Dancing with the Stars was down to the final six celebrities this week, which meant the game was stepped up to include two dances per week from each couple. For Shannon Elizabeth, that meant double the chance to impress the judges and fans, but it wasn't enough to keep her from going home.
After she and her partner threw a bit of a tantrum in the video interviews after their dance last week, the pair have been working hard to apologize for their outburst and repair their image.
It's probably not a good thing to publicly criticize the judging and come across as poor sports in the eyes of the viewers when you need support from both to stay in the competition.
So this week, Elizabeth and her partner Derek Hough had to really step up their dancing as well as put on a more friendly face as they took on a ballroom dance and another Latin dance.
For the ballroom portion of the evening, Elizabeth took on the tango. Not even daring to crack a smile, she performed the steps well and kept up the seriousness of the dance in her performance.
Bruno Tonioli told her she looked like a silent movie buff, performing the dance very well, and Carrie Ann Inaba called it her best dance yet. Len Goodman, always the spoilsport, had to throw in that there were some little awkward moments in the dance, but they actually added to the performance.
The judges seemed to all be in agreement that this one was a winner from Elizabeth and gave her nines across the board for a total of 27. But the Latin round was still to come with its dreaded hip action that Elizabeth can't seem to master.
When she took to the stage in the latter half of the show for her mambo, there was something noticeably different about Elizabeth. She was sporting a prosthetic butt to help emphasize her hip movements during the dance.
Her partner and choreographer, Derek Hough, also made a point to add a lot of booty-shaking right in front of the judges' table to make sure they didn't miss any hip action either.
Elizabeth's mambo actually was a real crowd-pleaser as it had a sort of Broadway musical number feel to it. Plus Elizabeth looked like she was having a lot more fun out there on the dance floor.
Crowd-pleaser doesn't necessarily mean a judge-pleaser though. Despite the prosthetic, Elizabeth still had very little hip action during the dance steps other than the intentional shaking going on in front of the judges.
While Inaba and Goodman sort of tiptoed around the issue, commenting on how she still needs to work on her gangliness, Tonioli let Elizabeth know she was still lacking in the hip department.
Inaba did also comment that she appreciated that Elizabeth was channeling her emotion and frustration into the dance this week rather than venting in the backroom video sessions like she and her partner did last week.
As evidence that Elizabeth and Hough are both regretful about getting upset last week during the video sessions where they whined a bit about the fairness of the judging, both of them kept it under control this week and even apologized for their behavior.
With a score of 24 for the mambo, Elizabeth ended up with a total of 51 out of 60 for the night, putting her still in the back half of the pack, just above Cristian de la Fuente and tied with Mario.
Unfortunately for Elizabeth, it wasn't enough this week. While de la Fuente may have had the lowest score after Monday's dance, he also gained the sympathy vote after suffering an injury during his second dance of the evening.
After a long delay in the elimination episode Tuesday night, he finally got his chance to tell the audience what had happened to his arm, and that despite the injury, he planned to stay in the competition if the viewers voted for him to do so.
The Chilean got his wish, as he was declared safe, and Elizabeth and Marissa Jaret Winoker ended up as the bottom two for the evening.
Winoker had the better scores this week and has consistently kept a good attitude about the judging and the competition in general despite harsh criticism early on. There really wasn't much question that it would be Winoker staying and Elizabeth taking her final spin on the dance floor.
Here's how Winoker and the rest of the competitors fared on Monday's performance night.
Cristian de la Fuente
The heartbreaking scores of the night were for de la Fuente. His first dance was the Viennese waltz, which highlighted the chemistry that's developed between him and his partner Cheryl Burke as well as how far de la Fuente has come, evolving from stiff to polished on the dance floor. Tonioli even called him South America's Clark Gable, and all the judges agreed his dance was a pleasure to watch, though perhaps a bit lacking in content. The result was a score of 24 from the judges.
The Latin round was the Chilean's chance to shine on Monday night. His samba started out good, but an arm injury toward the end of the dance that turned out to be a ruptured tendon threw a wrench into the works. According to the rules, the judges base their scores on what they saw of the dance up until the injury occurred, but Inaba pointed out it's hard to pinpoint when that actually happened in the dance. All the judges appreciated that de la Fuente finished the dance and was there for his partner despite the injury. "It hurts the arm and it hurts that I couldn't do it," de la Fuente said. "It's tough."
The scores were just as tough, with the judges giving him a 21.
