Charlotte McKinney, the model who became a sensation after she starred in a racy Super Bowl commercial for Carl's Jr., was voted off ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Monday night, but it was judge Bruno Tonioli’s comments to the eliminated contestant that really caused an uproar in the ballroom.
"You're never going to win the Nobel prize for quantum physics, but you are easy on the eyes and you produce wonderful shapes,” Tonioli told McKinney, who has been bullied online for her figure so much this season that she ran out of a rehearsal crying last week.
“To be honest, I just really thought it was uncalled for,” McKinney said on “Good Morning America” of Tonioli’s comment. “Especially the week before, I’ve really been trying to be used as a platform for social media bullying and really just stop any negativity and just talk about being positive, and it just came out of nowhere.”
The model put on a strong face, however, adding, “It was silly but sometimes on live TV you just forget. I mean, I’ve heard it all. At the end of the day, just shake it off.” McKinney says she wasn’t shocked by her elimination because she wasn’t able to devote as much time to practicing as she would have liked.
“After shooting all day or any press all day and then going to practice you’re just emotionally, physically drained,” she explained. “I just think I had too much stress during all this and I didn’t get to focus.”
Even though she and Chris Soules were both in jeopardy of going home Monday based on their performances from last week’s show, McKinney ended up being voted off because she had the lowest combined total of viewer votes and judges' scores for her cha-cha.
“I learned so much from this experience and I’m so grateful and it’s been such an amazing ride and it is what it is,” she said, adding that her pro partner, Keo Motsepe, is now a “great friend that I’ll have for a lifetime.”
Before Monday’s elimination, each star danced one routine set to the show’s Latin night theme.
Rumer Willis: The actress’s disco-themed salsa got the evening started on a high note. Head judge Len Goodman called the performance “the best dance I’ve seen this season.” Julianne Hough said she enjoyed seeing Willis “let loose” and wanted more of that from her. Bruno Tonioli said Willis had gone “completely disco fabulous” and Carrie Ann Inaba said she had initial misgivings about mixing the disco with salsa but found the result “fantastic.” Willis earned three 8s and a 9, for a total of 33 out of a possible 40 points.
Charlotte McKinney: After appearing to lack focus and being distracted by her work email during rehearsals, the model, who is dyslexic, earned a standing ovation for her rumba -- but judges roundly panned her effort. Hough said she felt “sad” because it appeared McKinney didn’t take her pro partner Keo Motsepe’s instruction and seemed to be picking up her feet during slides. Inaba told the model that everybody was being a little hard on her because she had “so much potential.” An unhappy looking Goodman said “I tell you about this show. You get out what you put in. The more you sweat the better you get.” And there were murmurs of disapproval when Tonioli told McKinney: “You’re never going to win the Nobel Prize for quantum physics but you are easy on the eyes,” then added that she produced “very good shapes” but appeared to lack concentration. McKinney earned two 5s and two 6s, for a total of 22 points.
Michael Sam: Judges had constructive criticism for the football player after his salsa. Tonioli called the performance “a great effort” but said Sam’s focus on his partner resulted in his timing being “really, really wrong.” Inaba found the routine “a little choppy” and said she didn’t feel safe watching the lifts. Goodman admitted he found it “a little bit rough and ready” but he thought he lifts were good. “Dance is a little bit like life. You have good days and not so good days. Tonight, not so good,” he said, adding that Sam should focus and come back stronger. Hough agreed, saying: “I think the last two weeks were definitely stronger.” Sam earned four 6s, for a total of 24 points.
Riker Lynch: Judges liked the R5 band member’s salsa, but Inaba said she wanted to see Lynch dominate his pro partner, Allison Holker, more. Hough agreed, saying the pair danced well separately but needed more chemistry and interaction together. Goodman said he didn’t think Lynch was the best dancer this season, but added: “You’re not the best but you could be, because you’ve got flair.” Tonioli said the performance was “salsa full throttle.” Lynch earned three 9s and a 7, for a total of 34 points.
