"Dancing with the Stars" chose its three celebrity finalists on Tuesday night, eliminating one of the final four from the competition.
Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco became the 100th celebrity eliminated on the ABC reality competition, as ESPN's Erin Andrews advanced to compete in the finals for the coveted mirrorball trophy alongside Olympic men's figure skating champ Evan Lysacek and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger.
"This was awesome," Chad told show co-host Tom Bergeron. "I enjoyed the journey, I met some wonderful people. I got some great criticism that's only made me stronger, man. And I met… the beautiful Cheryl Burke, and in my eyes really, I've already won… So this is beautiful."
On Monday night's competition show, Chad had put in a strong ballroom showing with Cheryl, waltzing to a score of 27 in the first round, and later netting 25 for the pair's samba. The night was an emotional one for Chad, however, as May 17 would have been the 27th birthday of his close friend and teammate Chris Henry, who died after falling off the back of a truck following what authorities said was a domestic dispute, in December 2009.
"Happy birthday to Chris Henry, may he rest in peace," Chad said on Monday night's show.
Interestingly, Chad had been Tweeting earlier in the day about the significance between his Bengals' jersey number – 85, and Chris' – 15, which adds up to 100. Coincidentally, he was the 100th star eliminated from the show the following night.
"Showtime in 8 minutes, going HAM tonight in memory of Chris Slim Henry R.I.P #15 happy birthday bruh, smile on me 2night 85+15=100 ways," Chad Tweeted on Monday night.
Chad's journey on "Dancing" was a dramatic one. After showing promise early in the season, he stumbled a few times, showing off stiff moves instead of the graceful style competitors like Nicole quickly picked up. He struggled at times in rehearsals with Cheryl going from flirty Chad, to moody Chad, to determined Chad.
The athlete, however, eventually channeled his drive and improved enough to bring him to the final four, a feat judge Len Goodman even complimented him on as Chad was the only celebrity in the semifinal round who had no dance experience.
"It makes me more competitive," Chad told show co-host Brooke Burke on Monday night of his "Dancing" disadvantage. "That's what this process is about on 'Dancing with the Stars' — It's about people with no dance experience at all, climbing those mountains, getting over those obstacles. So, you know, I'm enjoying it all the way."
There was one time, however, that Chad didn't enjoy the show. Just one week ago, Chad was relegated to the bottom 2 for the first time, and he nearly broke down on live television.
"I'm not even gonna lie, my heart racing like this is a life or death situation, man I might cry on TV, I work to[o] hard to go home," he previously Tweeted.
While not widely known, during his time in Los Angeles – where "Dancing" is filmed – Chad became very involved with his fans via Twitter. Several times the football star organized movie nights, Tweeting a location and promising to pay for tickets, popcorn and a soda, for fans who met up with the star at a local movie theater – promises he made good on. He also flew in some of his fans out to Los Angeles to support him on Monday night's "Dancing."
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