The teen actor takes his final bow: “Hannah Montana” star Cody Linley won’t be among the three finalists facing off in next week’s “Dancing with the Stars” finale. After landing in last place with the judges for the third week in a row, and failing to rally enough viewer votes to keep him in the competition, the teen hung up his dancing shoes Tuesday night.
Cody took the predictable elimination in stride, thanking his fans and referring to his time on the show as a “growing, learning journey.”
‘Dancing’s dark horse: Typically, by the time the semifinals roll around, one or two dancers stand out as finale favorites. This season, it seemed like the only thing standing between Brooke Burke and that shining mirrorball trophy was the always hot-on-her-heels Warren Sapp. That’s what made Monday night’s come-from-behind, leaderboard-topping performance from Lance Bass such a shocker.
Lance stole the show, as he took on the role of the mambo king for his first dance, displaying more finesse and fine footwork in a single routine than he had over the last nine weeks. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called it a showstopper, but little did she, or anyone else, know his best was still to come.
With the help of some remarkable choreography from his pro partner, Lacey Schwimmer, Lance jitterbugged to near-perfection. Better still, thanks to a wardrobe malfunction, he did it with only one shoe. By the end of the night, the boybander walked away with his highest scores yet and a two-dance total of 57 out of 60 — including his first ever (and second and third) 10.
An unexpected dud: As for the usual lady of the leaderboard, performance night wasn’t nearly so successful. Brooke struggled through her first routine in a jive riddled with timing and footwork flaws.
In her salsa, Brooke managed to turn it around, but she still trailed Lance by eight points in her toughest night yet.
Old school: Head judge Len Goodman’s superfluous effort to teach the celebrities a little something more before the semifinal, otherwise known as his annual Master Class, fell flat once again this season. The senior official tried to instruct Cody on the finer points of hip rolls, give Brooke some leggy advice and de-pigeon Lance’s toes to no avail. The only progress came from his time with Warren.
At the end of the session, the retired defensive tackle still hadn’t mastered the foot-flick, but suddenly the student became the master when Warren schooled Len in the art of his end zone-worthy solo moves.
Say what, Samantha?: After Cody received a matching set of 8s for his second dance of the night, a so-so salsa, co-host Samantha Harris joined him in a round of dueling digits.
Samantha: A 24 — very nice.
Cody: Yes. Combined total of 46. I can deal with this.
Samantha (to the camera): His math is very good. And that’s out of 60, too! Eh, 60, as well, not 62.
Ree Hines is a frequent contributor to Msnbc.com