12:59 AM EDT 03/29/2015

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Val Chmerkovskiy

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Inside Val Chmerkovskiy's Surprise Birthday Bash | Rumer Willis, Val Chmerkovskiy

Caught in the Act

Val Chmerkovskiy's Dancing Family Throws Him a Surprise Birthday Party

Originally posted 03/25/2015 07:55PM

There's no doubt the Dancing with the Stars crew knows how to throw a party.

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Credit: ABC
Dancing with the Stars Recap: A 'Jam'-Packed Night

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars Recap: A 'Jam'-Packed Night

Originally posted 03/23/2015 11:55PM

Here's a little behind-the-scenes Dancing with the Stars scoop to start off the recap: I understand our stars learned as early as Friday when they would be dancing during "My Jam Monday."

So, for example, Prince Farming Chris Soules knew before the weekend that he'd get to kick off tonight's show while Lady Marmalade herself (a.k.a. Patti LaBelle ) was rewarded the last dance of the evening well in advance of tonight's performance.

Now put the shoe on the other foot: What could be more disheartening than knowing that you aren't strong enough to open or close the night – and realizing how your middle-of-the-show positioning brings you closer to the ol' heave-ho?

So, which dancers proved they might be worthy of prime placement next week? And what about the contestants whose so-so performance last week put them at risk of elimination? Read on for the night's highlights and to see who came close to leaving DWTS first.

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Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Which Celebrity Brought Down the House – and Attracted Big Stars? | Julianne Hough

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars Recap: Which Celebrity Brought Down the House – and Attracted Big Stars?

Originally posted 03/16/2015 11:00PM

It was a big night in the ballroom – and not just because John McClane and GI Jane were in the house! Monday's installment of Dancing with the Stars kicked off the first of what the network promised would include lots of action-packed tributes to the show's 10th anniversary.

The premiere episode didn't disappoint. There were lots of contemporary tunes ("Uptown Funk," "Take Me to Church"), plenty of showstopping choreography (Derek Hough, so glad you stuck around this season!) and even quadruple hanky moments (welcome to the ballroom, Army vet and amputee Noah Galloway!).

No 9s or 10s were awarded just yet, but a couple of celebrities sure came close to earning some high scores. Here's how the new contenders fared on night one:

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Dancing with the Stars Announces Season 20 Pros: Karina Smirnoff Out (for Now)

Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars Announces Season 20 Pros: Karina Smirnoff Out (for Now)

Originally posted 02/11/2015 09:20AM

Dancing with the Stars announced which pros will return for season 20 on Wednesday – and one who notably will not.

Last season's champion Witney Carson returns alongside fan favorite (and two-time champion) Mark Ballas. Seasoned pros and fellow mirrorball winners Tony Dovolani, Peta Murgatroyd and Kym Johnson are back in the mix. Newer pros including Val Chmerkovskiy, Sharna Burgess, Allison Holker, Emma Slater and Artem Chigvintsev were also confirmed to return.

Noticeably absent, Karina Smirnoff – a pro since season 3 and the season 12 champion – posted on Instagram Tuesday night that she would not be returning for season 20: "I've decided to focus my energies on some other exciting endeavors."

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Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
Dancing with the Stars Has a New Mirror Ball Champ! | Alfonso Ribeiro

Dancing with the Stars Finale: Alfonso Ribeiro Wins Season 19

Originally posted 11/25/2014 05:00PM

It was a year marred by painful injuries (bummer about your groin, Alfonso Ribeiro!) and awkward wardrobe malfunctions (pink boas will never mean the same again to Betsey Johnson), but the 19th season finale of Dancing with the Stars Tuesday was no less dramatic.

Ribeiro, who has said he waited 10 years for a moment like this, became the latest amateur to take home the mirror ball trophy. "I cannot believe this!" he told host Tom Bergeron. "I don't even know what to say! These are happy tears!"

"He deserves this so much," added his partner, Witney Carson. "He's one of the most hard-working people I know."

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DWTS: Who Got 10s but Still Went Home?

Dancing With the Stars

DWTS: Who Got 10s but Still Went Home?

Originally posted 11/24/2014 10:30PM

It seemed wrong to send someone home on a night when everyone got a 10 or two, but there can only be three couples in Tuesday's Dancing with the Stars finale.

Even though she was partnered with repeat winner Derek Hough, YouTube star Bethany Mota was the latest hoofer to leave the ballroom.

"I discovered things about myself, things I thought I could never do," Mota said. "I never thought I'd be this far in the competition. To be in the finals was the best thing ever."

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Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: My Goal Now Is to Win

Dancing With the Stars

Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: My Goal Now Is to Win

Originally posted 11/24/2014 10:00AM

Janel Parrish is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the TV drama Pretty Little Liars. She's been paired with pro Val Chmerkovskiy for season 19 of Dancing with the Stars, and she'll be blogging for PEOPLE about her experience on the hit ABC show.

It's honestly surreal to be going into the finals tonight. I don't know how it happened so quickly. I feel like just yesterday I was having my first rehearsal with Val! It's amazing, it's exciting, and I'm also really sad for this journey to end.

I'm kind of surprised I stuck around this long. Honestly, my goal was just to make it through each week, and now I have a new goal, which is to win. Now that it's actually here and it's in sight, I want to go all the way and I want to go all the way with Val and I want us to win.

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Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC/Getty
Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: You Pour Your Heart Out on the Dance Floor Every Week

Dancing With the Stars

Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: You Pour Your Heart Out on the Dance Floor Every Week

Originally posted 11/17/2014 07:15AM

Janel Parrish is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the TV drama Pretty Little Liars. She's been paired with pro Val Chmerkovskiy for season 19 of Dancing with the Stars, and she'll be blogging for PEOPLE about her experience on the hit ABC show.

The quickstep we performed last week was honestly one of my favorite dances we've done. I thought it was amazing. It was America's choice dance, so they chose everything down to our costumes and the song and the style, and at the end they wanted us to kiss, so we threw that in for America!

Even though Val had a little bit of a stumble during the dance, it didn’t throw us off at all. The poor thing, his patent leather shoes got stuck together, but we both just kept going and we were able to get back on track. I know Val felt really bad because of the slip, but I was like, "You're human! Sometimes humans slip. It's all good!"

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Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: Val Keeps Me Calm and We Dance On

Dancing With the Stars

Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: Val Chmerkovskiy Keeps Me Calm and We Dance On

Originally posted 11/10/2014 10:00AM

Janel Parrish is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the TV drama Pretty Little Liars. She's been paired with pro Val Chmerkovskiy for Season 19 of Dancing with the Stars, and she'll be blogging for PEOPLE about her experience on the hit ABC show.

Last week's contemporary dance definitely was my favorite dance. I thought the choreography was the most beautiful we've done so far, and I love Romeo and Juliet. I love the story behind it, and the song and just the message behind the song – that everybody's free to love who they want to love. It's an emotional song, and it allows you to express emotions through dance, so I loved every second of that.

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Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC
Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: Our Dance Tonight Will Be 'Beautiful and Romantic'

Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: Our Dance Tonight Will Be 'Beautiful and Romantic'

Originally posted 11/03/2014 07:30AM

Janel Parrish is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the TV drama Pretty Little Liars. She's been paired with pro Val Chmerkovskiy for season 19 of Dancing with the Stars, and she'll be blogging for PEOPLE about her experience on the hit ABC show.

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