On the 'DWTS' Scene: Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke on Their Surprise Elimination
For the second week in a row (third if you thought Florence Henderson was robbed, which -- let's face it, she was), there's been another shocking elimination on 'Dancing With the Stars.'
Former pro basketball star Rick Fox and partner Cheryl Burke were sent home despite having higher scores (61) than other "in jeopardy" duos actor Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer (59) and teen activist Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas (57.)
"This is the most shocking elimination I've had in 10 seasons," Burke said after the show. "It shows you that nobody's safe and you have to vote. Rick did the best he could. It was our best night. Better to go out on top."
After Palin and Ballas were called safe, Schwimmer assumed that she and Massey would be exiting. "I looked over and saw Rick and Cheryl and said [to Kyle], 'we're going home,'" Schwimmer said. "What sucked is that we lost our best friends. When they left I started crying. How sucky is it that they have to go, but how awesome that we get to stay. It was awful, though. I hate being in that position."
Fox and Burke have been shown the door, but the classy duo took the high road as they spoke to AOL TV on the post-show press line.
"This has been a positive experience," Fox mused. "It challenges you to step up. I learned to dance and also how to communicate in different ways with my daughter, my girlfriend [Eliza Dushku], family members and friends ... this has made me a stronger person and made my relationships stronger across the board.
"There is a side to me, as a former professional athlete, that's very closed off and shut-down," Fox continued. "But [by doing this show] I learned it's OK not to have full control."
Just as Florence Henderson and Audrina Patridge went out after achieving high scores, so did Fox. "It's amazing that this was the week that we really came together," said Burke. "We let everything go. We didn't think too much about the technique of the dance. We just went out and had fun. This was Rick's breakthrough week."
The surviving contestants were stunned that it's the end of the road for Fox and Burke.
"I'm shocked," said Jennifer Grey. "Rick's such a great dancer and so appealing and sweet. He and Cheryl are great together and I love hanging out with them. I'm sad to see those guys go."
"This is a surprise to everyone," Brandy Norwood said. "Rick did amazing on Monday night. I am so proud of him."
Norwood shuddered at the theory that once couples give their best dances they're then voted off. "You said it, not me," she said to AOL TV, as if she were almost afraid to jinx herself. After a beat, she somberly added, "It's really true."
What's next for Fox and Burke now that they don't have to learn demanding dances each week? Fox plans to attend his daughter's basketball games and swim meets. "I'm going to reconnect [with people], go see a basketball game and [do] the other little things that were so much a part of my existence," he said.
Burke will be back for results shows on Tuesdays and has a memoir coming out on Valentine's Day. "It's called 'Dancing Lessons,'" she revealed.