Somebody always has to go first.
No one wants the distinction of being the first celebrity booted from Dancing With the Stars, but time after time, someone takes the hit, never to be heard from again until the finale.
And this year the ax is swinging even earlier, with ABC opting to get right to business instead of have two performance nights before the first elimination.
Eight points (and potential) separated last place from first yesterday, but with everyone crammed between them...You never know what the voters are going to do on night one.
Back to the old ball game (once the NBA lockout is over, anyway).
Metta World Peace—the L.A. Lakers star formerly known as Ron Artest, who, tonight, was referred to throughout by his new name—was sent packing, along with first-time DWTS pro Peta Murgatroyd.
The quirky baller threw his arms up in a mock sign of victory at being picked first to join the losing team.
"All I want to know is, who's comin' with me?!" Metta exclaimed, turning around to face the 11 remaining couples. "Peta was great, everybody give a round of applause for Peta. She was awesome!"
Since they were in dead-last place Monday with a 14, this season has gone purely by the numbers so far.
Hanging in the balance for most of the night but ultimately safe were E! star Rob Kardashian, who looked genuinely psyched to be staying along with partner Cheryl Burke, as well as Nancy Grace and newbie pro Tristan MacManus.
Lacey Schwimmer enjoyed a joyous "Yay!" moment with Chaz Bono after learning that they were safe. Jumping up and down, they were soon joined in a big bear hug by last night's first-place duos, Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani and Karina Smirnoff and J.R. Martinez.
All exciting, all joys to watch, all safe for another week.
The comely couple of Elisabetta Canalis—who looks the part but needs to figure out how to sell it—and Val Chmerkovskiy looked more surprised than anybody when they heard that they weren't even in jeopardy, much less not going home after landing second to last on the leaderboard.
Middle-of-the-packers Ricki Lake and Derek Hough, Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas, David Arquette and Kym Johnson, and Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya are also all set to dance another day.
Though we can hardly call Carson "middle-of-the-" anything. He lit up the stage last night!
Musical guest (and J.R. Martinez fan) Harry Connick Jr. crooned "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" from his upcoming Broadway show, while LMFAO busted out—you guessed it—"Party Rock Anthem" (with a little "Sexy and I Know It" thrown in for variety).
(Originally published Sept. 20, 2011, at 8:09 p.m. PT)