It did not seem right to let this day pass — a day filled with more Schwarzenegger-related revelations, Lady Gaga unseating Oprah from a Forbes list and high-priced fashion advice from Gwyneth Paltrow — without saying a fond farewell to Ralph Macchio.
Macchio was eliminated from “Dancing With the Stars” last night in a predictable but nevertheless sad departure.
Back in March, I threw my DWTS allegiance behind the actor despite the fact that I hadn’t seen him attempt a single dance step yet. I figured, hey, he’s the Karate Kid. He can’t lose.
But the competition was too tough. And it was clear this day was coming, especially after last week, when Macchio suffered from a knee injury and his partner, Karina Smirnoff, started squealing in rehearsals about how the moment was so similar to what happened to Macchio’s character in “The Karate Kid.” Right then, I thought: he’s toast. Everyone knows you have to save the Karate Kid comeback motif for the finals. It was a classic case of turning on the Daniel-san too early, also commonly referred to as Preemptive Crane Kicking. And it’s never a good sign.
That said, Macchio — who will turn 50 later this year, despite the fact that he looks exactly like he did in 1984 — will be missed now that’s he off “Dancing.” In fact, here are some specific things I think we’ll all miss about him.
We’ll miss how adorably committed Macchio was during every routine, even on those occasions when he simultaneously appeared to be dancing and hailing a cab.
We’ll miss the weekly hope, which was perpetually dashed, that “Outsiders” co-star Matt Dillon might show up in the audience. Whatever happened to doing it for Johnny, man?
Similarly, we’ll miss the even greater perpetually dashed hope that William Zabka might show up in the audience and attempt to pull the ‘ol sweep the leg move.
We’ll miss complaining each week that the “Dancing With the Stars” costumers were totally missing an opportunity to dress Macchio like a shower.
And we’ll miss how sweetly determined Macchio was during every performance, even when his partner was dressed like a disco leopard.
While not a foregone conclusion, it seems like a safe bet that Hines Ward is going to win the whole thing, especially in light of his’ and partner Kym Johnson’s triumph following Johnson’s neck injury. It’s a development that, while obviously an accident, borrows straight from “The Karate Kid” playbook at exactly the right moment.
Ward is probably the best dancer on the show this season and deserves to win. But if and when he does, just remember that his end-of-season storyline is pure Daniel-san.
Stay gold, Macchio. Stay gold.