The judge couldn't help but express her disappointment over Ally Brooke and Kate Flannery being put up against each other in the bottom two, despite Sean Spicer's continued low scores. While she saved Brooke from elimination (Flannery was sent home), Inaba revealed she was "irritated" by being put in the position of having to choose between two constantly improving dancers.
"It's disappointing to see people go home like this week after week, and Sean is staying in, but it's always been a partnership between the judges and the people. That is what Dancing with the Stars is. I can't get too mad, but yeah, I'm a little frustrated," Inaba told ET's Keltie Knight after Monday's episode. "I'm a lot frustrated."
Fellow judge Bruno Tonioli chimed in, speculating that perhaps voters think there's more weight on judges' scores than there actually is. "Listen, we are giving a guideline based on our scores, and I think people assume that because you're on the top of the leaderboard, you are safe. And it doesn't work like that. You really have to vote with your brain as well as your heart," he said. "No one is safe. You really have to vote sensibly!"
Inaba called out viewers who may use their votes to "spite" the judges. "What I want to say about this is, there are people who are working their butts off, and we've gotten so many complaints in the past seasons about not the best dancer winning," she said, seemingly referring to the controversy over Bobby Bones winning last season. "So, these people who are voting just to spite us or whatever reasons they're having in their heart -- listen, I respect you, but how about having a little respect for the people who are working their butts off dancing?"
"This is a dancing competition. It's nothing else. It's supposed to be about the best dancer. Put it where it counts!" she exclaimed.
"The biggest disappointment is there's so many really good dancers gone," Len Goodman told ET. "You know, from week three or something when Sailor [Brinkley-Cook] went, and on and on, yeah, I don't like it. It's a bad vibe, but it's the show, that's how it goes. We say what we think, the viewers give their opinions and que sera sera, what will be will be."
Spicer's partner for the night, Jenna Johnson (Lindsay Arnold was out after a family tragedy), appeared visibly shocked by their safety. "I was not expecing them to say our name first," she explained to ET after the show, but noted she was "super proud" of the former White House staffer.
"Honestly, [I feel] humbled," Spicer revealed. "I mean, I know what my scores were. I know how well the rest of the cast did, and to know that that many people outweighed that vote, it just means a ton. You stop and think once in a while, on a Monday night when everything else in the world in going on, you're making lunch for the kids, getting work done for the next day, whatever it is, and you stop and text and vote online for me on a show, it really means a lot."
Spicer added that he's thought about whether he'd voluntarily step out of the competition "a couple of times" out of respect for other celebs' dance ability. To him, it would be "disrespectful" to those at home voting.
"It's disrespectful to the people who are voting," he expressed. "It would be disrespectful to say, 'I'm going to walk away from you.'"
Flannery, on her part, remained positive about her experience after her elimination. "The thing I'm bummed the most about is I'm missing two weeks of dancing with this guy," she said alongside her partner, Pasha Pashkov. "I'm going to be back for the finale, so really, in the grand scheme of things, it's been eight really amazing weeks with the best dancer in the country, so I mean, how can I complain?"
"It's been a joy and it's been baffling, exhausting, wonderful, insane. I mean, the fans have been incredible, the crew has been incredible, everything about this has been really spectacular," she added.
As for the controversy over Spicer staying the competition, Flannery said, "We came and did our best. This show, it's slightly baffling from time to time, and people vote. All we can do is dance."
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more in the video below.