Hart and her professional partner Mark Ballas were ousted during the sixth week of the competition based on a combination of their judges scores from Monday night's performance episode and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast.
"That's the game," said Hart after she was eliminated.
The couples were required to compete in the "Dance Off" because they had finished with the next lowest combination the judges' scores from Monday night's performance episode and home viewer votes cast following the broadcast.
The duos were able to pick new routines, which they then performed during the "Dance Off." Once both couples performed, Dancing with the Stars' judges determined which duo they wanted to save and who would be ousted. Irvin and Demidova went first and they performed a samba.
"The last couple of weeks, you've really come alive. We saw that here tonight," commented judge Len Goodman. "Overall it was very enjoyable."
"But the technique part wasn't quite there," she added. "But crowd pleasing all around."
Irvin and Demidova were followed by Vito and Hightower, who performed a jive.
"What impressed me was the amount of content you managed to put in in such a short time," said Tonioli. "A lot of hard work."
Inaba described it as a "good jive."
"You had a little problem with the musicality in the beginning, but you caught up," she added. "I'm kind of disappointed this is your last shot... I kind of expected a little more content."
Goodman said he agreed with Inaba.
"I don't think the couples understand how important this little 30 second dance is," he said. "I thought it was sharp, it was fast, it was clean... Overall, very well done."
The judges then decided which couple they would be booting.
"I think both of them did a great, great job," began Tonioli. "It's incredibly difficult to choose because they both came out, they raised their game, none of them were perfect. But one couple had the edge for me, and that couple is Louie and Chelsie."
Goodman said he was "pleased" and "disappointed" by both routines.
"So the couple I want to save is Michael and Anna," he said.
That meant Inaba would cast the deciding vote.
"At this point, I really like to take into consideration everything they've done throughout the whole season," she said. But I have to judge on what just happened right here, right now. So for me it was clear, the couple I want to save is Michael and Anna."
Vito and Hightower were eliminated.
"This is a lot harder than it looks," said Vito. "Dealing with frustration, nerves because it's something you're not comfortable with in front of millions and millions of people. Everyday I got out there and danced. I was proud of myself for just getting out there."
Hightower said it was a "pleasure" working with Vito.
"I think we both had a great time," she added. "I'm really proud of you. I know you came out here and you really did try your hardest. That's all I can ask for."
During Monday night's performance episode, Hart and Ballas performed a waltz -- for which they received a 20 out of 30 possible points from the judges, placing them at the bottom of the leaderboard.
"Melissa that wasn't good for Week 6," began Tonioli. "I'm very, very sorry. We are going towards the final, and you didn't look like you were dancing to me -- you looked like you were trying to remember what you were told... Your posture was bad, there was no flow to the dance. I'm sorry, that's the truth."
Inaba said the waltz is supposed to feel "fluent," however Hart's felt "sticky."
"At times, it just felt a little frigid," she added. "You had a hard time with this dance I felt."
Goodman thought the routine had "musicality" and added Hart looked "elegant."
"There were some problems with the technique however," he said. "But, I think there critiques are a little bit harsh."
Vito and Hightower performed a jitterbug during Monday night's episode, for which they received a 21 out of 30 possible points -- placing them just ahead of Hart and Ballas on the leaderboard.
Goodman commented that parts of the routine were "fantastic."
"I love your enthusiasm. We all love a [somebody who tries], and I know you come out and give it 100%," he said. "Unfortunately, in the midst of all that great stuff, there's just some bits that you lose."
Tonioli thought Vito's enthusiasm cost his "precision."
"The timing goes all off," he added. "You have to work on being precise and clean."
Inaba said she "loved" the routine.
"But you dropped your partner like twice," she said. "That is not acceptable. So way down for that."
After all nine couples performed their individual routines during Monday night's performance episode, they competed in a "marathon" mambo -- during which all of them were on the floor at the same time until each was knocked out one-by-one.
The first couple to leave received two points, the second couple got three points, the third couple got four points, the fourth couple got five points, the fifth couple got six points, the sixth couple got seven points, the seventh couple got eight points, the eighth couple got nine points, and the last remaining couple got 10 points.
Hart and Ballas were the third couple cut from the marathon dance and received four points -- bringing their performance episode total to 24 out of 40 possible points. Vito and Hightower were the second couple ousted from the marathon, giving them three more points and a score of 24 out of 40 possible points for the night.
Atop the judges' leaderboard were actress Joanna Krupa and partner Derek Hough, who received a 26 for their waltz and won the marathon -- giving them a combined score of 36 out of 40 possible points.
They were followed by singer Aaron Carter and partner Karina Smirnoff, who scored a 25 for their waltz and finished third in the marathon for a combined score of 33 -- which tied them with singer/actress Mya and Dmitry Chaplin, who received a 24 for their jitterbug and finished the marathon in second for a combined score of 33.
Hot on their heels were Food Network host Mark Dacascos and partner Lacey Schwimmer, who received a 26 for their jitterbug and finished the marathon in fifth for a combined score of 32. Entertainer Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson received a 24 for their jitterbug and finished the marathon in fourth for a combined score of 31.
Rounding out the leaderboard were former The Osbournes star Kelly Osbourne and partner Louis van Amstel with a 21 for their jitterbug and sixth-place finish in the marathon for a combined score of 25, and Irvin and Demidova -- who received a 20 for their waltz but finished the marathon in last for a combined score of 22.
Dancing with the Stars' next ninth-season performance episode will air Monday, November 2 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC -- with each of the seven remaining couples performing a routine from earlier in the season. In addition, all of the couples will participate in another team dance.
Then on Tuesday at 9PM ET/PT, two more couples will be eliminated from the competition based on a combination of the judges' scores and home viewer votes.
(Photo credit ABC)
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