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Toni Braxton takes her final ‘Dancing’ bow

Susan Lucci joined the R&B singer in the bottom two on Tuesday night, but it looks like the "All My Children" fans came through for Erica Kane.
/ Source: contributor

The breakthrough that never happened: Before hitting the dance floor with a West Coast swing that left something to be desired, R&B singer Toni Braxton admitted she was still waiting for the big routine that would break her out of her rut.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba assured Toni that breakthrough was just around the corner, but if it is, it won’t be on “Dancing With the Stars.” Lacking the viewer votes to stay in the game, Toni took her final bow Tuesday night.

Still, she waltzes away from the competition with more than most can boast. Toni credits the grueling rehearsals and difficult dances with whipping her into shape and improving a chronic heart condition that’s prevented her from taking the Las Vegas stage since April of this year.

Top of the heap: “Hannah Montana” star Cody Linley was the main man behind what was arguably the best dance Monday night. Sure, the night’s top score went to the usual suspect, Brooke Burke, but the teen actor’s jitterbug not only had the crowd out of their seats, it was also good enough to score the encore spot during the results show.

In an arm-flailing, kick-filled routine, choreographed to perfection by Julianne Hough, Cody proved what a difference five weeks makes. The new and improved dancer doesn’t even look like the same guy who couldn’t find the rhythm in his week-one cha-cha-cha.

Reversal of fortune: The judges typically direct their criticisms to the novice on the dance floor, but not so for one professional hoofer who got an earful from Len Goodman and the gang.

Lacey Schwimmer, who just so happens to be a world-class West Coast swing champ, found herself on the wrong side of the officials when her lopsided choreography left a slightly fumble-footed Lance Bass with little do.

“It’s ‘Dancing With the Stars,’” judge Bruno Tonioli reminded the freshman pro, “not ‘Dancing Around the Stars.’”

Ridiculous rehearsal moment: This week’s eye roll-worthy rehearsal segment didn’t come in the form of one of those “Hey, let’s go to Disneyland, so you can learn the youthful quality of the jive” setups. Instead it came in the form of an uncharacteristically grumpy Cheryl Burke.

Struggling to teach retired sprinter Maurice Greene the finer points of the salsa proved a little much for the two-time “Dancing” champ, who turned to berating her charge rather than inspiring him.

“I want to you get frustrated as I am,” Cheryl said before adding a parting punch. “I think you’re lazy and you don’t care.”

Props go to the calm and collected Maurice, who took the insults and the “two frustrated heads are better than one” advice in stride.

Quote of the week: The usually staid and raunch-free head judge Len Goodman offered up some racy words of wisdom to inspire daytime diva Susan Lucci.

“Get your blooming knickers off and spin around!”

Ree Hines is a writer in Tampa