Dancing With the Stars

Perfect score not enough to keep Maria 'Dancing' in the finals

May 15, 2012 at 11:19 PM ET

Adam Taylor / ABC /
Derek and Maria may have delivered what the judges considered a perfect Argentine tango Monday, but viewers voted not to advance the pair.

Monday night may have been “a triumphant victory” in TV personality Maria Menounos’ opinion, but viewers apparently felt differently.

Sure, she topped the leaderboard and had the judges gushing over her “perfect” Argentine tango (which featured some posture and line issues) and 29-point jive that lacked content. But viewers weren’t as impressed and gave their votes to finalists Donald Driver, Katherine Jenkins and William Levy, thus denying Maria’s pro partner, Derek Hough, a fourth mirror ball trophy.

Was it an attempt by fans to balance the judges’ questionable scoring? Hard to say. But it was strange that head judge Len Goodman -- who has always been quick to slam performances that didn’t contain very many moves of the assigned dance -- actually pointed out that her jive lacked enough of the signature moves, but still opted to ignore the omissions. He busted out his 9 paddle while fellow judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba raised their 10s. (Perhaps Len had enjoyed a few of his "happy pills" with his fellow panelists prior to the show?)

Still, they were impressive scores, especially considering Maria apparently hadn’t nailed down her dances prior to the performance show. “We didn’t know our dances (Monday) until we got on the floor, really,” she admitted during her exit interview.

With her ouster, viewers will also be missing out on more of her infamous laugh and ear-piercing screams of excitement, not to mention the crying. Since premiere week, the TV personality has treated viewers to quite a few tears, some thanks to the stress of the competition, others due to the numerous injuries she has reportedly suffered (bruised ribs, fractured feet and a hard face plant, to name the big ones) during the season. “I learned how strong I was. I learned how to persevere,” she said after her elimination. With such serious injuries, she certainly did learn how to persist despite the pain!

Speaking of injuries, host Tom Bergeron revealed that Katherine – who was the first contestant declared safe -- will be able to continue on in the competition despite suffering a back injury during her salsa Monday night. As proof, after the opera singer learned that she would be moving on to the finals, she jumped around with abandon and later laughed that she may have retweaked her back while celebrating. Oops!

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