"Dancing With the Stars" pro Mark Ballas didn’t do the press line after getting booted from the ballroom alongside star Christina Milian on Monday night. The two-time mirror ball champion wasn’t planning on being ousted, and since the ejected duo leaves immediately for a New York media tour, Ballas had to go home and quickly pack some clothes.
As for his celebrity partner, Milian spoke to the media after the live broadcast about her surprise expulsion from the reality competition.
“I was shocked, for sure,” she told TODAY. “I’m not saying it should have been anybody else, but to be honest, after having a great performance you feel a bit more confident.”
Milian and Ballas indeed had excellent reasons to believe they were safe. Head judge Len Goodman gave them the first 10 of the season for their cha-cha Monday, and the duo was tied with Corbin Bleu and his partner, Karina Smirnoff, at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 28.
So why were fan votes — the lack of which sent Milian and Ballas packing — so far out of line with the scores?
Maybe last week's brouhaha, caused when guest judge Julianne Hough joked that Ballas tends to outshine his dance partners, played a role.
“Who knows?” Milian said. “I don’t want to blame it on her, (but) she is very present. She has a presence and is very likable.”
Milian's cha-cha kicked off with a series of solo moves that, as it turns out, were in direct response to Hough's remark.
“Yes, that was on purpose, absolutely,” Milian confirmed to TODAY. “Mark said, ‘Okay, if she thinks I overshadow you, we’re going to have a whole intro with you dancing.’"
“Mark and Julianne go way back,” noted pro Cheryl Burke. “I thought (her remark) was kind of harsh, but they grew up together and are really close. Maybe it was an inside joke?”
But the joke, if it was one, is now behind them. Milian is now focused on her gratitude to Ballas.
“I told him he did such a great job and (our being voted off) has nothing to do with (him)," she said. "I wish I could be here longer, but I have no regrets.”
But she does have that sense of shock — over that unexpected ouster. Even Leah Remini, who was in jeopardy before Milian got the ballroom boot, was surprised.
“I thought, ‘Wow, the show must be fixed,’” the comedic actress deadpanned.
But when a another reporter asked Milian if she thought that was a possibility, she was quick to shoot it down.
"I don’t think it’s rigged at all," she insisted.