The Olympic gold medalist said that her exit was 'a blessing in disguise.'
This article originally appeared on People.
Dancing with the Stars audiences — and judges — definitely didn’t see that one coming.
On Monday’s live episode of the reality dancing competition series, viewers watched the final four celebrities — Simone Biles, David Ross, Rashad Jennings and Normani Kordei — compete for a spot in the finals next week.
After Jennings and Kordei were announced as the safe contestants proceeding into week 10 at the end of the show, it was Biles and Ross who were up for elimination — and the unexpected contestant was sent home.
“The couple leaving right now is — Simone and Sasha,” co-host Tom Bergeron said as a wave of surprise and boos was expressed by the audience.
After Biles and Farber were announced as the eliminated couple, each of the four judges were in complete and utter shock — and couldn’t hold back from expressing it.
Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Julianne Hough each got out of their judges’ seats and stood up out of surprise when they learned about the news, while head judge Len Goodman placed his hands over his face.
“I am in absolute shock,” said co-host Erin Andrews.
But even after being eliminated, Biles continued to sport her megawatt smile.
“I’m just thankful to be at this competition. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve matured. And I can’t wait to go home and I’ll be back next week at the finale,” Biles, 20, said smiling after her name was announced.
The announcement came as a total surprise to fans, who witnessed the gymnast earn a perfect score for each of her two dances of the night: jive (40/40) and the rumba (40/40).
Earlier in the show, Inaba praised Biles for being more open in her dances after she told the gymnast in week nine, “I’d like to see more authenticity about who you are when you perform.”
“Unreal. I’m shocked,” said Andrews as the remaining contestants hugged Biles goodbye in the center of the ballroom floor. “Makes next week even bigger. You have to get your votes in.”
After the show, Biles spoke to reporters and reflected on her DWTS journey.
“I found out a lot about myself,” said Biles, who was criticized by the judges last week for not showing enough emotion in her performances. “I think today I experienced what they wanted. It felt refreshing. I did feel free, so I can’t ask anymore. We went out with a bang.”
And while she’ll be back in the ballroom next week for the finale, she’s already looking forward to life post-DWTS.
“It’s a blessing in disguise,” said the gymnast, who plans on waiting a year before getting back into the gym to train to compete for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. “I’ve been going nonstop since the Olympics. I’m going to take time off, go on vacations, spend family time, friend time. I’m going to take some time and finally relax.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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