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Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater ‘A Little Shocked’ by ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Scores, Address Derek Hough’s Critique (Exclusive)

After surviving the bottom two, Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater admitted they were a bit taken aback by the feedback from the judges, including Derek Hough’s remark that the contestant was thinking too much about his steps and not in the moment.

Related: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Judges Through the Years

“To be honest, yes — because I felt pretty loose,” the 44-year-old actor told Us Weekly after the Monday, October 10, episode. “I don’t know. I didn’t feel like I was heady at all, but I’m gonna take their criticism to heart and get back in it next week.”

After their Samba to “Life Is a Highway,” Hough noted that he thought the dance was “actually really good,” but Donovan’s face “took [him] out of it.”

Trevor Donovan ‘Shocked’ by ‘DWTS’ Scores, Confused by Derek's Critique
Trevor Donovan and Derek Hough. AFF-USA/Shutterstock; Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

“I can see you thinking about the steps. I want you to trust yourself — you know it, man. You got his dance, you got it. Now it’s just performing, have fun with it,” the former DWTS pro explained. “They’re just sometimes where you’re thinking about it — thinking about ‘OK, Emma wants me to do this, Emma wants me to do that.’”

Related: Dancing With the Stars’ Most Shocking Eliminations: Photos

Carrie Ann Inaba agreed: “You are not believing in yourself. You are not seeing how far you’ve come. You are not seeing what we’re seeing. Your eyes are down. And then I can see you checking in energetically with Emma and making sure you’re getting the OK.”

The duo earned a 28 out of 40 for the dance, landing in the bottom two with Sam Champion and Cheryl Burke. The judges opted to save the 90210 alum.

“I feel like we are really gonna get motivated,” Slater said. “Sometimes I think it helps people at home think, ‘Oh, gosh, I don’t want them to be in danger.’ Maybe they’ll vote a little bit more next week. And then, of course, we’re gonna take everything the judges say, particularly about being present in the moment and in the dance and we are really gonna work on that. And just do our best, put our best foot forward for next week. But it is very motivating when that happens. It’s disheartening, but at the same time you’ve got something to prove.”

Related: Biggest ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Controversies Through the Years

When asked whether they were shocked they were in the bottom two, Donovan admitted: “After our scores, not so much. … I was a little shocked with the scores, to be honest.”

“We hoped the scores would be higher,” she agreed. “But I mean it’s kind of what can you do? The judges are there for a reason and they score it and I totally respect that, and I do understand what they were talking about. And there was some constructive criticism in there. Just we wish we could have been placed higher, but that’s kind of the rules of the game. … The main thing is we’re coming back, so we’ll just keep pushing.”

Dancing With the Stars airs on Disney+ Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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