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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Rodeo rider Ty Murray about to get bucked off Dancing With the Stars

Ty murray dancing with stars 0309 ap He's been a game competitor, turning an earnest capacity for hard work and effort into a surprising level of dance proficiency after a wobbly start.

But it is time for rodeo rider Ty Murray to leave ABC's Dancing With the Stars.

It was clear during Monday's show that Murray, however earnest and likable, was in a different class than the four other dancers who remain. Still occasionally stiff and looking like he's thinking way too much during his numbers, Murray pulled off a tango and rhumba with a minimum of mistakes -- but also a minimum of flash.

A Murray departure would leave the competition to the four dancers who have shone brightest, almost from the first show: French actor Giles Marini, Bachelor contestant Melissa Rycroft, rapper Lil' Kim and gymnast Shawn Johnson.

Of course, reality shows love controversial surprises, so Johnson may be in a bit of danger tonight, simply because she's the fourth best dancer and may not have the fan base to stay in the game. The judges' enthusiastic reception to Rycroft's efforts, including a surprising perfect score for her last dance, seemed calibrated to help her recover from last week -- when she was nearly eliminated after an injury forced judges to score a rehearsal tape.

Lil-kim-dancing-hmed.h2 With so many predictable outcomes, it was up to the judges to add a bit of oddball spice, with head judge Len Goodman's head-scratching British-isms (note to Goodman: saying a dance couple goes together like "spotted dick and custard" has a different resonance in America).

Excitable judge Bruno Tonioli almost went one better, telling Lil' Kim she tried to look like a lady, but was more comfortable being a tramp during her waltz. Fortunately, he apologized before she delivered a righteous beatdown.

Now that's a performance I would have given a 10. Ejection tonight at 9 p.m.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:57pm]

    

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