Clustered at the top of the Dancing With the Stars leaderboard last night were Melissa Rycroft with 57, and Gilles Marini and Shawn Johnson with 56. Lil' Kim, who stumbled a few times during her waltz, lingered at 52.
And then there was Ty Murray, way down there with 46. Obviously Ty's fans have been a loyal bunch, but did they overpower the numbers this time?
Um, yes they did.
Lil' Kim and Ty were left to sweat out the final commercial break before learning who had snagged the fourth spot in next week's semifinals.
And that person was Ty.
Despite her streak of pleasing performances, Lil' Kim, aka Kimberly Jones, took her final bow tonight after the voters once again rallied just enough behind the rodeo cowboy to keep him in the competition.
"I think this is one of the greatest experiences...in my life," the wee rapper managed to say once the audience's collective murmur of disapproval had faded. "I think I brought different viewers [to the show...I love yoau, too," Kim said, responding to the crowd's cheers.
"Amazing person, amazing soul, amazing spirit—and an amazing dancer," defending champ Derek Hough said of his now ex-partner.
When the evening's big twist was still 45 minutes away, the jazzy Jamie Cullum kicked the show off with a tune, and then the final three dancers in the vote-for-the-next-pro contest—Afton DelGrosso, Mayo Alanen and Anna Demidova—sambaed, quickstepped and tangoed with past star players Cody Linley, Lisa Rinna and Maurice Greene, respectively.
The judges praised DelGrosso for doing her best with the still stiff-legged Lindley, but they thought Alanen's quickstep-cum-striptease with Rinna got a little out of hand. Overall, they thought Demidova had worked the most magic with her swift-footed celeb.
It's crunch time for the remaining celebs as they're now expected to learn two dances at a time and, well, just be better than they've ever been before.
And that's what the all the contestants had been doing—but only four are allowed to strut their stuff in the semifinals.
(Originally published May 5, 2009, at 7:15 p.m. PT)