After eight weeks of low scores, frustrated judges, furious viewers and one instantly infamous neon ruffled shirt, Sean Spicer was eliminated from ‘‘Dancing With the Stars.’’
Although President Donald Trump’s former press secretary was demonstrably lacking in dance skills, he made it into the top six of ABC’s competition series, thanks to determined viewer votes. That is, until Monday night, when Spicer performed an Argentine tango to Destiny’s Child’s ‘‘Bills, Bills, Bills’’ and a foxtrot to One Direction’s ‘‘Story of My Life.’’ (It was a ‘‘boy band and girl group”-themed episode.)
Spicer, along with dance partner Jenna Johnson, was voted in the bottom two alongside country music star Lauren Alaina and her partner, Gleb Savchenko. Thanks to new rules this season, the judges - Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman - choose which couple survives for another week. Goodman only weighs in if there is a tie, but there was no need for that on Monday.
‘‘It’s never easy to send anyone home, because I know that both couples have given your heart and soul to every moment of this competition,’’ said Inaba, only prolonging the obvious. ‘‘But for me, there is one couple that stands out. The couple I want to save is Lauren and Gleb.’’
Tonioli didn’t even pretend to mull over the decision: ‘‘Sean, I really thank you. You’ve been such a good sport, you’ve been so entertaining,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve been hard on you. But I have to say, Lauren and Gleb.’’
And so Spicer had to say goodbye. Minutes later, he had a message from his biggest fan, who has been tweeting support for weeks:
‘‘A great try by @seanspicer,’’ Trump tweeted. ‘‘We are all proud of you!’’
Trump deleted an earlier tweet mid-show that encouraged viewers to vote for Spicer.
Spicer’s increasingly long tenure on the show has been controversial since the beginning. But it peaked last week, when the judges were visibly frustrated that much more talented celebrity dancers were being sent home because Spicer, who received consistently low scores, was never in the bottom two. In addition to tweets from Trump, many on social media - including Donald Trump Jr. - urged fans to vote for Spicer to anger ‘‘Hollywood’’ and ‘‘liberals’’ and ‘‘leftist elites.’’ (Even though some of the biggest ‘‘DWTS’’ viewership comes from states that voted for Trump.)
Alas, Spicer is no more. As usual, after his performances, the judges strained to say something positive - typically about how he was trying hard - yet couldn’t hold back their disdain for his dancing.
‘‘As for the tango, it was more of an Argentine struggle,’’ Tonioli said sadly, as the crowd started booing. Inaba said Spicer was lacking artistry. Goodman started to give a technical critique, but then abruptly decided it wasn’t worth his time. ‘‘I didn’t like it. There you go,’’ he said crisply.
After they had similar criticism for Spicer’s foxtrot, guest judge Joey Fatone (the ‘N Sync star and ‘‘DWTS’’ alumnus) tried to come to his rescue. ‘‘You always give 110 percent, no matter what anybody says,’’ Fatone offered. ‘‘You’re taking a beating sometimes, and you keep going. That’s the best thing you can do.’’
When Spicer’s ‘‘DWTS’’ casting was announced August, it sparked an immediate backlash because many were furious that the falsehood-prone former White House official was receiving a national television platform to try to mend his reputation. Over the past two months, Spicer’s video packages that preceded each performance were right out of the show’s ‘‘redemption’’ playbook: He told emotional family stories. He joked around. He talked about how much he loved his wife. On Monday, he boasted about his weight loss, which is a frequent side effect of ‘‘DWTS’’: ‘‘It’s the most amazing cardio workout ever . . . I’m down close to 20 pounds already.’’
As the episode concluded, Bergeron asked whether Spicer had a message for his original partner, Lindsay Arnold, who missed the last two weeks of Spicer’s run after a death in her family.
‘‘I miss you. I wish I could have done better. Thank you for everything you did,’’ Spicer said. ‘‘Thanks to everyone who supported me. Thanks to my family for everything they did. I’ve loved being on this show, thank you for making me part of it. God bless you all, happy Veterans Day.’’