Dancing With the Stars Recap: Ty Beats Lil' Kim, a Nation Mourns

Jaws dropped. Faces fell. Gangstas vowed revenge. Instead of a certain cowpoke everybody expected to skedaddle on Tuesday's elimination show, Dancing With the Stars gave Lil' Kim

the heave-ho. "There was a real shock in this room," confessed host Tom Bergeron. I'm sure nobody was more shocked than Ty Murray.

For much of the season, you could have forgiven Kim from breaking out into her hit tune: "I'm so far ahead,

Ya'll can't touch my last spread,

Cause most of ya'll is misled and underfed!"

But the audience overlap of hard-core hip-hop and ballroom dance is evidently insufficient for a fitfully inspired dancer (and ex-convict in a shooting case) to beat an almost invariably incompetent stomper like Ty. He apparently got enough viewer votes to offset the judges' nasty comments -- maybe, in fact, Len's martinet act so alienated rodeo fans they stampeded to thwart him and his veddy British uppity condescension. Whereas Kim's fans were watching the show behind bars and couldn't get to a phone. (Kim says when she was a jailbird, all the girls' favorite show was DWTS.) Kim got a final ovation before she got the boot -- not that it did her any good.

My cynical take on this: If justice, common sense, and conventional wisdom had prevailed, the headlines would've read, "Ho-hum, Ty the bull rider got thrown, so what?" But shafting Kim makes the show big news, with headlines featuring the word "shock" a lot. If you were a producer, which result would you engineer? I'm sure they tally all the viewer votes carefully, but since they're not publicized, I'll bet they mess with them for maximum commercial effect. Or maybe they subcontracted the vote-counting to the Russian government. As Stalin said, "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes."