Steve Guttenberg needed more than three men and a baby to vote for him.
And perhaps he got more, way more, but the ever-appreciative Police Academy star—or "the Gutt," as someone deemed fit to name him—was eliminated from Dancing with the Stars Tuesday just the same, leaving nine celebs to hoof it out next week.
"I've had such a good time here...It's made me a better person," the 49-year-old actor said. And he was still talking when network time constraints forced him to take center stage for that last dance.
Although he clearly wasn't a favorite to take home the disco ball, Guttenberg didn't go down without a fight.
His 21-caliber tango was a personal best, although not nearly as entertaining as the encore "mango" he performed Tuesday with pro Jonathan Roberts, who helped out during rehearsals last week while his sick wife, Anna Trebunskaya (Guttenberg's now second-favorite partner) took time out to rest.
And even though he didn't need to compensate as much for a lacking performance, he still made a point of complimenting the show's costume designers.
"Whatever happens here on Dancing with the Stars, Steve has a future with the Peace Corps," cohost Tom Bergeron quipped.
Also showing improvement this week and earning their highest scores to date were potential finalists Shannon Elizabeth, who kicked up a 24 with her jive; Cristián de la Fuente, who offered Bruno Tonioli a free dinner after the plucky Italian gave his jive a 9, part of an overall 25; and Priscilla Presley, who danced a fiery tango that belied any anxiety she might still have about strutting her stuff in front of a crowd.
"The nerves don't stop...I don't know about confidence, because you still only have five days [to rehearse a new dance]," the Naked Gun star said when asked if the 26 she earned helped put her at ease for next week. "I'm hoping to get into that."
Meanwhile, insta-frontrunners Kristi Yamaguchi and Jason Taylor were rewarded for their natural ability last night with especially nitpicky criticism, as the judges are wont to dish out when a celebrity is so good so fast.
"More emotional engagement," Carrie Ann Inaba demanded from Yamaguchi, while Len Goodman informed Taylor, "One week you're a rooster, the next you're a feather duster—that's life," after taking issue with the NFL star's jive.
But while Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas Jr. earned another 27 despite all the huff and guff, Taylor and partner Edyta Sliwinska ended up with their lowest score of the competition, a 23 that put them in fifth place on the judges' leader board.
No matter, though—it was a much tougher night for plenty of others.
Adam Carolla turned in another charming performance—and then, of course, ruined the effect by speaking afterward—but still could only wrest a 21 away from the judges, who have basically deemed him the Billy Ray Cyrus of season six. (And unfairly so—Carolla moves much better than the similarly towering country star.)
Inaba said he was "quite sexy out there," but followed that bit of praise with, "technique-wise...you know..."
Still, it was his highest score of the season, so apparently Julianne Hough's more modest wardrobe choice—a pageboy wig and a full-length, long-sleeved sparkly gown—for the tango did not hurt their cause, as Carolla supposed it might.
"I'm not saying there's a couple of gay guys in wardrobe—but possibly, maybe one!" he kidded Monday, implying someone who doesn't care to see Hough half-naked did the dressing.
Twenty-one wasn't a winning number for the usually revered Marlee Matlin and Mario, however. Instead, it was a season low for both.
Matlin had another strong showing but, because she's already one of the best, the judges wagged their fingers at her for rough underarm passes, "pancakey" hands and timing issues.
And Mario "bitterly disappointed" Len with a tango that, while it looked cool largely thanks to Karina Smirnoff's efforts, was riddled with missteps and other stylistic no-nos.
Although Bruno defended the dance based on the R&B singer's charisma as a performer, Mario still only scraped together a 21, getting an 8 from Bruno, a 7 from Carrie Ann and a 6 from Len, who protested that he was in a great mood that night, despite the usual accusations of grouchiness.
"I played golf!" he exclaimed.
Also safe was last place Marisa Jaret Winokur, who hasn't yet matched her Tony-winning performance prowess on the dance floor but at the same time is extremely likeable and viewers must appreciate that she consistently gives it her all.
Besides, who could boot her at a time like this? An ABC rep confirmed Wednesday that partner Tony Dovolani (who's going to have to kick the choreography up a notch after that unengaging jive, which only earned a 19) is expecting twins with his wife Lina.
"Kids are a blessing and give your life purpose and meaning," Dovolani told People. He and Lina also have a two-year-old daughter, Luana.
Coincidentally, Winokur is expecting a son via a surrogate with writer hubby Judah Miller.
Wednesday's elimination show also featured Australian pop star and breast-cancer survivor Kylie Minogue's first TV performance in five years and a characteristically riveting routine from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which performed its signature "Revelations" number.