NBA player Ron Artest — or should we say Metta World Peace? — was the first contestant booted off season 13 of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Artest and TV host Nancy Grace had both been in jeopardy of leaving tonight.
Artest smiled, hugged his dance partner – rookie pro Peta Murgatroyd – and shouted, “Yeah! Yeah!”
“Peta was great,” he said, asking for a round of applause for her. “I had a great time.”
Tonight’s elimination followed last night’s season premiere, during which Artest (who has legally changed his to Metta World Peace) was the low scorer in a field of 12 celebrity competitors and their professional partners.
His cha-cha failed to impress judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. The three gave their usual frank assessment of Artest’s star turn on the dance floor.
Inaba thought it was “eccentric yet kind of sexy,” technically wrong but fun. She gave it a 5 out of 10. Goodman complained it was just “shimmying about” with “all sizzle and no sausage.” Not his cup of tea. He gave it a 4. And Tonioli told Artest he had power and performance value but needed to work on his technique. He gave Artest a 5, for a total score of 14 out of a possible 30.
Artest, who was once known for his fiery temper before changing his ways, said he was OK with the score, but acknowledged afterwards to the show’s cameras: “That four was harsh.”‘
Artest and Murgatroyd appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Tuesday night after the elimination. In great spirits they spoke of their experience on the show and their early elimination.
“I was just expecting the judges to see the effort and the entertainment,” Artest told Kimmel. He then praised Murgatroyd’s work on the show, apologizing to her and saying “Wasn’t she amazing?” to audience applause.
Pointing to his toes, Artest blamed them for his less-than-stellar performance.
“This toe doesn’t work, this one does,” he said, telling Kimmel he wanted to tell the judge: “toes not working! But still I’m good, I’m good!”
Kimmel joked with Artest that if he were able to tell people to “Vote for World Peace,” he would have won.
Artest and Murgatroyd will appear live on “Good Morning America” Wednesday.
Competition in the hit ABC show continues Monday with the 11 remaining celebrities: Actress and former TV talk show host Ricki Lake, actor David Arquette, author and activist Chaz Bono, model and actress Elisabetta Canalis, TV star Kristin Cavallari , Grace, reality TV personality Rob Kardashian, fashion guru Carson Kressley, Iraq war veteran actor J.R. Martinez, singer Chynna Phillips and women’s soccer World Cup star Hope Solo.