Pop Culture

'Dancing With the Stars' eliminates two former champions

Adam Taylor / ABC / Today
Former champs Helio Castroneves (with partner Chelsie Hightower) and Drew Lachey (with Anna Trebunskaya) were eliminated on Tuesday.

There can be only one winner each season on “Dancing With the Stars,” and with the all-stars competing for a second shot at mirror ball glory, it was inevitable that the mighty would fall.

So on Tuesday night, the ballroom bash bid farewell to not one but two former champs. Season two victor Drew Lachey and season five’s top dog Helio Castroneves had the lowest combined totals of judges’ scores and fan votes in this third week of the competition.

The eliminations weren’t entirely surprising. Both men had previously been in the bottom two, with the 98 Degrees boy-bander barely escaping elimination in week one, and the race-car driver squeaking by last week. On Monday, head judge Len Goodman said Drew’s cha-cha was “overall terrific,” and Carrie Ann Inaba described it as “tight and precise.” As for Helio’s quickstep, Bruno Tonioli thought it was “brilliant” despite the star’s slip after stepping on partner Chelsie Hightower’s dress, and Len said, “This dance deserves to be back next week. It was so good.”

With 24 and 25.5 points respectively, neither man was close to the top of the leaderboard. In fact, Drew tied with Kirstie Alley – who also stood under the spotlights of shame this week -- for second-to-last place. (Bristol Palin took her usual spot at the bottom of the leaderboard with 22.5 points.) Sabrina Bryan also found herself in jeopardy after delivering a subpar reinterpretation of Mel B. and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s season five paso doble.

Though Drew seemed to have trouble drumming up the same support he had in season two, he doesn’t regret a thing and seemed to suspect his ouster was coming. After Monday's show, he griped to the cameras, “Still don't understand the judges' scoring. Still don't! And I guess I never will.”

“It’s going to be tough regardless of who went home tonight,” he said after getting the pink slip. “But I can honestly say I would not change a thing. I came back because this is fun. I had an amazing partner.”

Helio remained his usual chipper self after getting his bad news. “I want to thank Team Penske and Indy Racing League as well for letting me do this,” he said. “I want to thank as well my family, Chelsie, and I want to thank America! You guys vote for me, I couldn’t be happier.  Thank you!”

Chelsie kept the upbeat attitude going with her farewell words: “It was so fun! We had such a blast. He was such a fun partner to be with -- always such a joy, always such an amazing attitude. And he really really wanted it! He loved every minute of it. And it makes your job so much more enjoyable when you’re with someone who truly enjoys it, and he’s the epitome of that.”

Next week, things get a bit tricky for the surviving celebs. On Tuesday night’s show, they picked out the dances that their competitors will have to do next week – and these are dances not seen often on “DWTS”:

  • Gilles and Peta will be performing Bollywood
  • Sabrina and Louis will be performing disco
  • Shawn and Derek will be performing the mambo
  • Emmitt and Cheryl will be performing the bolero
  • Apolo and Karina will be performing hip-hop
  • Melissa and Tony will be performing the jitterbug
  • Kelly and Val will be performing contemporary
  • Kirstie and Maks will be performing the Charleston
  • Bristol and Mark will be performing rock ‘n’ roll

Based on the reaction of the stars when they heard their assignments, fans of Kirstie and Maks may want to find some extra phones to vote for the pair. When the actress heard she’d been assigned the Charleston, she dropped to the floor while Maks turned around and hung his head in defeat. Why? The dance is rather lively, something the … umm … more mature actress may worry about having the stamina to perform well. Then again, she’s pulled off some amazing moves before, and as Carrie Ann has already pointed out about this competition, age is just a number!

Were you surprised that two former champs got the boot? Who do you think got the toughest dance for next week? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!


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