Marissa Jaret Winokur, Dancing with the Stars


Marissa Jaret Winokur remains a one-time Tony winner for now.

The Broadway star and partner Tony Dovolani were eliminated from Dancing With the Stars Tuesday after failing to make the most of their hard-fought trip to the semifinals.

Despite dual 26s on their quickstep and rumba and being called an "unlikely contender" by Carrie Ann Inaba last night, their 52 left them four points out of the hunt while only one point separated the other three contestants.

"It's been incredible!" the reliably bubbly Winokur said before that final goodbye dance. "No one expected us to get this far...[Tony] has worked so hard with me. This has been such an incredible experience."

First to be declared finalists, meanwhile, were—shocker!—Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas, who've never had to sweat it out for long come results time and who regained the top of the leaderboard last night after a two-week drought.

"Kristi's always had the hottest odds to win this," Winokur said in an interview played earlier in the evening. "What I respect the most is that she hasn't buckled under the pressure."

Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska will also be taking a well-earned trip to free-style territory (yay, lifts galore!) next week, along with Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke, who seemingly were headed for DWTS obscurity before receiving a literal shot in the arm.

Despite a ruptured tendon in his bicep that is keeping his left arm largely out of the picture, de la Fuente managed to pull off a samba—the dance that resulted in his injury a couple weeks ago—that was just shy of perfect, thanks to Len Goodman's 9 out of 10.

Tonight's elimination round also featured performances by those painfully cute tween dancers again, two of whom will be named champions of their respective half-pint competition, and a "Thriller" tribute from R&B singer Omarion.

Usher will perform on next week's finale.

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