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Victoria Arlen: My 'Dancing with the Stars' elimination with Val Chmerkovskiy was "devastating"


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/14/2017 

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy's journey on Dancing with the Stars came to an end on Monday night in what turned out to be both a shocking and heartbreaking elimination right before the Season 25 finals.

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"It was devastating," Victoria admitted of her ouster during a Tuesday appearance on Good Morning America with her Dancing with the Stars professional partner.

The ESPN personality and former Paralympic swimmer placed third on the judges' leaderboard on Monday night after she and Val received a total of 56 out of 60 points from Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.

"Our two dances last night were probably the best we've had all season. And we just felt so good with them," Victoria noted.

Victoria and Val initially performed a contemporary routine to "To Build a Home" by Cinematic Orchestra featuring Patrick Watson.

The dance, which received 27 out of 30 points from the judges, featured DWTS Troupe member Jenna Johnson and told the story of Victoria emerging out of her health crisis -- about 10 years of paralysis due to two rare childhood illnesses -- from her loving parents' perspective.

For Round 2, Victoria and Val earned 29 out of 30 points from the judges for their "Iconic Dance," which was the recreation of a Charleston routine set to "Bang Bang" from Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars that had been originally danced by Amber Riley and pro Derek Hough.

"That Charleston freaked me out; I was doing it in my sleep to prepare for it," Victoria admitted. "I was really excited, last night couldn't have gone greater until the end, but I'm really proud of what we achieved and the fact we got those 10s."

Meanwhile, Val said he's extremely lucky to have gotten to know Victoria and dance with her shortly after she regained her ability to simply walk.

"There was a couple of challenges here and there," Val said on GMA, "but with every challenge there's a great opportunity."

Victoria astonished viewers by managing to deliver impressive routines week to week despite having no feeling in her legs.

"I'm so grateful the show trusted me with this incredible young woman and I got to tell her story," Val explained. "It's not every day that a dancer gets to fulfill himself [like that]. And like I said, her story was so inspiring. I'm just really proud to be a part of it."

Last week, Victoria and Val landed in fifth place on the judges' leaderboard out of six competing couples, and Monday night's elimination was based on those judges' scores as well as America's vote cast immediately following that episode.


Victoria Arlen/Instagram

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