Bachelor Jake waltzes off Dancing with the Stars; Shania Twain songs shine on American Idol
ABC's cameras caught Bachelor hunk Jake Pavelka stumbling a bit on Monday during his samba routine with Dancing pro Chelsie Hightower, leading to the lowest judges score of the night, the lowest score during the group dance-off and, ultimately, a trip out the door.
From the beginning, Pavelka seemed to sense he was a bit out of his depth. Before long, Dancing's competitors quickly separate into three categories -- serious contender, mediocre middlemen and comic relief. And we're at that point where the comic relief and mediocrities are quickly getting cut -- fellow Bottom Two dweller, Neicy Nash, I'm talking about you -- to make room for the Top Three competitors, Nicole Scherzinger, Evan Lysacek and Tampa-raised Erin Andrews.
Pavelka, another reality TV "star" famous mostly for looking cute on camera, worked hard to become a performer. But his occasional stumbles, clunky style and difficulty grasping the dance moves ultimately did him in -- revealing that a career piloting airplanes is little preparation for tackling a role on one of television's most-watched shows.
To make the whole thing even more emotional, Pavelka choked up while saying goodbye, holding back tears while talking about his "family" on the show. (I'm still amazed that ABC manages to end this live show on time week after week, while American Idol regularly whiffs the scheduled end of its broadcasts, including tonight).
Speaking of Idol, Shania Twain night proved a surprising delight, as nearly every contestant turned in performances that ranked among their best while tackling the tunes of country music's Canadian queen.
It helps when the singers are given real songs to wrap their voices around, and Twain's songbook proved fertile ground -- from St. Pete-raised Michael Lynche's Vandross-style take on It Only hurts When I'm Breathing, to Casey James channeling Rob Thomas on a soulful version of Don't and Lee Dewyze's Hootie-ish romp through You're Still the One.
Even some singers who have struggled early on had good nights, with cutie-pie teen Aaron Kelly turning You Got a Way into an ode to his mother and Siobhan Magnus belting out a powerful version of Any Man of Mine. The show's longtime front runners may have had to most trouble, with Lynche and Crystal Bowersox offering respectable if not explosive numbers.
Expect tomorrow's ejection episode to be surprising and painful for someone coming off such an impressive night.