Hope Solo was forced to hang up her dancing shoes tonight after being voted off “Dancing With the Stars” in the week 9 semifinals, leaving Ricki Lake, J.R. Martinez and Rob Kardashian to battle it out in next week’s finals.
Solo has struggled in the competition, frequently landing near the bottom of the leaderboard and finding herself in jeopardy of elimination. Judges have often told her that her dancing lacked fluidity and grace, and after last night’s three dances, she was in fourth place with a total of 49 points.
Solo and Martinez were in the bottom two tonight.
“This competition is one of the toughest competitions I’ve ever been a part of … instead of winning the mirror ball trophy, I’m going to try to win a few gold medals this summer,” the soccer player said, thanking her friends, family, fans and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
He in turn thanked her, saying: “I’m sorry I couldn’t have been better for you, but it is what it is.”
See Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy tomorrow on “Good Morning America.”
Solo and Chmerkovskiy have made waves on the show, and not just for their dancing. Following an unflattering critique of his partner earlier in the season, Chmerkovskiy was roundly criticized for suggesting that popular head judge Len Goodman “get out” of the business.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba reprimanded Chmerkovskiy for the remark, and also seemed poised to chide him again last night, when, during her critique of Solo’s performance, she spotted what she may have thought was a sarcastic smile.
“You can smile like that Maks, it’s fine,” Inaba said. Chmerkovskiy seemed taken aback, but replied: “It has nothing to do with me.”
But tonight, in backstage video following yesterday’s performance, the viewing audience for the first time was able to see a defiant Solo off the ballroom floor. Reacting to the critique, the World Cup soccer star said she was proud of her performance, and used the f-word to express her displeasure with the less than stellar reviews.
Asked last night about Inaba’s comment to him on dance floor, Entertainment Weekly reported that Chmerkovskiy replied — in what was believed to be a joking tone — ”F— Carrie Ann. Next question.”
He added that he believed Inaba “had an issue.”
EW also reported that Solo said judges “wanted to get us off (the show) since day one.”
Tonight’s episode featured a performance by Cobra Starship and appearances by the Muppets.
Lake, the actress and former TV talk show host and actor and Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez, have consistently been at or near the top of the scoreboard throughout the competition, but Kardashian — the reality TV personality whose progress has stunned the judges and viewers — is being viewed as real contender for the coveted mirror ball trophy.
Cheers erupted on the ballroom dance floor tonight when co-host Tom Bergeron revealed that Kardashian had made it to the finals.
The competition’s season 13 has seen dance floor departures from TV legal analyst Nancy Grace, actor David Arquette, activist Chaz Bono, fashion guru Carson Kressley, singer Chynna Phillips, reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, Italian model Elisabetta Canalis and NBA star Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest).