Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Toni Braxton departs “Dancing with the Stars” ballroom

October 22, 2008

braxton.jpgWe’ve seen it before on ”Dancing with the Stars.” Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how well you move across the ballroom floor or how much the judges admire your footwork, if fans don’t love you, you lose your dancing shoes (remember Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan in season No. 5?). Then again, if you have a sort of older, folksy appeal, voters seem to love it (Jerry Springer in season 3).

The latest example is Tuesday’s axing of singer Toni Braxton, even though she scored a point better than the bottom-rung contestants with 22 out of 30 points from judges. Below her at 21 was Lance Bass, who fell during his routine on Monday night. Even more shocking, perhaps, is that 82-year-old Cloris Leachman and her partner, Corky  Ballas, dubbed “Clorky,” managed to stay on the show, too, while scoring below Braxton.114361_0021_pre1.jpg

It’s not that Cloris can’t dance. She has proven in the past two weeks that she can glide, shake, twist and turn on the dance floor, albeit a bit more slowly than the others. And even Braxton admitted she could have done better.

But really, who was the better dancer?

Still, Grammy-winning singer Braxton had no hard feelings. Braxton recently stopped performing after being diagnosed with microvascular angina, which involves poor functioning of blood vessels nourishing the heart and can cause breathing problems. 

Tuesday, she said one of ther goals in appearing on DWTS was to improve her breathing so she could return to performing. “My goal was reached, I wanted to do better, I wanted to breathe better hough.jpgand I definitely was breathing better. I’ve come a long way from week one to week now,” Braxton said, adding that her “heart is much better.”
Show co-host Tom Bergeron asked Braxton if that meant she was ready to stage a comeback with a show in Las Vegas, where she has performed in recent years.
“I still have to build up on performing for an hour-and-a-half, so this is good, this has been really good for me,” she said.
Health concerns became a theme for Tuesday’s show, because dancer Julianne Hough, the partner to “Hannah Montana” star Cody Linley, was rushed to a hospital with a stomach ache.
Hough wrote about it on Wednesday on her blog at the Web site. 

“I was with my mom when I checked into the hospital,” Hough wrote. “The minute I got there TMZ, ET and other (news) outlets were waiting outside. I was like oh my goodness. It was amazing how fast news can travel.”
Hough wrote that before she left the hospital she asked the doctor for “a note to sleep in” so she could get out of a group dance rehearsal.
Elsewhere, the show’s hosts announced that because of scheduling problems, judge Len Goodman will be out for the next two weeks, so Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley will fill in for Goodman. We wonder whether he, like viewers, will be also be won over by the comedy of “Clorky,” more than their dancing. 

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)



Another mockery of this show keeping Cloris and voting out real dancers who are trying their best and improving their dancing skills..If I wanted to see an 80 year old be held up by her partner I would go to the local retirement home on a social night and watch them dance..Come on folks,there a some very talented dancers remaining,,nothing against Cloris but she in no way has the same skills as the rest of the Stars. This show is extremely entertaining and has a very good following,I would hate it to loose ratings and eventually get cancelled…Chin up TONI…you were terrific…


Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

It’s time to get real. This show is beginning to look and sound a lot like American Idol. It’s doesn’t seem to matter who is the better dancer, just the best liked or the most popular person. Everything is a little bit backward. The final judging should be left up to the judges instead of the public.

Posted by Lolitha Morrison | Report as abusive

I think it’s high time that Cloris Leachman needs to go! She should have gone the second week of the competition. People should be voting on the quality of the dance and not their favorite star! I for one have liked certain stars, but if they were not good at their dancing, then I did not vote for them. I feel the judges should be doing the voting only. I do indeed like Cloris Leachman, and at 82 she tries her best, but my MOM at 92 was dancing better! Toni Braxton should still be on the show!

Posted by Mary Ellen Corsello | Report as abusive

I agree that the judges should have the final say so popularity does not win out over talent. Toni is a far better dancer than Cloris who does more of a comedy routine. And what about Susan Lucci who dances like a robotic Stepford wife? How did she make it past Toni?!

Posted by julie richman | Report as abusive

In response to Julie Richman

-I think that Susan Lucci got the pity vote since she had two fractures in her foot when she performed this past week. Cloris just gets past with her votes. I know that everyone always gets upset that she isn’t eliminated…BUT then people should get out there and VOTE. I know that my roommates have been voting for Cloris and that is just one apartment. I am going to miss Toni…..

Posted by Alek Klein | Report as abusive

As a dance who is 50, I think Cloris is funny in all, but it is time for her to go so we can move on to the dancing and the one’s who want to win for their dancing

Posted by RICHARD | Report as abusive

I can’t believe that Cloris is still on the show. I love her comedic dance routine but come on guys. This si suppose to be a dance show. Remember.

Posted by aliceintexas | Report as abusive

Yes Cloris may be funny…. but this is “Dancing with the stars” not dancing with the comics. Toni Braxton shouldn’t have been kicked off because she actually has dancing skills.

Posted by TK | Report as abusive

Susan should have been kicked off…. she is soooo stiff. I love her acting, but not her dancing

Posted by Tiffani | Report as abusive

Viewer participation is essential to get higher and “richer” ratings. It works very nicely here for the producers but not for genuine talent. Take away the huge viewership that is kept entranced by being able to feel that their vote matters and the show would have lower ratings. It’s great marketing but quite dishonest if you are suggesting that you are taking talent seriously. The problem is that we as the viewing public aren’t really taking the talent seriously. People vote that way in elections as well.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Jim is right on the money. This is the way of democratic voting… if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. If you do vote, you don’t have the right to complain about someone else’s choice in voting. Since this is the format that the show has taken… these are the rules that must be followed. Perhaps they should change the format; but then the show would most likely not get the ratings to keep it on top. Nevertheless, the fact is Toni was a wonderful dancer and better by far than Cloris and Susan???????????????????????????????????  ??????????


As I was saying, Toni is a wonderful dancer and far better than Cloris and Susan; however we all must admit that to see someone 82 with as much energy and spirit as Cloris is something that gives us all hope that as we grow older we don’t have to sit in a corner and wait for someone to admit us to some home for the elderly where no one cares about us.. WHO WE ARE. Kudos to Cloris for all that she is and the enormous hope that she gives to everyone over 40-50! Thanks Cloris, you rock. But, please bring Toni back to the show. If you must take someone away, take Susan.


I stopped watching DWTS some time ago because 1) as a beginner dancer I often got confused by the show as to what the dance really is, e.g. Cha Cha is not the Cha Cha I’ve learned, etc., and 2) they always let the better dancers (in my opinion) go and kept the “funny” ones. Well, it’s just a show aiming to entertain, I guess. And maybe this way it draws more audience.


Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see