Even though he ended up surviving for six weeks on Dancing With the Stars, Chaz Bono never became much of a dancer. He isn’t naturally outgoing anyway, and never developed the stamina or the lightness of foot to perform anything but the most elementary moves. But his “journey,” as the cliché goes, was still worthwhile and will be remembered fondly by most viewers.
The “author and activist” had the lowest vote total this week, and leaves Season 13 in seventh place. Strictly on the merits, Chaz probably should have left in the first or second week, but he and Lacey Schwimmer had a substantial number of supporters for reasons that weren’t strictly about dancing – Cher fans who wanted to support her only child, and those who felt a need to stand up for a transgendered contestant on what is at its core a pretty conservative show.
“I wanted to show America a different kind of man,” said Chaz upon his elimination, but when you get right down to it, the longer he lasted on DWTS, the easier it became to ignore the reason for his fame. He didn’t avoid the topic of being transgendered, but it didn’t come up every week either. And in the end, he was a lot like any struggling contestant on the show, taking pride in mastering some new steps, and becoming angry (as he did Monday) when the judges used dismissive language to describe his efforts. It’s probably for the best that he departs now, as the workload for the dancers is about to go up, and he was barely hanging on physically as it was.
Aside from the elimination, and a brief appearance from Chelsie Hightower (who is missed this season), the highlight of the results show was the aftermath of Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s blowup Monday following Len Goodman’s harsh critique of his rumba with partner Hope Solo. Maks apologized for the most inflammatory of his comments, his declaration that “this is my show.” He said his thoughts came out the wrong way, and that might be believable for someone who didn’t grow up speaking English. Still, he and Hope were in the “not necessarily the bottom two,” and will need significant improvement immediately to last past next week.