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'Dancing With the Stars': Cloris Leachman's time runs out

Well, this week, Cloris Leachman's legion of fans couldn't save her to perform another week on "Dancing With the Stars." She was gracious, if characteristically Cloris, in defeat, and if you think that either Tom Bergeron or Samantha Harris managed to get a post-elimination interview out of her, then you haven't been paying attention this season.

Tonight's show led off with the longest summary segment I can remember. But my memory isn’t very good. The stars were all decked out in their hip-hop get-ups, which meant, to my delight, that the group hip-hop routine was the encore dance. Oh, but poor Susan Lucci -– nothing improved for her between last night and tonight. She may even have gotten worse. Her performance was reminiscent of what I look like in aerobics classes –- I’m always the person who’s moving the wrong direction and is noticeably off-tempo. And the choreographer did Susan no favors by placing her beside Lacey, who was flashy and excellent in true Fly Girl fashion.

This week also brought another installment of Ballroom Kids. First up were Craig and Samantha, 13 and 11, who have been dancing together five years and are brother and sister. I thought they looked familiar, and then we found out that their sister, Cara, was on “DWTS” last season –- she was one of the particularly cute and tiny ones. Craig and Samantha’s cha-cha was very fast and sassy. Cloris, take note. Guest judge Michael said that their parents must be so proud and that dancing will teach you everything important in life (perhaps I stretched that a bit, but you know that’s what he meant). Bruno cited its vibrancy and precision, and Carrie Ann called it “poetry in motion.”

The other couple, Simon and Lucy, both 13, have been dancing together for a year and a half. Simon revealed that no one at school knew he danced –- despite the fact that these two won Nationals this year –- but I suspect the secret is out now. Their samba was clean and precise, but, to me, it perhaps lacked a bit of zip. Carrie Ann complimented their charisma. Michael said they should follow their dreams and sort of telegraphed that they might lose. Bruno said they seemed to be having fun.

The verdict? It was unanimous: Craig and Samantha will compete in the finals. I had been operating under the assumption that the judges usually managed their choices so that at least one judge voted for every Ballroom Kids pair, but I guess not. I felt bad for Simon and Lucy. I mean, if you’re going to be outed as a 13-year-old ballroom dancer, you want to win.

Tonight’s musical guests, Missy Elliott and the Pussycat Dolls, performed “Whatcha Think About That.” And guest judge Michael Flatley danced amid flames in a bit from his “Celtic Tiger” show. Sometimes I wish I could tap-dance. But, wow, that looked tiring.

In tonight’s taped filler, several experts –- a Marine, a psychologist and a coach –- talked about building mental and emotional toughness on top of physical toughness. Every single thing they said was a cliche -- kind of remarkable.

Next week, there will be a “team dance,” which seems to be a little bit of “Survivor” injected into “DWTS”: The remaining competitors will be divided into two teams to dance against one another and be judged on their performances.

And if you, like me, were wondering how “DWTS” was going to handle the inconvenience of election-night coverage, well, it’s simple: The competition show will be on Monday, as usual, but the results show will be on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. On Tuesday, you can stay up till all hours to see if Alaskans reelect the recently convicted Ted Stevens to the Senate.

Oh, and Julianne’s surgery went well, but Edyta will be substituting for her for at least a week.

So, weigh in, fans -- pro- and anti-Cloris alike. What did you think? Are you relieved Cloris is gone? Sad? Conflicted? And can Susan Lucci wow us all next week, or is she destined to be the next to go?

-- Sarah Rogers

Comments () | Archives (21)

I was very sorry to see Cloris leave. She was funny and made me laugh. Her dancing has drastically improved. I loved the way she played to the audience and thanked the viewers for keeping her on the show. She truly seemed to care that the audience was voting for her. I think the reason I liked her the most was because she gave me hope that just because you get old, you don't have to give up. She's more than 50 years older than I and that just means that I have 50 more years of vim and vigor (even when suffering through pain).

Everyone knows how the show works. There should not be double standards. 50% scores, 50% callers. The judges have known this from the start. They should not make personal comments like Carrie Ann did to Cloris. If her fan base wants her in, then so be it. The judges are there to critique and score. The show is "dancing with the stars" not, "who is the best." No doubt the most popular, if also talented, will win in the end.
If the judges can't handle that, then they shouldn't be judging. Obviously the network likes the controversy, which must be why they continue to invite older stars to participate.
Give the older generation a break!

What fun to watch Dancing with the Stars with Cloris Leachman. She is an inspiration to all generations. In this world of agism it's great to see a woman in her 80s still pushing buttons. I have always admired her acting chops, but think she is so brave appearing on a reality show that is demanding physically for the non-dancers and actually manipulating the show and audiences. Tooo bad she didn't choose politics as her profession. We could use someone like her fighting for healthcare and other services. She is wise, funny, clever and gracious and has a way of mocking herself and then winking as if to say "are you with me?" One classy broad who keeps entertaining us. I hope we see more women and men like Cloris in the workforce. It shows us that there is so much we can learn from them. Maybe Obama will make her a Goodwill Ambasador or have her on is dialup. Check in with Cloris every morning to stay grounded with a smile. Love her. You rock Cloris!

