Dancing with the Stars

ABC/Adam Taylor

Dancing With the Stars is already down to 11. But Tuesday's elimination did not go according to plan.

Certain things were a given, such as Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy—safely in first place with a combined 50 over the course of two weeks and tonight's encore selection—being easily safe.

No need to hold your breath for Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough, either—that golden couple was ushered to safety early on.

Sentiment overpowered statistics on several fronts, starting with injury-riddled Olympic gold-medalist Dorothy Hamill being welcomed back to dance another week despite scoring a dismal 15 on last night's jive.

But, in the end, it didn't matter that she was safe and boxer Victor Ortiz and Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump were in the bottom two—because Dorothy was force to leave the competition, on the advice of her spinal surgeon.

"I have an injury that could be irreparable, and nerve damage, and it would be completely unfair for me to stay in this and have any of these people go home," the 56-year-old class act explained. "I can't do what I need to and, you know, the rest of life is physical, as an athlete, is important. 

"I can't do him justice," Dorothy added, acknowledging partner Tristan MacManus, "and these are the most amazing people who want to be here. And it's not that I don't want to be here, but I wish I could give it my all, but I can't."

So, her shocking announcement meant an eleventh-hour reprieve for either Lisa or Victor, and both of them will rejoin Andy Dick, D.L. Hughley, Sean Lowe, Zendaya, Kellie, Aly Raisman, Jacoby Jones, Wynonna Judd and Ingo Rademacher next week in the ballroom.

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