Those of us who have seen some of his best ice dance routines are well aware that Charlie White was born to rock tails. But I don't think any of us were ready for his smoothest DWTS moves yet --or to see him go before the finals.
The final announcement was especially shocking after White's two stellar Week Nine performances. Looking, as judge Bruno Tonioli said, like Fred Astaire at the start and Baryshnikov at the end of his first Week Nine routine, White took New York, New York to new heights of elegance.
But Week Nine was a series of top scoring performances, in a season that has tested the skills of all the choreographers and contestants like none before.
In fact, just before dancing his tails off, White was told that he and Sharna were "in jeopardy," after last week's votes were tallied. This, after he'd given one of his strongest performances of the season.
The intro package leading into his foxtrot routine was further proof that White was getting a lot more comfy in front of the camera. At one point, he warned Sharna about yet another potentially "dangerous" cane she'd brought out for his samba routine.
He could, he said, just see her smacking him right in the nose with it, as if to say, "Welcome to New York, bitch."
That's a few f-bombs and a bitch so far. And somehow, he makes even that sound adorable.
His samba to Mo' Money Mo' Problems was a tad less successful because, as White feared, he couldn't quite bring the "funk."
But the priceless video of White playfully psyching himself up in the practice room mirror in Burgess' absence was another example of why thousands, including judge Carrie Ann Inaba, want to live in White's World.
At the end of the video, White hangs his head and says, "And now...everyone knows I'm crazy."
I beg to differ. What everyone knows is what Len Goodman told White after that samba. He deserved to be in the finals.
Now, we know who the winner will be -- Vegas picked White's partner, Meryl Davis from day one. And though Amy Purdy is a strong contender and possible "in your face, naysayers" pick, Davis is a pretty safe bet. Last week's half-hearted wrist slaps from the judges fooled no one.
And White will be cheering the loudest of all -- in fact, his last words after hearing the final verdict were, "And now, I can 100 percent be a cheerleader -- Team Meryl!"
That is why even if White doesn't win the whole thing, he can rest assured that he has danced -- and laughed -- his way into the hearts of even more millions on DWTS.
So in a way, he still won.
And note to guest judge Kenny Ortega, choreographer for stage and screen: White's the real deal, dude. The look, the laugh -- off the charts on the "likeability" scale.
Start getting that contract ready now -- beat the rush!
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