March 26, 2013 at 10:47 PM ET
It was a teary night on the first elimination show of “Dancing With the Stars” season 16, but not because someone was booted from the competition. Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill bowed out of the ballroom bash in the final minutes despite being safe after viewer votes and the judges’ scores were combined earlier in the evening.
As Victor Ortiz and Lisa Vanderpump stood under the spotlights of shame with the lowest combined scores, host Tom Bergeron brought the figure-skating champ and pro partner Tristan MacManus back to the ballroom to make their announcement.
“I’ve taken the advice of my spine surgeon, and I need to withdraw from the competition,” Dorothy said sadly. “I have an injury that could be irreparable, and nerve damage. It would be completely unfair for me to stay in this and have any of these people go home. … These are the most amazing people who want to be here. It’s not that I don’t want to be here, but I wish I could give it my all, but I can’t.”
On Monday’s performance show, it was clear that Dorothy was in pain as she performed a flaw-filled jive (in flats instead of heels) that earned only 15 points. The performance landed her at the bottom of the scoreboard for the week. Rehearsal footage showed the athlete discussing the cause of her trouble: a cyst and accompanying nerve pain.
“It’s a decision that has to be made,” Tristan said matter-of-factly about withdrawing from the competition. “I’m certainly not frustrated at her, I’m frustrated with her. … There’s something a lot bigger going on than this competition, as great as it is.”
As the audience and hopefuls in the ballroom wiped away tears, Tom announced, “A couple who would’ve gone home tonight gets a one-week reprieve.”
That’s certainly good news for Victor and Lisa, who didn’t shine in the first two weeks of the competition. Both received a score of 18 for each of their two dances.
Comedians D.L. Hughley and Andy Dick received even better news. After getting slammed by the judges last week (which Carrie Ann Inaba admitted to Monday), it was announced early in the show that D.L. was safe even after getting a matching set of 4s in week one. When he got the news, he dropped to the floor in astonishment, and pro partner Cheryl Burke lost control and yelled, “WHAT?!?!!”
Andy was put through the wringer a bit first. Despite showing incredible improvement and showmanship in week two, he still found himself in jeopardy for a brief moment.
Next week, the show is holding its very own prom night, with Tom teasing baby blue tuxedos and photos of the stars at their first dances.
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