Nastia Liukin, Derek Hough Expected Their Dancing With the Stars Elimination

Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough said they expected to be eliminated from the May 12 semifinals of Dancing With the Stars  ABC/Adam Taylor

Is that Mirrorball a crystal ball? Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough told Us Weekly that they expected to be eliminated from the season 20 semifinals of Dancing With the Stars on Tuesday, May 12, allowing Rumer Willis, Riker Lynch, and Noah Galloway to advance to the finals. 

"I did [expect it], I'm not going to lie, I did," five-time DWTS champ Hough, 29, told Us and other reporters after the fact. His partner Liukin, 25, added: "I kind of did last night, too. I'm not sure — it just kind of seemed like the perfect send-off."

Indeed, even though there's another week left in the competition, Tuesday's show felt "like a finale," the Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast told Us.

"We all said that today. All four of us were like, 'Can't we all just tie?'" she joked. "It's been such an amazing experience and an amazing ride. I mean, of course we would have loved to dance one more time, but everything happens for a reason." 

Hough noted, too, that he felt like the right people advanced — and for the right reasons. Asked whether he thought Galloway's headline-making on-air proposal to girlfriend Jamie Boyd skewed the votes at all, he replied, "Honestly, for me, what did it was his paso doble. He had a moment where he did a move and he looked up with intensity and he closed his fist…and I was like, 'Final!'"

The moment was so definitive, in fact, that Hough himself wanted to vote for Galloway. "At that moment I knew instantly he'd be in the final. That's how I felt — I wanted to pick up the phone and start voting for him!" the longtime pro quipped. "I was like, 'Dude, that was awesome!'"

He continued: "So for me, coming into this tonight, I felt like it was going to be between Riker and Allison [Holker] and ourselves — and Riker and Allison destroyed it, killed it last night. So as soon as they were safe, I looked at [Nastia] and said, 'Dude, you did such a great job, but we're going home tonight.'"

Liukin had the same premonition. "Like Derek said, I kind of knew once Riker was safe," she shared. "I don't know why, but I'm kind of good with gut intuition, too. The night before the Olympics in 2008, I had a dream — and I never dream about gymnastics — that I won at the Olympics. And then that happened."

Win or lose, both were quick to say that they were happy with their DWTS experience. "To end our whole journey and experience with that [dance], I couldn't ask for anything more," Liukin gushed. "And to be able to dance with Derek one last time, through the injury — it's been a roller coaster of emotion and pain, both physical and mental."

She added that she'd learned a lot through the show — not just about dancing but also about herself. "I think as a gymnast, I was always so focused on scores and placement," she told Us, adding that she sometimes forgot about "living in the moment" because of that. "Derek taught me a lot about that. It's more about the journey…It's okay to be vulnerable and just be yourself." 

Added Hough, "She's a champion."

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