Actress Valerie Harper was eliminated from “Dancing With the Stars” tonight.
Harper, who starred in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoff, “Rhoda,” announced early this year that she was battling terminal brain cancer.
Tonight she said it had been “absolutely wonderful” to be on the show.
“It was an opportunity for me to carry a message,” that people, no matter what adversity they’re facing, should keep trying, she said.
Her pro partner, Tristan MacManus, said his life was better for having known Harper.
Based on their performances last week, Harper and reality TV star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi were both in the bottom two, putting them in jeopardy of being eliminated.
Elimination is decided based on combined judges’ and viewer votes. The audience votes from last week and tonight were combined with the judges’ scores from tonight’s performance, and the star with the lowest total was sent home.
Before the eliminations were announced, the entire cast had to dance new routines, for which one couple will be eliminated next week.
Former “Dancing” pro and two-time champion Julianne Hough was a guest judge on the show tonight. Filling in for head judge Len Goodman, who was away, Hough sat alongside longtime judges, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
Jack Osbourne: The TV personality’s cha-cha won him solid reviews from the three judges. Hough felt his turn tonight was a marked improvement over his performance last week. “Ballroom is definitely your strong suit,” she said, but added that he appeared so focused on getting his routine right that he didn’t seem to be enjoying it. Tonioli commended Osbourne on executing his tricky footwork well, but said he needed to be careful in the future to hold his frame. Inaba felt Osbourne’s routine represented a big improvement over his performance last week. Judges awarded Osbourne 24 points.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren: The actress’s Argentine tango won her rave reviews from the judges. “You’ve done it, you bewitching fantasy creature … you did it! Be proud of yourself,” Tonioli enthused. Inaba said Lauren was, “from day one, the most elegant,” and she praised the actress’s interpretation of the routine’s story. “It was so powerful. Every moment had meaning,” she said. Hough said she “got chills” when Lauren started dancing, and commended Lauren’s pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, on his choreography. Lauren earned 27 points.
Brant Daugherty: All three judges felt the actor’s enthusiastic salsa was lacking. Inaba told him that when he took off his shirt, it revealed the flaws in his technique. “I think you needed to work a little bit more on the salsa moves; on the arms, sometimes when they should have been in opposition they were going the same a little bit,” she said. Hough said she felt the performance was “a little bit loosey goosey for me,” and that Daugherty’s footwork was sloppy. Tonioli agreed with his fellow judges, but acknowledged that Daugherty put in an entertaining performance. The actor earned 21 points.
Valerie Harper: Harper started out well in her Viennese waltz but missed some of the steps as the performance progressed. Hough said Harper started out with elegant, beautiful lines, but added that she seemed like she wasn’t sure where she was going when she wasn’t dancing close to MacManus. Inaba agreed, saying that the moments of great beauty made the mistakes stand out all the more. Tonioli agreed with the two women, but offered Harper some advice: “You know, if you go wrong, cover it up darling,” he said. “Act it. Let him do the work and just look gorgeous. Don’t show the mistakes … just act over it, just let him do the work, my darling.” Harper earned 18 points.
Leah Remini: The actress’s cha-cha had attitude but her moves failed to live up to that promise, judges said. Tonioli told her it was important that she stretch her legs more, and Inaba said her movements needed to be stronger to match her expressions. Hough agreed, saying she felt that there was “a little bit of a disconnect” between the attitude and the body. Remini earned 24 points.
Corbin Bleu: The actor’s dramatic paso doble earned him a sustained standing ovation from the ballroom audience. Although Inaba loved the smoldering intensity and called his movements “absolutely stunning,” she said his arm movements conveyed a hip-hop feel that was out of place. Hough agreed that the performance was powerful, but she said Bleu’s hips were set too far back. Tonioli agreed with her. Bleu earned 27 points.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: Judges commended Polizzi for her bubbly jive, but Hough told the reality TV star that she needed to have sharper kicks and connect more with her pro partner, Sasha Farber. Tonioli said Polizzi’s performance level had “grown beyond recognition.” While he acknowledged that her technique was more reminiscent of a lindy hop than a jive, he added: “Who cares? I thought it was brilliant.” Inaba said Polizzi had lots of energy but said her knees were at times “a little crazy,” adding that she had “T-Rex arms in the beginning, but they went away quickly.” Polizzi earned 24 points.
Christina Milian: The singer’s foxtrot earned her both praise and criticism from judges. Tonioli said the routine was sultry and nontraditional, but said Milian needed to work more on her control. Inaba said Milian should work on her shoulders more, and Hough said the performance felt as though two people were dancing side by side, rather than like a couple doing a routine. She also said she wanted to see a softer side of the singer. Judges awarded Milian 24 points.
Amber Riley: Riley’s intense tango earned her glowing praise from the judges. “There is no beating about the bush here. That was pure, unmistakably classic, amazing tango. You’re a magnificent dancer,” Tonioli said. Inaba said Riley was in fine form and commended her connection with her pro partner, Derek Hough, who is Julianne Hough’s brother. Julianne Hough also approved of the routine, telling Riley that she was “wonderful.” Judges awarded Riley 27 points.
Bill Engvall: For all its flaws, the comedian’s quirky samba won the hearts of the audience and the judges. “I thought I was going to wet myself, I really did,” Tonioli said. “It had everything you can wish for in a samba, except timing and rhythm.” Inaba told Engvall he was fun to watch. “I’m not sure what kind a samba that was, but it was really really entertaining,” she said. Hough told Engvall she believed he was the heart of the show. Engvall earned 21 points.