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'Dancing With the Stars' results: Happy trails

May 13, 2009 |  8:06 am

116595_4276_pre After 10 weeks and numerous close calls, the aw-shucks cowboy Ty Murray couldn’t wrangle up another save and instead was sent to ride off into the sunset. And while he didn’t call out tee times on a Miami golf course a la Lawrence Taylor, both Ty and his stalwart partner Chelsie Hightower seemed more than prepared for that result. So where was Jewel? You'd think the injured songbird (and ostensibly the reason why Ty was on the show in the first place), who sat faithfully in the front row for every episode of this competition, would be up and ready to welcome her overachieving hubby back into her arms. But she was curiously absent. Did I miss her? Was she one of the gems encrusted into her husband’s bedazzled shirt?

During this results hour, Raphael Saadiq performed single “100 Yard Dash,” replete with horns, dancers with short shorts and fringed tops and enough fun and frenzy to get the audience up and hopping. Shawn & Mark did an encore of their perfect-30 scoring Argentine tango. And then we got the Macy’s Stars of Dance “Design-a-Dance” extravaganza, where viewers could vote to choose which style, song, costume designer, and dancers they want to appear. So we got a quickstep set to “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” performed by Julianne Hough, Lacey Schwimmer, Derek Hough and Mark Ballas. It’s interesting that the viewers chose all younger dancers for this classically high-energy romp. And the black and white costumes were designed by Rebecca Farmer, and had a fun component where the girls' long skirts detached into short fringy things with a fun little flowy chiffon sash attached.

116595_3593_pre And we were down to the final two in the pro competition as well. This time, each pro had to choreograph a ballroom and Latin dance with a professional partner. So Mayo Alanen was teamed with Kym Johnson and performed a tango and cha cha, and Anna Demidova was paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and danced a quickstep and samba. And clearly, Anna was the far superior choreographer (and I'm not just saying that because she was paired up with Maks, or because Maks sported an awesome "Real Men Eat Cupcakes" tee during rehearsal). Mayo was a bit one-dimensional, as Carrie Ann said, and it seemed like he was choreographing more for himself than for the team. Anna’s dances made both herself and her partner look great and looked like an absolute hoot (well, except for the end of the samba, where she relegated Maks into the corner and confused the audience). Plus, she made use of that pink feather boa, which hadn’t seen the light of day since the days of the Woz (remember him?). The judges seemed to lean heavily in her favor as well: Len said if Anna wasn’t the one voted into the next season, “I’ll show my bum in the supermarket.” So Anna has to win, if not to be a tall, welcome addition to the pro stable, but for the sake of innocent, unassuming shoppers everywhere. 

There was another filler segment where some previous “DWTS” winners commented on the strengths and weaknesses of each of this season's final four contestants. And I thought Brooke Burke made a good point when she said, “It’s not just the best dancer who wins — it’s the celebrity that America relates to the most.” Certainly, it was Ty’s aw-shucks relatability and utter adorability that got him through thus far. But he’s definitely plateaued with his dancing abilities, and the scores and routines have made it clear that one of these couples is not like the other ones. But I started to wonder if Ty’s loyal legion would save him for another week when he and Melissa were the last two left standing. And I always seem to fall for116595_4019_pre Tom’s suspenseful buildup, like when he recounted that only four eliminations thus far have been the lowest-scoring couples, and hinted that anything can happen after last week’s shocking exit. So in popped that kernel of doubt: What if Ty beat out Melissa? After all, Melissa & Tony were the only one of the four couples who didn’t get catcalls of applause when Tom announced their names. Could Melissa's reality-TV fan base (a notoriously fickle bunch) have dried out so soon?

But no, of course, it was Ty’s turn to go home. And when the gracious cowboy spoke, two things were made abundantly clear. First, that this man oozes genuine charm. And second, that skills-wise, he didn’t really belong in next week’s finale: “Trying to teach me to dance is like trying to teach a blind guy to paint,” he said. “I see I’m not doing as good as other people, but I don’t know how to make it better. I just try to remember the steps.”

Still, fourth place is pretty impressive for America’s most beloved rodeo rider. And now this clears the way for a fierce final threesome race to the shiny finish line. 

What did you think, ballroom fans? Did the right cowboy go home? Who do you think has the best chances to win this season? Post below, and don’t forget to brush up on the entire season’s worth of injuries, wardrobe malfunctions and Bruno's colorful metaphors for our live “DWTS” chat next Tuesday at noon PDT!

— Allyssa Lee

Photo credits: ABC