LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kurt Warner’s “Dancing With the Stars” stint is over, but the Super Bowl champ is still a crowd pleaser.
The studio audience and Warner’s fellow contestants cheered “M-V-P! M-V-P!” as he was eliminated from the hit ABC show Tuesday.
Even judge Bruno Tonioli, who insulted Warner on Monday’s episode by saying, “Obviously there are people that are better than you,” praised the quarterback’s gentlemanly nature.
“He has proven a true sportsman,” Tonioli said before Warner was dismissed. “His attitude has been immaculate, incredible manners, and regardless of what happens, you have achieved a lot. You really are an American idol.”
Warner embodied that attitude after learning his fate, thanking his partner, the show, the fans, his wife and their seven children.
“I learned a long time ago that life isn’t always about winning and losing competitions, but it’s about relationships, it’s about impacting people,” he said. “And so I thank everybody at ‘Dancing With the Stars’ because it gave me an opportunity to impact people and build relationships, and that’s really what it’s all about.”
Warner and his professional partner, Anna Trebunskaya, came into Tuesday’s episode a point away from last place. Judges had praised the pair’s waltz and chacha _ “I’ve never seen you dance with so much charisma,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said _ but the couple only collected 24 points out of 30 for each dance.
Judges’ scores are combined with viewer votes to determine which celebrity is ousted each week.
Tuesday’s episode also included performances by John Legend and The Roots, Taio Cruz, and two pint-sized couples (ages 9 and 10) dancing a jive accompanied by celebrated 9-year-old pianist Emily Bear.
Football star Jerry Rice and sportscaster Kenny Mayne, both previous “Dancing” contestants, discussed the remaining competitors during their mock sports segment, “Dance Center.” Rice wore false eyelashes and a low-cut sequined top. Mayne also wore sequins.
Warner joins previously eliminated contestants Rick Fox, David Hasselhoff, Michael Bolton, Margaret Cho, Florence Henderson and reality stars Audrina Patridge and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.
Competing in Monday’s semifinal round will be actors Jennifer Grey and Kyle Massey, singer-actress Brandy and Bristol Palin.