‘Dancing With the Stars’: Danica McKellar Voted Off in Week 8

By Suzan Clarke

May 5, 2014 10:22pm

Actress Danica McKellar was voted off “Dancing With the Stars” last night during a show in which the stars performed an individual routine, plus a second dance with a competing couple.

There were some boos from the ballroom audience when McKellar’s fate was announced, but she took it with grace.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” she said of the experience.

“I’ve had the best time ever and I didn’t want to see any of them eliminated,” she said, referring to her fellow competitors, “so I guess it worked out.”

McKellar appeared on “Good Morning America” this morning to discuss her elimination.

“You never know when you’re going to get eliminated,” she said. “So you just have to live in the moment. It’s a good life lesson, actually.”

Her pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, said she was a great person “who worked really hard,” and she thanked him for everything he did for her.

“You’ve taught me so much,” she said.

McKellar and actor James Maslow had both faced elimination last night.

The star with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewer votes from the previous week’s performance is generally voted off.

Reality TV star NeNe Leakes was voted off last week.

Last night’s guest judge was Abby Lee Miller, the star of the reality TV show “Dance Moms.”

Chmerkovskiy clashed with Lee Miller, saying about her on “GMA” this morning, “She was there and so were the props in the back.”

McKellar summed up the experience by saying, “This has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I write math books to inspire girls in math, and one thing I tell them is challenge yourself. Do something that scares you everyday. That’s what Eleanor Roosevelt said.”

This was the eighth week of the ABC show’s 18th season. Last night’s show opened with a song performed live by “Dancing” pro Mark Ballas.

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Tonight’s Routines

Individual Dances

Charlie White: The Olympian ice dancer’s quickstep earned him a perfect score. Bruno Tonioli said White was “off the starting block like a thoroughbred at the Kentucky Derby,” calling the touch of Argentine tango “absolutely delicious.” Carrie Ann Inaba said she knew White had struggled to find his stride, and said he “went a step beyond” tonight. Abby Lee Miller pointed out a small flaw with White’s footwork but said he had “impeccable musicality.” Head judge Len Goodman referenced White’s stated desire last week to earn a 10. “Well last week Charlie, I told you to get a 10 you’ve got to do something special, and to be honest with you I’m still working it out whether this was special enough but I’ll let you know later,” he said with a smile. Goodman gave White a 10, as did all the other judges, for a perfect score of 40 points.

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Danica McKellar: Dancing with an injured rib, the star of “The Wonder Years” earned rave reviews for her dark tango. “I loved it, I thought it was great,” Miller said. Tonioli called the routine McKellar’s “most majestic and powerful performance,” adding that he’d be “devastated” if she were voted off tonight. Inaba said McKellar performed “incredibly difficult choreography” with artistry, and while Goodman said the routine may have taken a while to get started, once it did “it was terrific.” McKellar earned two 10s and two 9s for a total of 38 points.

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Meryl Davis: The Olympic ice dancer’s passionate rumba drew mixed reviews. Inaba commended the chemistry between Davis and her pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, but she said she would have preferred to see more rumba content, rather than contemporary moves. Goodman agreed, but said the mood and feel of the routine were fantastic. “Listen, I could watch it again,” he said. Tonioli, too, loved it. “It was like watching a play without words. It was inspired. It was unconventional. It was different, and I loved it,” he said. Miller said Davis needed to watch how she held her feet. When co-host Erin Andrews asked Chmerkovskiy how he felt about Miller’s feedback, he replied: “I really don’t care for anything she has to say.” His comment drew gasps from the audience. Davis earned a 10, two 9s and an 8 for a total of 36 points.

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Candace Cameron Bure: The “Full House” actress’s earned universal kudos for her foxtrot. Inaba pointed out tiny flaws, but said it appeared the actress was “back on track.” Goodman called the routine “so joyful to watch,” while Miller said she “loved it.” Tonioli said the routine had the bright vivacity of a lovely, sunny ’50s sitcom. “Well done,” he said. Bure earned four 9s for a total of 36 points.

James Maslow: Judges liked the flow of the singer/actor’s elegant Viennese waltz but they warned him that his posture in ballroom hold needed to be better. Goodman, Inaba and Tonioli all said Maslow’s legs needed to be straighter and his buttocks tucked in more, but Miller had nothing but praise for him. “James, it’s the male dancer’s job to make the woman look amazing and that’s what you did,” she said. Maslow earned an 8, two 9s and a 10 for a total of 36 points.

Amy Purdy: The paralympian snowboarder who’s dancing on two prosthetic legs earned a sustained standing ovation from the ballroom audience for her dramatic Argentine tango. Even though she injured her back during last’s week performance, her routine drew unanimous praise from judges. “That was totally spellbinding. I feel like I’m in a trance,” Tonioli said. “Power? There. Control? There. Precision? There. Immersion into the character? There. Perfection!” Miller said Purdy was amazing, and she praised her pro partner, Derek Hough, for taking risks, pushing the envelope and making Purdy look good. Inaba said Purdy put herself in a class of her own with the performance, and Goodman told co-host Tom Bergeron: “If I’m dreaming, Tom, don’t wake me up. That was terrific!” Purdy earned four 10s for a perfect score of 40.

Dance Duel

The second round featured two couples dancing the same style of dance side by side. The judges would award one score, and each couple would get that score added their total for the night.

Samba: Meryl Davis and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy danced the samba against Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy. Goodman loved the content and technique, but, like all the other judges, he saw timing issues when Davis and McKellar danced in sync. Each couple earned 34 points.

Contemporary: Charlie White and Sharna Burgess and Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas turned in a passionate contemporary routine. Miller praised Bure’s effort, telling her “right now you look like an Abby Lee Dance Company member.” Tonioli said Bure and White were “made for each other,” and said the four were like a unit. Inaba called White’s lift of Bure “flawless, seamless, gorgeous,” but pointed out that Burgess seemed to slip. Goodman also saw that misstep, but said the group was in tune with the music. Judges gave each couple 38 points.

Jive: Amy Purdy and Derek Hough danced a jive with James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd, and judges loved it. Tonioli proclaimed it extraordinary. “Amy and Peta, you look like sisters. Sisters are doing it for themselves!” he said. “James stepping into Derek’s shoes takes some doing and you did it beautifully. That was fabulous!” Inaba pointed out a minor flaw but the stars danced at the same level as the professionals. Goodman said it was “everything and more that I could have wished to see,” while Miller said she “wanted to get up and dance, really, for like, the first time ever.” Each couple earned 39 points.

The Scores (Individual Routine, Dance Duel)

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough:  40; 39. Total: 79

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess:  40; 38. Total: 78

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 36; 39. Total: 75

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas:  36; 38. Total: 74

Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 38; 34. Total: 72 (McKellar was voted off tonight.)

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 36; 34. Total: 70

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(Cathryn Fransworth)

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