Fighter Chuck Liddell was knocked out of “Dancing With the Stars” on Tuesday night, unable to reproduce his success in the cage on the dance floor.
The Iceman was willing but wooden. “I had fun. We had a good time. We made a run at it. It’s difficult. It’s hard to do,” said Liddell.
Partner Anna Trebunskaya called the former mixed martial arts champion a “gentle giant.”
“You are my bear and you are my hippo, but I loved working with you,” she added.
Previously eliminated were actress Debi Mazar, former model Kathy Ireland, actor Ashley Hamilton and singer Macy Gray. Former politician Tom DeLay left because of foot injuries.
Head judge Len Goodman praised Liddell’s entertainment value Monday night but questioned the 39-year-old knockout artist’s dancing skills during the country two-step.
“There’s a novelty value about you because you don’t expect you to be able to dance and so that’s always good. But eventually you’ve got to come down to the fact that this is a dance competition and your quality of dancing isn’t there,” Goodman said. “You’ve got to improve the quality of the dance.”
Liddell was 10th out of 13 couples in the judges’ voting last week and ninth out of 11 this week.
The fighter’s demise was a reprieve for singer Aaron Carter, who just escaped the chop. And it was good news for diminutive pro snowboarder Louie Vito, who was the last celebrity to avoid the bottom two.
Only NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and Vito scored lower than Liddell’s 17 Monday – with 16s.
Irvin was the first of the three to get the good news that he was coming back.
“You didn’t see this coming,” said co-host Samantha Harris in announcing the news.
It was Carter who was forced to sweat out the results with Liddell at the end of the show. Carter topped all the male celebrities in Week 1 and tied with fellow singer Mya the next week before taking a nose dive.
Carter was told he was trying too hard Monday, a comment that still had him scratching his head Tuesday.
Liddell is known as the Iceman because he is so cool before fights. But he said dancing was a whole different story,
“‘Dancing With the Stars’ is more stressful to me than stepping in a cage to go fight someone,” Liddell said prior to learning he had been axed.
The celebrities’ fate is determined by the judges and fan voting. Liddell was previously helped no doubt by the UFC’s Internet-savvy fan base – and the fact the UFC is beating the Internet and social networking bushes to get the vote out.
But the bell sounded on his dancing career Tuesday.
Monday’s show featured the two-step, Charleston, Bolero and the Lambada, billed as “the forbidden dance of love.”
Mya, who topped the standings last week, and actress Melissa Joan Hart posted the best scores with 28 out of a possible 30. That’s nine points up from Hart’s score last week and Goodman asked for a second helping of the Charleston on Tuesday from Hart and partner Mark Ballas.
Mya got two perfects 10s for her steamy Lambada, matching the two she got last week. Hart got a 10 from judge Bruno Tonioli.
Next week the remaining 10 couples will try their hand at the Paso Doble and the group Hustle.