Most Memorable Year Night ended in a bit of a shock for Dancing with the Stars
fans. After being in the Top 5 for five seasons, Sharna Burgess was eliminated from the competition with her celebrity partner Derek Fisher. The elimination not only bucked season 25's trend of eliminating female contestants but also seemed unfair as Derek was up against the (very awkward) Nick Lachey. However, just because Derek and Sharna's elimination was surprising doesn't mean it was unwarranted.
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Derek wasn't the worst dancer in the competition and it's true that Nick is technically a poorer dancer than Derek. Nick has completely plateaued in the competition, while Derek was showing slight improvements. Derek's jazz routine was also a lot more fun to watch than Nick's boring contemporary routine. However, Derek's final dance had very little to do with why he was eliminated. Derek simply hasn't been that memorable or interesting in season 25.
Derek's dances haven't been bad but they haven't exactly been good either. Even though he was paired with one of the true all-stars of the Dancing with the Stars cast, Sharna, Derek drifted completely into the background. Everything about Derek on the show was transient. From the routines to his personality, he existed but he didn't make an impact.
Even if Derek did show slight improvement from week 1 to his elimination in week 5 it wasn't enough improvement that his elimination was a transgression against the Dancing with the Stars gods. Derek was fine and at this point in the competition, a dancer needs to be more than just adequate.
There are contestants left on the show who are worst dancers than Derek, but there's not a huge margin between them. Terrell Owens and Nick Lachey aren't great but they are around the same level as Derek was, if maybe a step or two below. However, maybe most importantly, Terrell and Nick have real emotional hooks to them.
Dancing with the Stars is pushing the gimmick of the dueling married couples with Nick and Vanessa a little too hard but it's at least a fun and (occasionally) heartwarming story. Meanwhile, TO might be a controversial figure on the show but he at least inspires some type of passion. Derek, besides a cute relationship with his mom, didn't have much going for him to stick around.
The real elephant in the room when it comes to Derek's elimination isn't the jazz dance he went out on, but the routine that "caused" him to be eliminated, his Guilty Pleasure cha cha. Derek's Fresh Prince-inspired dance was fun but it lacked (a lot) of polish.
There was way too much choreography stuffed into too short a routine. Derek pulled off some nice moves but mostly he was all over the place. Derek was having fun but the dance was, admittedly, a mess. It's dance that was deservedly in the bottom, even if the judges were pretty lenient.
It is sad to see Derek and Sharna go so early in the competition. Derek might not have been that engaging but he was likable. Yet as sad as his elimination might be it wasn't undeserved. It was Derek's time to go.
But what do you think? Did viewers make the right call with Derek's elimination? Should Nick have been eliminated instead? Were you shocked that Derek was voted out?
(Image and video courtesy of ABC)