LOS ANGELES >> Chaz Bono has gotten his walking papers on "Dancing with the Stars.
Tuesday’s edition of the hit ABC TV dance competition marked the last dance for Bono. Despite his cheerful, spirited style, he had struggled from the beginning and came in last in the judges’ assessment the night before.
When he got the bad news, the transgender activist said he had come on the program "to show America a different kind of man."
"If there was somebody like me on TV when I was growing up, my whole life would have been different," he said.
Soccer star Hope Solo, who also was in jeopardy, avoided being sent home and will stay in contention.
Along with her, five other celebrities remain in the contest: actors David Arquette and J.R. Martinez, reality TV personality Rob Kardashian, and TV hosts Ricki Lake and Nancy Grace. Judges’ scores combined with viewer votes determine who is kicked off the show each week.
Monday’s episode had included insults, an animal comparison and two nearly perfect performances.
A heated exchange between professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy and head judge Len Goodman stole the spotlight from first-place finishers Lake and Martinez.
Chmerkovskiy and his partner, Solo, landed near the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard Monday. With 20 points out of 30, they finished just ahead of Bono, in last place with 19 points.
When Goodman called Solo’s rumba "your worst dance of the whole season," Chmerkovskiy suggested the judge get out of the dance business.
Chmerkovskiy told one of the show’s hosts that the judges seem to pick on certain contestants, and he kept up the conversation after Monday’s episode.
"The judges have their favorites," he said. "They always have."
Bono’s professional partner, Lacey Schwimmer, agreed.
"They always have their favorites, and this season it’s completely clear who they are. I won’t name names, but we are not one of them," she said. "I’m actually proud of what Maks said. A lot of us don’t get the chance to stand up for us and our partners."
Schwimmer cried backstage during Monday’s episode and was still upset after the show, when she complained about the judges’ "rude" remarks about Bono.
"Every week he gets referred to as an animal," she said. "They always comment on his personality, and last I checked, this was a dancing show."
After the couple danced their tango, judge Bruno Tonioli said Bono was like "a cute little penguin trying to be a big menacing bird of prey." Tonioli had also compared Bono to an Ewok from "Star Wars."
Carson Kressley, Chynna Phillips, Kristin Cavallari, Elisabetta Canalis and Ron Artest have already been eliminated this season.