“Dancing With the Stars” fan favorite Sherri Shepherd, who was sent home Tuesday night in the most-shocking elimination of the season, called the experience an “amazing adventure” and urged her fans to take risks and keep challenging themselves.
“If you don’t go towards the thing you fear, you won’t be able to say you lived. Even if you fail, I got voted off, I wanted the ride to continue, but I got to say, I did it,” Shepherd said today on “Good Morning America.” “The thing that you fear in your stomach … run towards it. I absolutely believe that.”
“The View” co-host, who had been a long-time fan of the ABC show and campaigned to be a contestant on season 14, said you can’t really understand “Dancing With the Stars” until you experience it yourself.
“It pushes you mentally and physically and it is a life-changing experience, I have to say,” Sheppard said. “So I have to say thank you. … I’m so grateful to God for the ride I got to take, the friendships I got to make, the people I get to keep in touch with.”
Shepherd had earned 21 points – the second-lowest score of the night – for her tango on Monday. Judges told her it wasn’t sharp enough and lacked her usual spark.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower were the other couple in danger of elimination, despite earning the second-highest scores on Monday night’s show.
Elimination in the competition results from a combination of judges’ scores and audience votes. The couple with lowest combined total goes home.
For Shepherd, who traveled back and forth from Los Angeles to New York to keep up with “The View” throughout the competition, all of the travel on top of the grueling rehearsal schedule was worth it.
“I’m a mother. Mothers multi-task. We’re used to doing more than one thing at once, so … I was in that mother mode,” she said about juggling it all during her four-week “Dancing” stint. “It wasn’t work to me. I loved ‘Dancing,’ that whole process, I love ‘The View,’ so when you’re living the dream, it’s not work.”
Partner Val Chmerkovskiy joked that their elimination was part of a larger ABC “conspiracy.”
“I think it’s a conspiracy,” Chmerkovskiy said on “GMA.” “I think Barbara Walters put in a call because she wanted Sherri back on the show.”
Chmerkovskiy praised Shepherd’s work ethic, charisma and enthusiasm.
“She was the best student, partner, companion, friend I could have asked for on the show,” he said. “I was very lucky … She took a risk having me as a partner….I wish she got to enjoy it a little longer, but I did my best, whole heartedly, I really wanted the best for her.”
Shepherd later took Chmerkovskiy back with her to “The View,” where they also dished on their early exit. Shepherd’s co-hosts praised her performance, called her a “good sport” and Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar joked that now, they’d officially never be contestants.
“We are very happy to have you home. Upset that this is what they chose to do when there were clearly many people who could have and should have gone home,” Goldberg said.
Tuesday night’s hour-long results show featured a live performance by the rock band Kiss and from the cast of “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas.”
As the show progressed, Gladys Knight – who had the lowest score coming out of Monday’s performance show, and Gavin DeGraw, who has been in jeopardy of going home several times this season – were both declared safe from elimination.
Shepherd was hopeful she would make it through to next week, promising to come back with a “new dance, new attitude,” but she wasn’t given that chance.
“I just want to say thank you for letting me live a dream I’ve always had,” she said Tuesday night, right after she learned her fate.
Returning next week to perform are DeGraw, Fegan, “Extra” co-host Maria Menounos, NFL player Donald Driver, opera singer Katherine Jenkins, Knight, telenovela star William Levy and “Family Matters” star Jaleel White.
Actress Melissa Gilbert, who suffered a concussion during Monday night’s performance, will also return to compete next week.
Tennis star Martina Navratilova and actor Jack Wagner have already been booted from the show.