It’s not the way either of them wanted it, but Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean and two-time mirror-ball champion Cheryl Burke were voted off Dancing With the Stars last night, just missing out on advancing to next week’s semi-finals.
A.J. McLean and Cheryl Burke Voted Off
“This is has been one hell of a ride and I couldn’t have picked a better partner to go on this journey with,” McLean said as the credits were rolling on last night’s episode. “So, thank you to everyone…”
The couple went out on Icons week in which celebrities paid tribute to their heroes. McLean chose one of his singing icons — the late Freddie Mercury of Queen. Burke said McLean reminds her of him. The singer said that he’s been compared to the legend before in terms of stage presence and mannerisms.
However, the Backstreet Boys band member said that his real, true-life icon was his maternal grandmother. “I can honestly say I don’t think I’d be here today doing what I do without my grandmother’s influence,” McLean said. “My father left when I was about 3 years old, so my mom moved in with her parents. My grandmother was the one who picked me up from school, took me to my auditions, helped teach me to play piano, and was truly my biggest fan.”
Fortunately, McLean says his grandmother, who passed away in 2001, was able to see her grandson perform in 1999 at the height of his career with the Backstreet Boys. “I’m going to go out there tonight and give it my all,” McLean said. “I know I have two people in the crowd — my grandmother and Freddie Mercury, this one’s for you guys!”
McLean and Cheryl Burke danced the Viennese Waltz to Queen’s Somebody to Love. The judges’ post-dance comments were somewhat positive, but it was clear that the duo had had better nights. “That was a tough one,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba began. “You started out strong…then, did you lose the turn? And the grip? But what I do want to say is you’re opening your chest more…I really like that.”
Judge Derek Hough complimented McLean on improving his frame. “It was beautiful,” the former DWTS competitor said. Next, judge Bruno Tonioli suggested to McLean that he was so pumped up he got himself into a jumble. “When you tense [up, your arms] look like an airplane wing,” Tonioli said.
The couple earned a total of 23 points. They were placed in the bottom two based on scores and viewer votes. The judges had to decide between saving McLean and Burke or ice skater Johnny Weir and his partner Britt Stewart, who were also in the bottom two.
The judges were not unanimous in their decision. Tonioli opted to save Weir and Stewart; Hough saved McLean and Burke, putting Inaba in the position of acting as a tiebreaker. It wasn’t an easy call, but she opted to save Weir, ending McLean and Burke’s quest for the mirror-ball trophy. Don’t miss the DWTS semi-finals next week. Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.