May 18, 2011 -- Actor Ralph Macchio was eliminated from ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" Tuesday night but has no regrets about his dancing experience, he said this morning.
"I gave 100 percent every week and I'm proud of the opportunity," Macchio, 49, said on "Good Morning America" today. "The fans were awesome and I loved it."
The elimination of Macchio and professional partner Karina Smirnoff might have been seen as disappointing, coming one week shy of the Season 12 finale, but probably not shocking, even for the dancing duo themselves.
"We had a pretty big hole to dig ourselves out of from a point perspective," Macchio said. "But we still deserved to be in the finals."
Macchio had pulled off a Viennese waltz and cha-cha in the previous week, despite suffering from a painful knee cyst. Still, he and Smirnoff entered Tuesday night's episode in last place among the four remaining couples, a point deficit even their strong fan base could not overcome.
This week's semi-finals saw the remaining couples take on three dances -- the Argentinean tango, the salsa and the "Winner Takes All" cha-cha. Macchio and Smirnoff earned 48 out of 60 points from the first two dances, putting the couple solidly in last place.
They lost a chance to have an extra 15 points added to their score when the judges unanimously picked the NFL star Hines Ward and pro partner Kym Johnson over Macchio and Smirnoff in the "Winner Takes All."
"It was maybe not the most shocking elimination," Smirnoff said on "GMA."
Early Fan Favorites: What Happened?
Macchio and Smirnoff quickly became fan favorites by wowing the crowd, and the judges, with a lively fox trot and the "wax on, wax off" choreography they weaved into their paso doble, a reference to the actor's former "Karate Kid" days. The duo had led the leader-board as recently as May 2.
Yet, Macchio told "GMA," he didn't think the promising start hurt the couple with fans, or made it more difficult to keep their momentum going.
"We turned out quite a show and performance right out of the starting gate," Macchio said. "I don't think we ever slipped back."
The actor did express his frustration, however, with the show's three judges, particularly the always opinionated Bruno Tonioli, who told Ralph early on in the season, "You've got to get it going."
Macchio said, "Bruno loves to hear himself talk. When the criticism was constructive, I embraced it. But I wanted to hear more recognition for what we were doing, for our choreography."
Machio and Smirnoff's elimination leaves Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas, Ward and Kym Johnson and Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy as the three remaining couples who will advance to the finals.
Smirnoff and Macchio predicted Ward and Johnson will walk away with the dancing trophy.
"I think he is definitely the favorite for the judges," Smirnoff said of Ward. "I think it's going to be a fun final."
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Monday night on ABC.