I am very relieved that Ms. Leachman, one of the finest comic actresses to ever hit the stage and screen, is being allowed to leave what what obviously a physical ordeal for her. What was everyone thinking???? If this is going to be an honest competition, then at least make sure the participating celebrities are fit enough to compete. I'm 63 and I couldn't do it. I admire her moxie and will always love her acting, but let that lady go hit a hot whirlpool and check her bp.

I think Chloris Leachman is wonderful. I hope I have even half her energy when I'm 81.

It was time for Clown Cloris to leave. Serious compettition requires commitment and talent. Susan Lucci does not have the commitment, nor the musical talent that the others have. She has no script to follow like AMC. She will definitely be next for elimination.

I am glad Cloris is gone. The first couple of shows you had to admire her but her antics became tiring and almost embarrassing when they went on and on. Kind of reminds you when you go visit a friend and end up admiring the performance of their cute kid which isn't really cute! Besides, it wasn't fair to those who actually had to perform....bye, bye, Cloris!

It was time for Cloris to go but she sure added a bit of hilarity to the show. And I just loved that she didn't give Samantha Harris the time of day with her inane questions! Am I the only one who fast forwards when Samantha questions the dancers backstage?

It was fun watching Cloris for about 5 minutes - then it got old! I do give her lots of credit for being out there and giving it her all? However, I was always afraid to see what she would do next - kind of like when Marie Osmond was on the show.

I like Cloris, but I'm glad she left before the Team Dance. It wouldn't be fair to the team who got her. Cloris would drag down their scores.

I'm glad Cloris is gone. Her act was getting tiresome and her dancing was ok for an 82 year old, but not why I watch the show. It is very sad that Toni Braxton was gone before Cloris! Toni is an incredible dancer.

Well, some things should have ended quite a while ago. Cloris is truly an inspiration for those of any age. At 82, what an awesome display of energy and antics. However, her departure was long overdue.

Stay energetic and young at heart Cloris. God bless you!

I think that Carrie Ann is the one who should go. The new judge Michael is the only one who showed any manners and any class. I would personally hate to see Carrie Ann dance on a pole topless like she did Madonna at 82 the show is not something I will watch again.

cloris is the most obnoxious woman on earth. cheers to carrie ann for finally telling the truth. someone had to.

PLEASE people of America......get Susan Lucci off Dancing with the Stars!!!!! She thinks she's a prima donna, but she's terrible!!!!!!!!! I can't look at her anymore! The Hip Hop routine she did was really bad!!!!!! Bye bye Susan!!!!!!!

I wish Cloris could have stayed a little longer. She was the star for me. I think the judges felt upstaged by her and especially Carrie Ann. Too bad they could have appreciated her as much as the rest of us.

If Cloris hadn't been there it would have been the same, getting tired, routine. She freshened it up a bit. Although, I admit, she herself was getting a little stale near the end there.

Dont be so hard on Carrie Ann. I found it painful to watch Cloris week after week stay when those who danced better and took the competiton more seriously were eliminated. Carrie Ann only said what millions of Americans watching were thinking. Could she have used more tact? Possibly, but I am glad someone finally spoke the truth and glad Carrie Ann said what she said. Cloris is to be admired and respected but not on this venue. Good riddance!

What is worst about Carrie Ann's comments is that she was insulting the voting viewers as much as she was insulting Cloris. Cloris and Corky knocked out Toni because the viewers, many of them anyway, loved watching them dance and voted for them week after week. Toni clearly did not have the fan base or did not engage the viewers. If any judge has a problem with the taste of the viewing public, this is clearly not the show for you. DWTS is NOT a serious dancing contest, it is a popularity contest and Cloris and Corky were popular. If this was to be a serious dancing contest, the judges would all be professional judges, like Old Crankypants instead of sometime dancer/actors like Carrie Ann, and there would be no public participation. Bottom line, Carrie Ann was out of order to state that Cloris, a fan favourite, should have been voted off before Toni. Cloris rocks - hopefully this will be the start of a new phase to her already brilliant career.

The producers of the program should really evaluate the talent that will be presented. The only reality show that I watch on TV is DWTS. On the introductory show for the season, you can always determine which celebrity is there as a long shot for the competition, such as Wayne Newton and Jerry Springer. Bringing in an octagenarian is unfair to that individual, as well as the younger competitors. You get sympathy vote for the older person, therefore, the younger is punished. I found some of the actions of Cloris Leachman to be offensive. She really needed a handler on the evening when Samantha Harris was interviewing the sweet couples who were competing in the children's competition and in popped Cloris, disrupting the conversation that was being held! That was out of line and rude. She has had many accolades in her lifetime, and perhaps she cannot face losing the notority, but frankly, I agreed with Carrie Ann when she said that Tony Braxton shouldn't have been eliminated to maintain Cloris. By the way, Susan Lucci should have been voted out a long time ago. There is absolutely no rhythm in that woman's body!!

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