(LOS ANGELES) — With both the pressure and emotions running high on Monday night’s Dancing with the Stars, it was a fight to the finish to make it into this season’s top ten.  Unfortunately for football star Vernon Davis, who gave his all for his Cha Cha and again showcased his vast improvement over last week, he was sent home.

Vernon found himself sent to the bottom two with Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, who was coming off from last week’s highest score of the season — 29/30.  All three judges expressed frustration that they had to choose between the two and Judge Bruno Tonioli had the toughest decision of all because he had to act as the night’s tie-breaking vote.  He ultimately chose to keep Weir.

As for who topped the scoreboard, dancers brought their A game Monday night because of the narrowing competition, which resulted with the season’s first four-way tie at the top. 

One Day at a Time star Justina Machado, Backstreet Boy AJ McLean, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and Cheer’s head coach Monica Aldama all dazzled the judges and earned the night’s high score, a 27 out of 30.

Machado’s beautiful and empowering Viennese Waltz to Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman” served as a message to women everywhere to embrace their body and live their life.  The judges were impressed to see a newer, gentler side side of the bold dancer and commended her reliability to always give 110% on the ballroom floor.

McLean, who dedicated his Samba to pro dance partner Cheryl Burke, delighted the judges with his sexy and breezy routine to J Balvin’s “Mi Gente” while Aldama’s triumphant rumba to Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” earned high praise from the judges’ table and, also, her highest score of the season.

Bristowe, who struggled to learn the Samba during rehearsals, earned valuable critique from the judges about the areas she needs to improve after finishing her spicy routine to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”  Her hard work paid off in the end, allowing her to also collect straight nines.

Another breakout dance came from Catfish host Nev Shulman, who was just one point shy of joining the four way tie at the top.  His expressive and vivacious jazz routine to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations” was decidedly the most entertaining dance of the night.

As for the night’s most emotional moments, The Real host Jeannie Mai and Selling Sunset’s Chrishell Stause both tugged at the heartstrings when opening up about their families. 

Mai recounted the harrowing tale of her grandparents fleeing post-war Vietnam with their children to start a new life in America while Stause revealed that she lost both of her parents to cancer in the span of the year.

While the two executed phenomenal dances, they both fought through tears on the ballroom floor.

Dancing with the Stars returns next Monday to celebrate all things spooky and Halloween, October 26, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Here are the current standings:

First Place: (tie)
Justina Machado, One Day at a Time star, with Sasha Farber — 27/30
AJ McLean, member of Backstreet Boys, with Cheryl Burke — 27/30
Monica Aldama, head coach on Netflix’s CHEER, with Val Chmerkovskiy — 27/30
Kaitlyn Bristowe, former star of The Bachelorette, with Artem Chigvintsev — 27/20

Nev Schulman, host of Catfish, with Jenna Johnson — 26/30
Jeannie Mai, host of The Real, with Brandon Armstrong  — 25/30
Nelly, Grammy Award-winning rapper, with Daniella Karagach — 24/30
Chrishell Stause, Netflix’s Selling Sunset star, with Gleb Savchenko — 24/30
Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater, with Britt Stewart — 22/30

Lowest score:
Skai Jackson, Disney Channel star, with Alan Bersten — 18/30

 

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.