Ultimate fighter Chuck Liddell and his dance partner Anna Trebunskaya were booted off of Dancing with the Stars after their Texas Two-Step failed to win enough votes to keep them dancing for another week.
“I’ve never been accused of being a good dancer, but I’ve always liked dancing,” says Liddell, who is the designated dancer among friends. “I wish I could’ve stuck around a little longer.”
He may not have been the most skilled dancer of the bunch, but he definitely entertained. In fact, last week, the judges asked for an encore performance of the couple’s samba because it was filled with energy and enthusiasm.
Costar Joanna Krupa says Liddell’s ouster is a reminder that no one is safe. “We were really shocked that Chuck left, so that makes me even more nervous for next week because you just never know.”
Her dance partner, Derek Hough, says he was impressed with Liddell’s footwork and he was continually improving as a dancer. “I saw him do a little bit of quick step last night and he did really good. I’m so bummed that he’s not going to be able to show that to everybody.”
Joining Liddell in the bottom two was early front-runner Aaron Carter and his partner Karina Smirnoff. When his name was announced at the start of the show, the audience gasped. Carter, who wears his often teary emotions on his sleeves, was nowhere to be found after the show.
Snowboarder Louie Vito and his partner Chelsie Hightower, who has spent most of her Tuesday nights on the hot seat, also joined them at the bottom. “The more you care, the more you get nervous about it,” she says.
But Vito joked that he kept his partner’s best interest in mind. “I didn’t want to take Chelsie out of her comfort zone. I know how much she likes being in those last three.”
As the dancers enter their fifth week of competition, they are beginning to bond backstage. Former Dallas Cowboy football player Michael Irvin, who was prepared to leave and then shocked to hear that he was safe from elimination, says it was hard to watch Liddell leave.
“Seeing the way this hurts Chuck, it hurts me that he’s hurt by it,” says Irvin.
Liddell, who is 6’2”, says he’s walking away from the show a little bit taller thanks to his partner Trebunskaya.
“All my friends said, ‘Man, something’s different about you now that you’re dancing,’” he says. “There’s nothing different about my body, it’s just that I’m standing up straight and walking with good posture.” — Elaine AradillasTell us: Were you sad to see Chuck go? Who should go next?Craig Sjodin/ABC