Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. was sent packing from the ballroom dance floor Monday on "Dancing With the Stars" after each couple turned in an individual Halloween-themed performance and then took part in a team dance.
“We had an incredible night. We had a great time,” he said today on “Good Morning America,” remaining in good spirits despite the elimination.
Cheryl Burke, the actor’s professional partner, explained how proud she was Sabato’s performance throughout the competition, “especially coming from no experience.”
“Antonio did an amazing job and I thought he improved every single week,” she said. “He was a good student.”
Sabato, 42, said his time on the show meant the world to him and his family, but a bit of rest and relaxation might not be such a bad thing moving forward.
“They just love being there every single week,” he said of his wife and children. “Last night was a sad moment because, obviously, we had to leave, but we’re so blessed, you know. We’ve been traveling from day one doing this other show that I’m doing, ‘Fix It to Finish It,’ and doing ‘Dancing’ at the same time. So it’s been kind of rough. But it’s great to have made it this far considering what I’ve been doing.”
He and comedian Tommy Chong had both been in danger of going home after Monday night’s performances.
“I was able to dance with one of the best dancers in the world,” Sabato said Monday night, referring to Burke. “She’s a friend of mine a part of my family right now.”
Burke told him, “This had been one of the most memorable seasons for me for so many reasons and it’s just so sad for me to say goodbye. And I just had the most amazing time with you and I’m so proud of you.”
Monday the stars performed in groups for the first time this season. Team Creepy and Team Itsy Bitsy went head to head, with Team Itsy Bitsy emerging the top vote-getter in the match-up.
Seven others stars return Nov. 3 to vie for a spot in the finals and their chance at the mirror ball trophy in the 19th season of the ABC show.
Ella Henderson performed her hit single, “Ghost,” live and Nikki Yanofsky performed her song, “Necessary Evil.”
The Individual Routines
Tommy Chong: The 76-year-old comedian had trouble with his knees during rehearsal, but his quickstep earned high praise from the judges. Chong, the oldest star to make it this far in the competition in the show’s history, did well when he danced in hold with his partner but the routine “went a bit wrong” once they were apart, judge Bruno Tonioli said. Head judge Len Goodman – back on the panel after several weeks’ absence – commended Chong. “I tell you what Tommy, you’re very easy on the eye, you’re very watchable, there’s a charm about you that I love. Well done,” he said. Judge Julianne Hough agreed that Chong was light on his feet, and while judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she thought this was Chong’s best routine of the entire season, she said she had to deduct points because the performance at times was out of sync with the music. Chong earned four 7s for a total of 28 out of a possible 40 points.
Lea Thompson: Judges told the actress that her Argentine tango was precise but she had been stressed over doing a good job and Hough told her to give herself and her pro partner a break. “Don’t forget the fun of it,” Hough urged. Goodman said it was clean and precise, but added: “For me, it lacked a little bit of chemistry.” Tonioli said the routine was “efficient, accurate” with great shapes and “just the right touch of evil.” Thompson earned two 8s and two 9s for a total of 34 points. Can’t get enough “Dancing with the Stars”? Check out the show’s official radio station here.
Bethany Mota: The YouTube star’s theatrical paso doble – complete with drummers on the ballroom floor -- earned her rave reviews from the judges. Tonioli called it a paso doble “painted on a grand, operatic scale” adding that Mota and her pro partner, Derek Hough, “were the embodiment of the flame of passion. Absolutely fantastic!” Inaba said Mota continued to rise to the occasion, saying her performance was “flawless.” Goodman said the performance was spectacular, but noted that, for him, the routine got lost in the high production value of the number. “I want to just see a paso doble,” he said. While Julianne Hough agreed that the routine was highly produced, she said it didn’t overshadow Mota. Judges gave Mota three 10s and a 9 for a total of 39 points.
