Dancing With the Stars recap: Maks On, Wax Off

Three couples head into next week's season 12 finals; Stevie Nicks performs
Ep. 17 | Aired May 17, 2011

FINALS TAP Kym Johnson and Hines Ward avoided the pain in the neck of being under the red light.

ABC

To no one's surprise, the karate kid who earned 25 less points than the leader during Monday's semifinals was sent home on week 9 of Dancing With the Stars. Ralph Macchio, a fountain of enthusiasm and youth, returned to his family just like he made a point to do after every Hollywood job in the '80s. Throughout his exit interview, I kept gazing up at the three sad blondes onstage (Kym, Kirstie, Chelsea), who were clearly genuinely crushed to see him go.

Ralph definitely loved being on Planet Mirrorballus, but after the judges' tepid response to his efforts this week, it seemed like he was ready to leave. I liked how he brought up his week 1 dance ("the place erupted," awww) instead of his recent, more troubling experiences, and I loved how Karina acknowledged that she'd had a blast this season. She totally did, and Ralph is to thank. He's a perfect DWTS contestant to me: Fun, nerdy, clueless about the ballroom, and dying to be there. Loved this couple.

Ralph may not have been the strongest dancer, but his fans will likely believe that Monday night's Winner Takes All Cha-Cha (which awarded 15 extra points to Chelsea and Mark) was the twisted knife at play in Ralph's demise. I learned today that the WTACC had been planned before season 12 had even begun, and was instituted as a direct result of early exits by talented dancers such as Brandy and Sabrina Bryan. So apparently even if the producers didn't want to put a specific couple ahead this week, the WTACC would have happened anyway. Weird!

For the more succinct version of the above paragraph, here's Karina after the show: “[The judges] said everything besides the actual words, ‘we don’t want you in the finale.'"

NEXT: I could reach out and grab a burnt sienna calf muscle any time I wanted.

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