Suzanne Somers: The actress, wearing a fruit-laden headdress, turned in a judge-pleasing salsa, although Inaba said she’d like to see more emotional depth from Somers at this stage of the competition. Somers’s partner, Tony Dovolani, said he and the actress put everything they had into the performance. Hough and Tonioli both remarked that the routine had lots of salsa content, but both saw mistakes. “You lost a couple of steps … but good performance,” Tonioli said. Goodman told Somers the routine was “a bit like your headdress: that was juicy, fruity and full of fun.” Somers earned three 6s and a 7, for a total of 25 points.
Chris Soules: Coming off a disappointing performance last week, the “Bachelor” star was determined to do better this week with his Argentine tango and he did. “You are the comeback kid!” an enthusiastic Hough said. Tonioli agreed, calling Soules “so much stronger, so connected, so present. I could feel the sparks fly between you two,” he said, referring to Soules’s partner, Witney Carson. Inaba said she was impressed with the way Soules carried himself. “You were powerful, you were magnificent,” she said. Goodman said Soules put in the work after a bad prior week. “For me, that’s the best dance you’ve done, so well done for that.” Soules earned four 7s, for a total of 28 points.
Robert Herjavec: Tonioli told the “Shark Tank” star that his smoldering rumba demonstrated commitment between him and his pro partner, Kym Johnson, but also said Herjavec needed to work on his hands and the continuous flow of the dance style. Saying the pair’s chemistry was “ridiculous,” Inaba advised Herjavec to provide a firmer frame for her partner and sustain his movement more. Herjavec complied by demonstrating more movement during the judges’ critique. When Goodman told him he was “middle of the pack” and needed better hip action and more fluidity, Herjavec also started moving and the audience cheered. Hough went against her fellow judges, saying: “I thought that was one of your best performances.” Herjavec earned three 7s and an 8, for 29 points.
Patti LaBelle: The singer’s cha-cha was a crowd-pleaser but all four judges said that the routine needed more content at this stage of the competition. Inaba said that, compared to last week’s performance, LaBelle’s routine tonight left her “a little underwhelmed.” Goodman told the singer she had “great musicality” and charm, but directed him criticism about more content to her pro partner, Artem Chigvintsev. LaBelle earned two 5s and two 6s, for a total of 22 points.
Willow Shields: The 14-year-old actress earned a standing ovation for her intense paso doble. “First paso of the season. That’s going to be hard to beat,” Goodman said. Hough said the actress had improved “beyond belief” every week. “Keep doing what you’re doing,” she said. Tonioli said Shields was getting the taste of the competition and learning how to become a dancer, and Inaba said the actress was “a seasoned performer” when she hit the dance floor. Shields earned four 8s, for a total of 32 points.
Noah Galloway: A double amputee, the U.S. Army veteran has been dancing with a prosthetic leg. For this routine, an Argentine tango, he rehearsed with a prosthetic arm for the first time but ultimately decided not to use it. Since he doesn’t generally wear a prosthetic arm, he wasn’t comfortable enough with it. Despite that, he showed great strength and dexterity, bending and lifting his pro partner, Sharna Burgess. The audience stood, cheered and applauded when the routine ended. Hough said she was “blown away” by Galloway’s flexibility and praised Burgess’s choreography, and Goodman agreed. “Your imaginative choreography is fantastic,” Goodman told Burgess. Tonioli said Galloway’s lifts were “out of this world.” Inaba also praised Galloway, but drew boos from the crowd when she mentioned that she saw an out-of-sync step from Galloway. Galloway earned two 7s and two 8s, for a total of 30 points.
Nastia Liukin: The Olympian’s samba earned mixed reviews from judges. Inaba loved Liukin’s flexibility but Tonioli cautioned against being so flexible that Liukin overextended her moves. Goodman called Liukin “a fantastic dancer.” Liukin earned two 9s and two 8s, for a total of 34 points.
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough: 34
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: 34
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 33
Willow Shields and Mark Ballas: 32
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: 30
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: 29
Chris Soules and Witney Carson: 28
Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani: 25
Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd: 24
Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe: 22
(They were voted off.) Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev: 22