With the chipper witlessness we love her for, Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Monday night called Ty Murray "the most valuable player of Season 8. With your hard work and determination, you remind people you can go places we've never seen." On Tuesday, she decided she never wanted to see him dance again, at least this season, and the others concurred.
Nobody was less surprised than Ty. "I got a whole new respect for what these guys do. Trying to teach me to dance is like teaching a blind guy to paint. I don't understand what makes it look better. I can see I'm not doing as good as the other people but I don't really know how to make it better. I'm just trying to remember the steps." What really surprised him was making it this far.
"We might be at the bottom this week, but week one we were the 13th-worst couple."
Most people think of Ty's brief spin on the global ballroom stage as an uplifting story. "If the others have climbed hills, you've climbed mountains," as judge Len put it. "With that dedication and work ethic, you've been a credit to everyone on the show."
Maybe that's the key. With grit and determination, anyone can achieve mediocrity! But I think the real secret of Ty's pop-hero success is that you could never predict what would happen. He was amazingly god-awful, then amazingly better. Wasn't he less boring than the professional dancers who've been auditioning for a spot on DWTS next season? In a world awash in tired rehashes and empty formulas endlessly recycled, DWTS gives us a scintilla of spontaneous unpredictability.
So now it's down to Melissa Rycroft, once the top contender, then injured and almost out, now fighting for her celebrity life, Gilles Marini the perfect dancer (at least last week), and the giggly kid who's every judge's darling, Shawn Johnson. I'm rooting for Melissa.