(LOS ANGELES) — It was a fight to the finish on the ballroom floor as Dancing with the Stars whittled the list of competitors down to the top 12 Monday night.  Despite a series of breakout performances where a barrage of celebrity dancers finally hit their stride, actress Anne Heche was sent home.  

Heche appeared to have an inkling that her DWTS journey was about to end, choosing to share her truth on Monday about how she “moved the needle for equal rights forward” when she openly dated Ellen DeGeneres from 1997 to 2000.

The 51-year-old Psycho star proudly danced the Paso Doble to Katy Perry’s “Rise” and even pulled a Tyra Banks mid-dance by switching up her outfit that paid homage to the Pride Flag.  “It’s been a blessing to be on this show,” gushed Heche, who earned 21/30 as her final score. “And to be able to tell my story. And to be able to have a partner to tell the truth with and to learn with.”

Heche’s departure was preceded by a shocking snafu that took place in the final two minutes of the night when Banks mistakenly sent NFL pro Vernon Davis to the bottom two alongside Heche.

It was actually Cheer star Monica Aldama who was sent by the audience to stand before the judges.

This is live TV,” Banks calmly explained before all three judges quickly agreed to redeem Aldama. “I was reading my cards, but my cards were wrong.”

Emotions were understandably riding high throughout the night, as the dancers were challenged to reflect on their past and made heartfelt tributes to those who had the biggest influence on their life.

There wasn’t a dry eye on the ballroom when Disney Channel star Skai Jackson dedicated her regal and emotional foxtrot to her late co-star Cameron Boyce, who unexpectedly passed away at the age of 20 following an epileptic seizure. 

Jackson’s raw emotion, paired with her elegant steps as she danced to John Legend’s “Ordinary People” moved judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears, who awarded the Jessie alum the first 10 of the season and paved the way for the biggest comeback of the night.  Jackson soared to the top of the leaderboard, just two points shy of a perfect score, with an impressive 28 out of 30.

Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe also shined Monday night and, prior to Jackson’s foxtrot, was awarded the first nine of the season with her effortless Viennese Waltz to “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs.  However, all the judges seemed to be in agreement that Bristowe needs to start challenging herself by breaking away from the romantic Waltzes and take a crack at some Latin dances.

Dancing with the Stars returns to celebrate everything 80s next Monday, October 12, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Here are the current standings:

First Place:
Skai Jackson, Disney Channel star, with Alan Bersten — 28/30

Kaitlyn Bristowe, former star of The Bachelorette, with Artem Chigvintsev — 25/20
Nev Schulman, host of Catfish, with Jenna Johnson — 24/30
Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater, with Britt Stewart — 24/30
Justina Machado, One Day at a Time star, with Sasha Farber — 24/30
AJ McLean, member of Backstreet Boys, with Cheryl Burke — 24/30
Monica Aldama, head coach on Netflix’s CHEER, with Val Chmerkovskiy — 24/30
Chrishell Stause, Netflix’s Selling Sunset star, with Gleb Savchenko — 22/30
Vernon Davis, Super Bowl champion, with Peta Murgatroyd — 22/30

Lowest score:
Jeannie Mai, host of The Real, with Brandon Armstrong  — 21/30
Nelly, Grammy Award-winning rapper, with Daniella Karagach — 21/30
Jesse Metcalfe, actor, with Sharna Burgess — 21/30 

By Megan Stone
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