Dancing with the Stars‘ first elimination was met with a collective gasp Tuesday night as Shannen Doherty was voted off the show after delivering a strong jive performance Monday night. But the 90210 alum says she was not as shocked as her fellow contestants. “I’m not a dancer,” she told PEOPLE after being consoled by her parents and costars. “Mark Ballas is surprised, but I’m not.”
Doherty, who decided to participate in the competition at the request of her father, who suffered a stroke in December, said the experience was gratifying despite her early departure. “I did what I set out to do,” she says. “I made my dad proud, that’s all that really matters.”
“What I took away from the show is that perseverance and hard work do pay off. It pays off in seeing my father’s face and the joy that I brought him, and I got so close to my partner,” she added.
So close that Ballas was willing to dance through his injured knee to waltz Doherty through the season. “I would have been out there,” he said after learning earlier on Tuesday that the muscle on his knee was detached from the bone. But now, he’ll take three to six weeks to heal — and like Doherty, he’s looking on the bright side. ” I need to rest and get back to where I need to be. I’m just glad there’s no tear.” –Lisa Ingrassia