Monday night’s performance show ended on a dramatic note as “Little House on the Prairie” actress Melissa Gilbert was whisked off to the hospital after hitting her head during her paso doble with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. She tweeted later that she was diagnosed with a minor concussion and whiplash, but there were so many questions. It didn’t look like her head hit the floor, so how did she injure herself during the dance? Did Gavin DeGraw really carry her out of the studio, as reported? Maks also looked like he took a bad spill — what happened to him?
We learned all that and more, though without Melissa, as host Tom Bergeron informed viewers at the top of the show that her doctor advised to her to stay at home and rest. And as long as they make it through the results night, she’s safe to dance next week.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case for Sherri Shepherd. Yes, in case you forgot, it was still results night. And in somewhat of a surprise elimination, “The View” co-host and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy (Maks’s nicer brother) were booted from the competition.
In the bottom two with Disney star Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower, tears streamed down Sherri’s face as the results were read. “Sweet Sherri, oh, I know how hard this moment is,” Brooke Burke Charvet intoned, as Sherri wept and said goodbye to Val.
Sherri quickly turned the moment into an inspirational speech. “I just want to say thank you for letting me live a dream that I’ve always had,” said Sherri, who had earned mostly rave reviews from the judges the past few weeks. “I want to say to every person out there: That thing that scares you the most, that makes you say ‘I don’t know if I can do it’...run toward it, because it’s so amazing.”
(Even though she was absent, Melissa Gilbert weighed in on the decision via Twitter: “Truly stunned that @SherriEShepherd & @iamValC r eliminated.,” she ranted. “If they can go any of us is fair game! This makes my head hurt even more...”)
But back to all those questions about Melissa’s head injury: Tom Bergeron took us through the answers. “As you can see, Melissa is not here,” he noted. “She did suffer a mild concussion, on her doctor’s advice she’s taking a rest day.”
“And if they get through tonight, she’ll be able to compete going forward,” Bergeron added.
Sure enough, Melissa and Maks were safe, and we got to see exactly what happened. Judging from the slowed-down version of the performance that the producers aired, it looks like Melissa hit her head when Maks tripped and fell toward the end of the dance.
When she got backstage, some medics, contestants, and a very concerned-looking member of KISS stood around as she told everyone “I got hit in the head,” and that she was getting dizzy. Cut to a scene of Melissa with an oxygen mask, and Gavin carrying her to get help (how was the show going to let him get voted off after those kind of gentlemanly acts?)
After showing the footage, Tom Bergeron checked in with Maks, who indeed hurt his arm during the performance. “It took away from pain in my ankles, knees and shoulders, so it’s all good,” he said modestly. Maks then added he’s looking forward to next week, as is Melissa — though he modified his statement. “She’s a little sedated, so she doens’t know what she’s looking forward to,” he said.
Meanwhile, here were some other notable moments from the night:
* Speaking of next week’s show, get ready for Latin Week. Derek Hough joked that the pants might have to come off for some steamy performances, and Brooke had to remind everyone it was a family show when Jaleel White suggested “nudity” would be the way he would capture America’s attention.
* Donald Driver and Peta won the first “encore” dance, and did a repeat of their smooth paso doble. And yes, Donald was shirtless once again.
* We learned in a clip reel the professional dancers are all frenemies this season, because the “stars” are all quite talented — not a Kate Gosselin type in the bunch.
* KISS appeared for another crazed performance. And lucky for us Washingtonians, Tom Bergeron pointed out that DC is the first stop on their tour this summer.
* The Beek from the Creek was in the house — James Van der Beek stopped by to plug “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.”
* And we learned what Kyle Massey has been up to while not filming a reality show with Bristol Palin: starring in the new “DWTS” act in Las Vegas. He and some other former contestants returned to show off their new, highly improved moves.
* Finally, what happened to that “dance duel” twist that was supposed to happen? Apparently, producers saving it for next week.
Last week: ‘DWTS’: Everybody cries in Week 3