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Emmys 2017
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Dancing with the Stars recap: Dust-Ups

Marlee Matlin is eliminated with a touching tribute from Tom and an inappropriate song; plus, Derek and Shannon lash out at the judges, and the hoedown gets a do-over

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Marlee Fabian

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

”Dancing With the Stars” elimination recap

Hey, eliminated star Marlee Matlin. Thanks for all your time and effort, and for providing inspiration to millions week after week on Dancing With the Stars. Now guess what! All you are is dust in the wind! Or so the Harold Wheeler Ensemble seemed to convey with that somewhat macabre song choice for Marlee’s exit. (Is it wrong that I was somewhat comforted she couldn’t hear it?) All in all, Marlee’s was perhaps the classiest and most tear-jerking goodbye yet. I know, I know — I always say people’s exits are ”classy.” Why ”tear-jerking”? You know why! Because Tom Bergeron, MVP of Life, waltzed outside the host-contestant continuum to gently tell his close friend Marlee, ”I am so proud of you,” before nudging her to the center of the ballroom to stand and sway. Tell me that didn’t set you off!

Neither Mario nor Karina looked surprised to join Marlee and Fabian in the bottom two. They left the overwrought emotional performances of the evening to Cristián and Marissa, who endured an absolutely painful backstage Samantha segment that ran way too long, but since the show is liiiiiiiive!, no one could do anything about it. Any time Cristián and Marissa were engaging in physical communication (hops, hugs, various forms of fives, etc.) was fine. Everything that was spoken was just a disaster. Except Cristián’s ”Uh, Len’s butt? Uh, yeah,” because who doesn’t say that whenever they’re caught off-guard?

Something horrifically, dementedly dramatic finally happened on a results show this season! Beloved young pro Derek lashed out against the judges during his backstage confessional with Shannon. In the voice of about a 12-year-old (Shannon usually sounds 5), Derek complained about Bruno and the others calling Shannon out on her lack of hip action: ”What about the heel leads happening out there…the feet coming off the floor, the horrific, demented lines people are making out there?” he asked. ”And you’re giving them 9s and 10s. Are you kidding me?” (It’s worth noting that Derek’s picked up that last rhetorical quip from Shannon, who spat it out mid-bawl. Aww. Samesies!)

Anyway, yikes. Shannon and Derek both apologized during Tuesday’s show, explaining that they were just caught up in an emotional moment, one that came so naturally to them because they’re really passionate about what they’re doing. Derek might have been taken more seriously if his cheeks hadn’t been splattered with goopy, fake, red kisses. I’m guessing people will disagree about the awfulness level of Derek’s rant. I’ve always enjoyed him, so I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt, with the understanding that he caught some of Shannon’s frenetic energy and felt a duty to protect his partner. Everyone does stupid stuff; his just happened to be on camera and totally out of character for him (or so we’ve been led to believe). If anything, the outburst was a sign from Ballroom Heaven that they should cut the showmance crap and focus on the dancing instead. (That way, Derek could stop deluding Shannon into thinking she’s a really awesome dancer who deserves more than the already very high score of 24.)

Another big issue is that the couple (particularly Shannon) has to find a way to not interpret the judges’ critiques — which are always inconsistent and never perfectly fair; see last night’s ”Judgment Day” filler segment — as personal attacks. Shannon seemed to have chosen the one Carrie Ann comment that struck a nerve and then just hip-lessly scuttled down the hall with it, dragging her supportive partner into the billowing folds of her pastel-pink quandary of sequins and tears. I bet if we inspected that dress closely enough after their backstage scene, the sequins would now resemble tears. You really can make anything seem like something else if you think about it hard enough. Oh, look, I’ve just mentally willed this paragraph to almost be over. See? So Derek and Shannon: Get over it, move on, and try to remember that you’re ultimately competing for a giant ball of glitter.

NEXT: Hoedown and dirty