Dancing With the Stars

'Dancing With the Stars' judges sink Gavin in first Dance Duel

April 17, 2012 at 11:10 PM ET

Adam Taylor / ABC /
Karina Smirnoff and Gavin DeGraw danced what judge Len Goodman called a "sham-ba" on Monday. The pair was eliminated Tuesday.

It may have been the first time in the history of “Dancing With the Stars” that the judges got the final say in who was sent home, but Tuesday’s elimination was the one pretty much everyone saw coming – including the celeb who got booted.

When co-host Brooke Burke asked Gavin DeGraw if he thought he’d avoid standing under the spotlights of shame this week, the musician didn’t hide from the truth. “That would be quite an escape,” the singer said. “We’re experiencing an Alcatraz moment -- lots of water, a lot of sharks ... but I’m hoping somebody will let me into their boat.”

Unfortunately for him, no one did. And it would’ve been quite the feat to avoid the bottom two after his subpar Monday night performance. Gavin and pro partner Karina Smirnoff landed at the bottom of the leaderboard with a 19-point samba that head judge Len Goodman called a “sham-ba.”

Though no one rescued Gavin, he did have the opportunity to save himself. In a new twist introduced this week, the bottom two performers – based on the combination of the judges’ scores and viewer votes – danced the same dance at the same time to the same song. The decision of who to send home was up to the judges based on only the Dance Duel performance.

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“It’s not about your favorite couple. It’s not about who you feel sorry for. It’s about the best dances,” Len said of the tweak to show.

Joining the singer under the spotlights of shame was actor Jaleel White, who earned a respectable 24 for a samba that had the judges praising his “wiggle” on Monday. When Gavin learned who his Dance Duel opponent would be, he knew his time on the show was done.

“Jaleel is more talented than I am!” he admitted right before he faced off against his fellow contestant.

The two men had just a day to learn the duel dance – the cha-cha – which neither had done yet. And not surprisingly, Jaleel outperformed Gavin with some smooth moves and a stronger cha-cha flavor to his dance. The judges unanimously voted to save the actor.

Though Gavin won’t be leaving the competition with the coveted mirror ball trophy, he does have a prize of his own.

“My family got to have a great time,” he said of his time on the show. “We were reunited in a lot of ways … this gave us something to talk about.”

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