Dancing with Avery: Ejected from the Game

The “shocking” twist announced at the top of Dancing with the Stars last night was that there would be a double elimination. Usually these happen much later in the competition, but it was yet another attempt to shake up the show for season 18.

For those in the bottom of last week’s leaderboard:  Sean Avery (20 points), Swimmer Diana Nyad (18) and actor Billy Dee Williams (15), it was unwelcome news to start the show. The announcement of who was safe and who would go was done in batches and in round two Billy Dee found out the Force was with him. Yes, as predicted, his Star Wars-infused disaster of a Cha Cha Cha was a fan favorite and he was safe despite having the lowest judges scores.

Diana Nyad was eliminated within the show’s first hour.


Avery said in his rehearsal package, which featured him in a couple of quick shirtless takes, that he didn’t want to be the first to go home, and he was saved from that. Instead, he went second.

Unlike Nyad, Avery found out about his elimination after his group of three, which included actress/housewife NeNe Leakes and Australian pop star Cody Simpson, danced as the final three of the evening.

Here’s Avery’s work from last night, including the rehearsal footage, Salsa, judging, post-dance chatter and elimination.

I wonder, if Avery had the Salsa last week, would he have survived this week? In last week’s scores he was a single point off of NeNe, game show host Drew Carey and hunky singer James Maslow. I doubt he could’ve beaten Drew in the viewer votes, but I can imagine a scenario in this alternate universe where he could’ve overtaken either NeNe or James.

Avery looked far more at ease with the Salsa, even seeming to enjoy it. His comment about DWTS wanting constant smiles was excellent, although he had to understand it was part of the game too. No one wants to vote for someone who doesn’t look like they are having a good time. In the dance itself, he looked good. There were some footwork issues, but he had rhythm and he certainly moved and lifted Karina confidently. The final spin in the air was outstanding. The judges appreciated the work he put in too, giving him a 21 out of 30.

He would’ve been more protected had he survived this week. The leaderboard had five people (if you count him) at the bottom together. Billy Dee had an unfortunate Tango, which gave him another 15. There was a four-way tie at 21 with Drew, NeNe, actress Candace Cameron Bure and Avery. But we’ll never know how that might have panned out.

Three athletes are still in the running for the Mirror Ball. Skaters Charlie White and Meryl Davis are at the top this week, both earning 25. Charlie did a great tango and Meryl flew threw the air in a great Swing number. They’re tied in first with James. Paralympian Amy Purdy snagged a 24 for her Swing routine, which was also outstanding.

So with Avery out, PuckBuddys coverage of Dancing with the Stars concludes. If another NHL’er shows up in future seasons I’ll be happy to do this again.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some gratuitous ab-action, courtesy of James Maslow, who also did a Salsa this week. This was scored four points higher than Avery’s.

Jeff is excited to bring his love of dance competition shows to PuckBuddys after blogging about both “DWTS” and “So You Think You Can Dance” at jeffandwill.com. Jeff’s regular PuckBuddys beat includes the Red Wings and reviewing fiction that features gay hockey players. In addition, he’s written a young adult novel, Hat Trick, which details the coming out of two high school hockey players. He’s currently working on two sequels to that book. You can follow him on Twitter at @hockeyguynyc.

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