Antonio Sabato Jr.: The actor’s Viennese Waltz failed to impress the judges. Goodman called the effort “a bit hectic at times,” adding that the performance was OK. Inaba said she was “frustrated” with the actor because, even though he’d grown as a dancer, tonight’s performance never felt smooth. “It makes me uncomfortable to watch you,” she said. Hough said she wanted to see Sabato Jr. improve, but said that, this week, “everything was kind of off.” The actor earned a six and three 7s for a total of 27 points.
Michael Waltrip: The NASCAR legend has struggled throughout the competition and in the rehearsals leading up to tonight’s jive he worried that he wouldn’t be able to deliver the quick kicks required of the style. Those fears were realized, and the judges didn’t hold back. In keeping with the Halloween theme of the night, the performance was “a nightmare,” Hough said. Goodman expressed his surprise that Waltrip had made it to week 7 of the competition. “In driving terms, you’re running on empty now … you did your best but it really wasn’t good enough,” he said. Tonioli said there was no jive in the routine, adding that he thinks Waltrip broke the record for being out of sync with the music. Added Inaba: “I want you to do better, but this was a great freestyle. It was supposed to be a jive, so that’s the sad part.” Waltrip earned four 5s for a total of 20 points.
Janel Parrish: The “Pretty Little Liars” actress’ campy Viennese Waltz drew mixed reviews from the judges. Hough thought the Halloween theme overshadowed Parrish’s performance, and Tonioli liked the number but said Parrish needed to be more careful how she completed her movements. Inaba disagreed, saying she thought Parrish’s movements were fluid but said the actress needed to point her toes, and Goodman added: “For me it was a lovely, fluid dance but there was no Viennese Waltz.” Parrish earned one 7 and three 8s for a total of 31 points.
Alfonso Ribeiro: The actor and his pro partner, Witney Carson, turned in a rumba that judges hailed for its technical accuracy. Tonioli called the routine “captivating” and “full of content,” but cautioned Ribeiro to watch his foot action. Inaba was impressed by the “integrity” of the routine, saying: “the magic is happening.” Goodman appeared gratified that the dancers didn’t spend too much time on props or extraneous activity leading into the routine. “It was a proper rumba,” he said. Ribeiro earned four 9s for a total of 36 points, and he also took time to wish his son a happy first birthday. The actor then announced that he and his wife were expecting another baby.
Sadie Robertson: Judges felt that the “Duck Dynasty” star’s zombie-themed paso doble fell a little fell flat. Repeating a critique that they leveled throughout the show, judges said they thought the Halloween theme overshadowed the performance. Inaba said the character Robertson played didn’t fit with the style of dance, and Goodman said the theme got in the way. Hough said the theme was a bit overwhelming but added that she saw true paso doble content. She urged Robertson to work on finishing her moves. Tonioli said he loved the story but noted that Robertson needed to work on her shaping. Judges awarded Robertson two 7s and two 8s for a total of 30 points.
The Team Dances
Each team member had the group’s score added to his or her individual score.
Team Creepy: With Ribeiro as captain, Chong, Robertson and Sabato Jr. Judges said the team’s routine was unique but faulted the team for being out of sync when it danced as a group. The team earned four 8s for a total of 32 points.
Team Itsy Bitsy: Mota led Parrish, Thompson and Waltrip in a hip-hop inspired freestyle that was uniformly praised by the judges. “It was a great routine and you danced it beautifully. Well done,” Goodman said. Hough said the routine was “awesome,” and Tonioli added that the dancers “killed that number.” Inaba singled out Waltrip – who had missed some of the routine’s rehearsal – telling him he “looked fabulous.” The team earned 36 points.
The Scores (Couple’s dance; Group dance. Total out of 80)
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: 39; 36. Total: 75
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: 36; 32. Total: 68
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: 34; 36. Total: 70
Janel Parrish and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 31; 36. Total: 67
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: 30; 32. Total: 62
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: 28; 32. Total: 60
Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke: 27; 32. Total: 59
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: 20; 36. Total: 56