In an unusual twist for Dancing with the Stars, the show lost two of its couples on Tuesday night, one due to injury (Tom DeLay and Cheryl Burke) and one due to low scores (Debi Mazar and Maks Chmerkovskiy).
First, former congressman Tom ended his campaign to continue on the show. Although the 62-year-old politician bowed out after his two fractured feet made it impossible for him to continue with partner Cheryl, however, it didn’t mean safety for all the other couples. DWTS producers decided to eliminate the lowest scoring couple as usual, and so Entourage star Debi and her pro Maks went home.
After the show, Tom, the oldest contestant this season and the consummate Republican politician, told OK! “I’m a little disappointed but it was the right decision to make.” He jokingly compared it to the country’s recent political shift: “another conservative goes down!”
But seriously, Tom explained it was physically impossible for him to go on. “I couldn’t practice. I really didn’t want to go through another week like we just had. It’s not fair to Cheryl.”
And Cheryl added, “It’s not fair to your feet!”
Although Tom shouted “no!” to OK! during the first week when asked if his pre-stress foot fracture to his right foot, suffered in rehearsal, would hold him back, it just got worse. Last week, he stumbled badly over his feet during the tango and appeared to be wincing in pain. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba asked Tom if he was okay, and Bruno Tonioli stated the obvious when he told the politico his dance “went to pieces.” He only received a score of 18.
The pain got even worse for Tom this week, as Dr. Robert Bray diagnosed him with full fractures to both feet. Although producers and Cheryl urged him to quit, Tom bravely performed his samba and got a score of 15. Remarkably, it wasn’t the lowest score of the night, as footballer Michael Irvin got just 14.
But the ex-congressman knew Tuesday he couldn’t go on rehearsing. “Last week, at this time, I felt pretty good but when we started practicing on Wednesday, by the time we got to Saturday it was two hours of practice. Sunday we only did thirty minutes,” he sighed.
Tom said he probably won’t face surgery on his feet. “I go to the doctor tomorrow to get an MRI.” He felt the doctor would likely just tell him to “stay off your feet.”
But he won’t be idle for long. Next up for the plucky politico is a road trip! “I’m going to get in my RV with my two bijan dogs and my wife and we’re going to go towards Colorado, maybe to Aspen. I can’t do skiing but I can sit and have a glass of wine in a hot tub somewhere.”
He lost more than 20 pounds after getting in shape for DWTS since the spring and his new look has pleased his wife Christine. “She loves it,” Tom smiled.
Partner Cheryl — who praised the once-controversial congressman, saying, ”Tom isn’t the man some people think he is”—will continue to promote her clothing line and dance studios now that she’s off DWTS.
Meanwhile, Debi and Maks also said their goodbyes to the ballroom. They earned only 17 out of 30 for their Monday night samba with judge Len Goodman saying it “lacked flavor.” Debi suffered a torn muscle in her neck while doing the foxtrot in week one, and although she told OK! Monday night she’d recovered completely from the injury, voters decided her dancing hadn’t improved enough.
In other backstage news, singer Mya, high-scorer for the week with her partner Dmitry Chaplin, celebrated her 31st birthday several days early, as she received a birthday cake today from the cast to mark the upcoming Oct. 10 milestone.
“It was very good. I hogged the whole thing down — chocolate, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate chips. I almost actually caught fire today because they were trick candles [on the cake] and I leaned over with my robe and a lot of hairspray,” Mya laughed. “I’m quite clumsy.” But you wouldn’t know it from her dancing!
Aaron Carter, who has become controversial in the ballroom, as Maks blasted him for overconfidence and a tabloid reported he and partner Karina Smirnoff were romantically involved, was shown crying about his Monday night performance on the show that aired Tuesday.
The singer was disappointed by his score of 21 in the rumba and Karina was shown comforting him. Aaron and Karina skipped speaking to the print press, but OK! asked a couple of the other performers if it was okay to cry over dancing. Snowboarder Louie Vito responded, “I come from a no crying sport, so I can’t answer that.”
But pro Derek Hough, whose former DWTS partner and on-off-on-girlfriend Shannon Elizabeth also burst into tears during her season of the show, told OK!, “Should there be crying in dancing? Absolutely! Dancing and competing are very emotional. I learned a whole lot about emotions with Shannon.”
Now the remaining cast heads into week four, in which they will perform dances that have never been tried on the show. Tune in next week to see Donny Osmond and Kelly Osbourne dance the Charleston, plus lots of other fun surprises!
By Carole Glines