Van Der Beek had revealed
in October that he and his wife were expecting their sixth child.
Monday night, he explained in a prerecorded statement: “My wife, Kimberly, and I went through every expectant parent’s worst nightmare. We lost the baby. The little soul that we had expected to welcome into our family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond. You never know why these things happen. It’s what I’ve been telling my kids. All you know is that it brings you closer together. It breaks you open. It opens up your heart. Deepens your appreciation. Makes you more human.”
He continued, “I really didn’t think I would be dancing tonight. But Kimberly from her hospital bed said to me, ‘I’m not done watching you dance.’ … Kimberly, I’m dancing for you. I’m dancing for us.”
He completed a fox trot, then cried on the dance floor.
“James, when tragedy strikes, it puts everything into perspective. And this is just a dance show,” judge Len Goodman told him. “For you to come out and dance with so much feeling and emotion, I admire you so much. Well done.”
All the couples performed two dances — a “redemption dance,” followed by a new routine.
Despite Van Der Beek’s emotional state, the judges chose to eliminate him after he and singer Ally Brooke landed in the bottom two places. Brooke begged the judges to keep Van Der Beek.
“Can I give it to James, please?” Brooke cried to Bergeron.
“No, no,” Bergeron said. “That’s lovely of you to say that.”
She then tried to urge Van Der Beek to take her place. “Please, please,” she sobbed.
Van Der Beek just smiled, saying, “You’re going to go crush it.”
At the end of the episode, the cast surrounded Van Der Beek for a group hug.
Brooke will compete in Monday’s season finale against singer Lauren Alaina, actor Kel Mitchell and “The Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown.