltz could be so fierce?

The trials and tribulations of elimination night were made somewhat less devastating by the very cute cast of Teen Beach 2, led by none other than Riker's brother Ross Lynch and featuring some of our favorite dancers (Hi Kent Boyd! Hi Jessica Lee Keller!).

So what's going to happen next week? You tell us, in the comments below!

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