Photo Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC
Ralph Macchio may have been the best around as the crane-kicking star of 1984's The Karate Kid -- but he'll have to settle for fourth best on this season of Dancing With the Stars. Macchio and his pro partner Karina Smirnoff were booted from the dance competition Tuesday night after earning the lowest scores Monday.
The leaves three other stars vying for the top spot in the finale next week: Chelsea Kane and her partner Mark Ballas, Hines Ward and his partner Kim Johnson, and Kirstie Alley and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who were also in the bottom two. The trophy will go home with the winner next Tuesday.
"I will never forget how the fans have driven us through every week," Macchio said after the loss. "It inspired me. I would run here every Monday for us to present what we worked on."
He also thanked his partner, saying, "Karina, you have inspired me in so many ways with your heart, your talent, your class, your integrity as an artist, and even more so as a human being," he said. "I am proud to have been your dance partner and even more proud to be your friend."
Macchio later admitted that he had a sense he might be the one to go. "We feel like the comments from the judges last night put us in a pretty tough position -- even for our fan base -- to pull out of it," Macchio, 49, told People. "That was unfortunate because I thought some of the comments were disrespectful and not constructive for how I can better myself."
He added that he thought the judges were "making fun" of him and Smirnoff, and he feels that was wrong of them. "I thought we earned respect over the season," he said. "It just felt like the playing field wasn't level for some reason last night. That was disappointing. But I was ready for this (elimination)."
Macchio will miss Smirnoff most of all. "It's going to be separation anxiety for sure," he said. "You're literally in a room for eight hours a day, for two-and-a half months. We've become such great friends throughout. I think we've enhanced each others' lives."
Smirnoff agrees. "Sometimes you have to create and force this chemistry and try to pretend that you're friends," she said. "This was real -- every moment we were together."