“I felt great about our performance but I was a little disappointed in our scores,” DiMarco told PEOPLE after his performance with partner Peta Murgatroyd on Monday.
After last week’s standout performance, the deaf America’s Next Top Model star said he was aware he would be on everyone’s radar this week.
“I knew that a lot of the competitors were looking at me as somebody getting the sympathy card, and I made them realize I’m actually a dancer,” he said during a rehearsal segment.
He also got a visit from his mom during training, and said that she taught him he “could do anything.”
“My mom was thrilled to be here,” DiMarco told PEOPLE after the show. “It’s so amazing to see that support from my family. They know I’ve never danced before, but they’ve encouraged me every day.”
Despite roaring approval from the crowd, the judges picked apart his performance, with Len Goodman remarking, “You’ve got to calm it down. Less is more,” and Carrie Ann Inaba calling it “stunning” but saying he “lacked was a connection to the musicality.”
Quibbles aside, the judges awarded him a solid 20 out of 30, enough to get him easily to the next round.
Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky – and the first couple was sent home.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Monday’s DWTS.
Ultimately, Rivera was the first to go – despite his creative take on Donald Trump. The TV journalist praised his partner in his farewell remarks.
“It’s obvious that dancing is not in my future,” Rivera told PEOPLE after the show. “It wasn’t in my past either. My biggest regret is that Edyta won’t be center stage the rest of the season. She deserved a better partner than me. That said, if I hadn’t gone home tonight, I would have demanded a recount.”
The rest of the night provided plenty of other memorable moments – read on for the highlights.
Wanya Morris Wows
Forget Boyz II Men! Wanya Morris is “king of the ballroom,” gushed Inaba.
The crooner has already lost weight thanks to his DWTS regimen, and the judges agree he’s got all the right moves.
“I’m having the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” Morris told PEOPLE. “I just go out there and have a blast.”
Mischa Barton Gets Emotional
Mark Ballas Sits Out … But Paige VanZant Still Shines
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.