Emma Slater Opens Up About James Van Der Beek's Heartbreaking 'Dancing With the Stars' Elimination (Exclusive)

ET spoke with the pro dancer just moments after Monday's shocking elimination.

Emma Slater is opening up about her heartbreaking elimination from Dancing With the Stars.

ET caught up with the pro dancer just moments after judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli sent her and her partner, frontrunner James Van Der Beek, home over the other bottom two couple, Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber, during Monday night's semifinals. The exit came after James revealed earlier in the show that his wife, Kimberly, had a miscarriage over the weekend. The two were expecting their sixth child together.

"For me, the elimination was a little bit of shock to begin with, and then tears happened," Emma told ET's Lauren Zima. "But I got more upset about this weekend and what had happened with James and James' family and what he'd gone through. I was more visually and outwardly upset at that because that's real life. There's nothing bigger than that and family means everything."

"I wish that the show could have protected him a little bit more," she continued. "Meaning, like, he went through so much this weekend. I feel like, not really the show, but I wish that the judges might have just been a little easier on him. They've got a job to do and it's not fair of me to say that, but I do wish ... I just wish I could have protected him from it, but I can't because it's just what happens."

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Emma seems to be referring to the critiques she and James received from the judges for their semifinals dances prior to elimination. For their redemption dance, a Cha Cha to Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat," the pair scored 24/30 with Len calling out Emma for her choreography, while their Foxtrot to "Take Me to Church" by Hozier received a 27/30. Still, Emma couldn't be happier to see her husband, Sasha, make his way to the finals with Ally.

"They're judging the dance and they're doing their job and I respect them," said Emma, who has been married to Sasha since last March. "But I'm very, very happy that Sasha's in the finale. It's just the outcome that had to happen. That's what happened and I just wish I could have protected [James] from it, but I can't because it's just what happens."

"Sasha's my best friend. He's in the finale. I'm so happy for him," she continued. "Honestly, it's the best when you get to go home with your best friend and he is gonna make it so much better for me. If I was by myself, I'd probably have a little pity party. But I'm not. I have my best friend and he happens to be the love of my life and he's always gonna be there for me."

In case you missed it, at the end of Monday's show, Ally asked host Tom Bergeron if she could actually give up her spot in the finals to James, a move Emma found incredibly thoughtful. "Bless her heart. She's so sweet," Emma said. "But she deserves to be there. Everybody is so close. It's a Dancing With the Stars family and I wish that no one had to get eliminated."

"It didn't surprise me at all because she's got a heart of gold ... but James would never allow that to happen. We would never take someone's spot that deserves to be at the finals," she continued. "Ally, you deserve to be there. Her and Sasha. They could go all the way. I really believe it in my heart. So, I hope people vote for them."

ET also spoke with Ally on the DWTS press line Monday night, where she opened up about what she was thinking and feeling when she offered to surrender her spot to the former Dawson's Creek star.

"I'm really sad and I just feel like it's not right that he went home and that is how I feel," she explained. "Obviously I know Sasha and I have been through hell and back on the show. We've overcome so many obstacles and we're strong people, we adore the show more than anything. I have had the time of my life on this show. But it's really tough, especially given James' circumstances that he went tonight."

"I don't believe it's fair that he was sent home, so I just wanted to give my spot to him," she added. "He's been through so much and he's overcome so many things. Especially this past week, I just felt it was right to give it to him. Obviously he didn't accept it. I talked to him and he was proud of me. He told me, 'Don't be afraid to shine.' So I'm going to take that with me and I just have to do this for him, is what I feel."

Hear more in the video below.



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