Total score: 46
Mario and Karina Smirnoff were the latest to be subject to romance rumors after Elizabeth and Hough were spotted getting a little too into their rumba practice last week. Smirnoff has been dating Mario Lopez since the season they danced together on Dancing with the Stars and it doesn't look like she's planning to upgrade to a new Mario, as the two were all business on the dance floor this week.
Up first, the two took on the fox-trot in the ballroom round. The judges weren't exactly enthusiastic about the performance. They all commented on his youthful vibrancy and how he's fun to watch, but they also noted that he's a little too loose in the ballroom dances. His score for round one: 24.
The looseness that he's faulted for in the ballroom round, however, is Mario's strength in the Latin round. Given the mambo this week, he and Smirnoff dazzled the audience and the judges. Tonioli called the performance "slick, fast, furious and dangerous," and Goodman followed up with his own "wild, wacky and wonderful." His score for the Latin round was a 27.
Total score: 51
Marissa Jaret Winoker
Most devoted Dancing with the Stars viewers probably would have counted out Winoker a long time ago. She started out the season with harsh criticism and looking a bit awkward despite her Broadway musical experience, but has turned her performance around to become a true contender.
In the ballroom round she took on the tango this week, getting good reviews from all three judges. Goodman went so far as to call it her best dance yet. Tonioli said all the elements of the dance were there - the footwork and the performance - and even the slight air of disdain she affected worked for the performance. With nines across the board, she received a 27 for the dance.
In the Latin round, Winoker was given the rumba and some mixed reviews for it. Tonioli said it was very warm and sweet but seemed to be missing some zest. Goodman pointed out that Winoker was lacking in hip action - an affliction Elizabeth is familiar with.
Inaba, however, said it was beautiful and that Winoker had fluid arm movements and held her lines very well. Her scores were a bit mixed as well, with a 25 for the dance.
The best comments came from Winoker's partner Tony Dovolani. He said, "I'm so proud of her. We went from sixes to nines. Who's ever done that on this show?"
Total score: 52
After earning the first perfect score of the season last week, Yamaguchi took a slight tumble in the standings this week. For the first time this season, she got less than a nine from some of the judges for both her dances of the night.
Her first chance on the dance floor was for the Viennese waltz during the ballroom round. While Yamaguchi seems to be thriving on the pressure, her partner Mark Ballas was overly stressed about them having to learn two routines in one week.
He needn't have worried as their performance of the waltz was very moving and emotional this week. Both Tonioli and Inaba thought it was a great performance with a slight hiccup in the execution of some of the turns. Goodman thought the use of an umbrella and the theatrics were a bit too much. It was still worth a 26 from the judges.
The Latin round brought on a cha-cha for Yamaguchi and a chance to improve her scores for the evening. You can pretty much give Yamaguchi any dance and she turns out an amazing performance, and the cha-cha was no different. Despite being a skinny little twig, she had no trouble with the hip action and even rocked out in the hip-hop section that Ballas threw in to give the cha-cha a modern twist.
Inaba and Tonioli both agreed it was a great performance and rewarded her with tens, but Goodman had a few issues with the dance and definitely didn't like the hip-hop. Her score ended up being a 28.
Total score: 54
Inaba told Taylor he needed to dance bigger last week, and he made sure this week she'd have nothing to complain about. Taking on the quickstep in the ballroom round, Taylor began the dance with a giant leap over his partner Edyta Sliwinska to take the stage.
From that point on he proved that big men can be light on their feet and fast on the dance floor. All three judges thought it was an excellent performance. Goodman pointed out that football players have been a tenacious bunch on the show, with those who've participated in the past making it to the final, and this dance was a sure sign Taylor would do the same. Goodman was the only holdout from giving Taylor a perfect score for the dance, and he instead had to settle for a 29 out of 30.
Taylor also performed one of the most entertaining dances of the night during the Latin round. Leave it to a football player to find a way to attract his male fans to the show by dancing the paso doble to the Monday night football theme while his partner is wearing his team colors.
Goodman's comment on the dance was, "I don't know if you frightened the bull, but you scared the life out of me."
Tonioli and Inaba agreed that he had no problem highlighting the power of the dance and he has an incredible presence on the floor. Inaba, however, had to point out a slight lift. The scores for the dance came out to a 26.
Total score: 55
Thus ends our coverage of Shannon Elizabeth in her journey on Dancing with the Stars, though there is still plenty of dancing to watch if you want to find out which celebrities will make it to the final and who will win the disco globe trophy this season.