Well, that was unexpected: The first results show of this “Dancing With the Stars” season ended in a surprising announcement and exit.
The first star leaving this 16th season's competition was Olympic figure skater and cancer survivor Dorothy Hamill. But it wasn’t because she and her bonny Irish lad of a partner, Tristan MacManus, had the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewer votes. No -- Dorothy chose to withdraw from the competition and leave Oz because of her injury.
It’s very sad to see this Golden Girl leave the competition, particularly because it was so clear that Dorothy herself did not want to go. But the figure skater stepped away on the advice of her spinal surgeon after a cyst in her back hobbled her efforts on the dance floor and threatened irreparable nerve damage. “It would be completely unfair for me to stay in this and have any of these people go home,” Dorothy said through her tears. “I wish that I could give it my all and I can’t.”
PHOTOS: 'Dancing With the Stars' season 16 contestants
A shame, really. Dorothy showed so much promise her first week out. But As Carrie Ann said, the important thing is for Dorothy to take care of herself. Though it also meant that we had to bid farewell (for now) to her lucky charm of a pro partner, Tristan, who remained as gracious and as classy as his gold-medal-winning dance partner. “It’s a decision that has to be made,” the Irishman said. “There’s something a lot bigger going on than this competition.”
Dorothy and Tristan’s exit from the competition meant both in-jeopardy couples Victor Ortiz & Lindsay Arnold and Lisa Vanderpump & Gleb Savchenko lived to dance another week. The star with the lowest amount of judges’ points coming into this elimination, D.L. Hughley, found out he was safe early on in the results hour.
The top of the program began with a high-stepping, high-energy performance with the “DWTS” Pros and Troupe that was black and white and hot all over, choreographed by Jason Gilkison.
The encore performance, as voted upon by the good citizens of the Twitterverse, went to the fabulous flappin’ jive from Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy. Which made sense -- and not just because I imagine the Disney Channel star’s followers were born tweeting. The 16-year-old and the just-had-a-birthday boy reminded us why they’re the couple to beat with their stellar jive. Again, so impressed by this girl’s dancing prowess. She’s a born performer. And maybe half gazelle.
PHOTOS: Celebrity portraits by The Times
The stars confessed how hard the show was and how scared they were to dance live. Dorothy had a brief vision of going to her own execution. D.L. Hughley was letting an English dude and an Italian dude berate him. Ingo wasn’t prepared for how much it took to go the distance of the season. Zendaya’s a kid, so she still has to go to school and do homework. Aly’s never had to be sassy or sexy. Sean Lowe had to break himself out of his go-to head-bob dance moves. “Go out on a limb -- that’s where the fruit is, honey,” Wynonna said wisely.
Internationally acclaimed duo Icona Pop (who sported neon lipstick like the second incarnation of Wham!) took Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough’s neon glow stick like a baton and ran with it with their infectious and thumping club (and “Girls”) anthem “I Love It.” I don’t care. I love it! And so did Bruno. “Glad I bought stock in glow sticks,” quipped Tom.
We got to meet the new kids on the dancing block, our freshman dancers (thankfully spray-tan-allergy-free, though if they weren't, they could pull a Brooke Burke Charvet and take a Claritin for that). In addition to new pros Lindsay and Gleb, there were new troupe members Julian and Witney Carson (also from “So You Think You Can Dance” fame). Nice to have fresh blood and fresh energy injected into the glitterverse.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Your entertainment 'Morning Fix'
Josh Groban returned to the ballroom with a mini orchestra to belt out his latest single “Brave,” while Chelsie Hightower(!) and bare-chested Dmitry Chaplin(!) leaped and twirled and heaved passionately for and at each other on a floor full of fog. Magnificent!