Is “Dancing With the Stars” a dancing contest or a popularity contest?
Reality star Kristin Cavallari is asking that very question after being booted from the show Tuesday night in a shocking elimination that left the audience booing.
“Who knows what really happened,” Cavallari said today on “Good Morning America,” alongside her professional partner Mark Ballas. “Maybe my most memorable year just wasn’t that great compared to some of the other stories.”
The samba performed on Monday night’s show by Cavallari, 24, and Ballas earned the duo 24 out of a total of 30 points, putting the couple squarely in the middle of the pack of Week 3′s 10 remaining celebrities.
Yet the couple was still voted off, victims, Cavallari, former star of reality shows “The Hills” and “Laguna Beach,” believes of fan emotion overcoming dance technique.
Monday night’s episode called for each celebrity to perform a dance that evoked the most memorable year of their lives.
Cavallari and Ballas received praise from the show’s three judges, and a standing ovation from the studio audience, after a high-energy samba to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” that, the reality star said on Monday’s show, recalled the year when she graduated from high school and decided to pursue an entertainment career.
Also showcased that night, however, were highly emotional and highly personal performances from Cavallari’s competitors like U.S. war veteran-turned-actor J.R. Martinez, who performed a rumba dedicated to those who lost their lives during military service, and Carson Kressley, whose tango, he said, was about his struggles growing up gay.
“It’s hard to compete with some of the stories that people had,” Cavallari said today on “GMA.” “We’re upset. It’s sad to be leaving.”
Ballas agreed with his dance partner’s post-elimination analysis, but said that’s what makes the show what it is.
“It really did come down to the viewer vote,” he said. “At the end of the day that’s the beauty about the show, that the audience gets to pick who they want to go through.”
He had no qualms, however, about placing some of the blame for the couple’s early exit on “DWTS’s” three judges, Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
“I felt like we got a little low-balled this week,” he said of the couple’s Monday night score. “I thought that Kristin could have popped a couple of 9s.”
He also brushed off pointed criticism from the panel that he had broken rules during the couple’s dance on Monday.
“At the end of the day, it’s just Len,” he said on “GMA,” referring to the judge who hit Ballas the hardest. “I try to bend things slightly. I don’t want anyone to watch our routines and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that before.’”
Cavallari and Ballas’ appearance on “GMA” gave the couple one final shot to give Len a taste of his own medicine, by judging a clip of the “DWTS” judge dancing the Twist to Chubby Checker’s live performance on Tuesday’s show.
“The twist isn’t really my cup of tea, so I’m going to give him an 8,” Ballas said.
“And I’m going to give him a 7, just because I can,” Cavallari added.