Ballroom dancing is known for its elegance and grace. But Tuesday night things turned ugly when Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan was eliminated from Dancing With the Stars. The shocking revelation – possibly the biggest upset in the show’s history – led to an outraged room full of loud booing and tears.
While Bryan and partner Mark Ballas tried to fight back their tears and remain positive, host Tom Bergeron shook his head in disbelief.
“I had you so pegged for the finale,” Bergeron said, embracing the young dancing duo who were regarded by fellow dancers, fans and judges as this season’s couple to beat. Bryan assured PEOPLE minutes after the show that she will be fine.
“I had such an amazing time with Mark. I cannot imagine any experience being able to remotely compare to this,” the 23-year-old Bryan said. “I’m not bitter. I’ve made some great friendships here and I’ve had the best time. This was an amazing opportunity for me and I feel so lucky to have gone this far.”
Bryan remained upbeat, but others were not shy about expressing their disappointment. Wiping tears from her eyes, a somber Carrie Ann Inaba told PEOPLE, “This is an outrage and an upset. It’s so disappointing and heartbreaking, not to mention complete shock. How do you explain Sabrina leaving? She’s been at the top of the leader board from week one. Everyone assumed she’d be in the finale.”
“It’s a big shock and a big loss for the show,” pro dancer Anna Trebunskaya said, tears streaming down her face. “She was one of the best performers on the show ever. I think the show might suffer a little bit because the level of dancing will go down. It’s so sad that America didn’t vote for the best dancer. She was so clearly the best.”
“This is when you have to remember that the judges are only one aspect and tuning in have to vote who they want to see in the finale,” Inaba said. “It is a competition and some days it does suck. Tonight it sucks.” –Monica Rizzo
Photo: CRAIG SJODIN/ABC