Natalie Coughlin may have made a splash with the judges, but the Olympic swimmer sank with the public vote, sending her out of the “Dancing With the Stars” competition on Tuesday night.
Natalie’s elimination takes her professional partner, Alec Mazo, out of the game as well, but he consoled his student following the news.
“I just want to tell you I’m very proud of you, you did a great job,” he said hugging a dejected Natalie. “Don’t worry. This is not the end of it. You’re going to be awesome in everything that you do.”
Natalie blamed the ousting on having not revealed enough enthusiasm for the show.
“I love this so much and I guess I didn’t show it — how much I loved it — but I really did and I’m sorry,” she said.
Before the elimination was announced, judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she was shocked that Natalie, who has had high scores all season long, was in the bottom two alongside Aaron Carter and his partner, Karina Smirnoff.
“I’m very disappointed,” Carrie Ann said. “Audience! Vote people! You’ve always had this incredible ability to mix strength and flexibility as well as fluidity, which is very unique. I’m very disappointed to see you there.”
While it was bad news for Natalie, there was a big treat in the show for Michael Jackson fans.
The cast of professional dancers, including Cheryl Burke, Derek Hough and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, performed a tribute to the late King of Pop, one which Michael’s mother — Katherine Jackson — witnessed first hand alongside La Toya Jackson (Access’ “Dancing” special guest correspondent) and Jermaine Jackson.
For exclusive reaction from the Jackson family on the tribute to Michael, tune into Access Hollywood on Wednesday.