What happened:Tom DeLay looked rough dancing a week ago and even worse on Monday night. With stress fractures in both feet, it seemed that the former politician was out of options. While he made it through Monday night's show, he announced Tuesday night that he was ready to take the advice of his doctors and withdraw from the competition. Sadly for Tom, he went home the week before he would have been doing his home state Texas two-step, so host Tom Bergeron told him he could come back and do it in the season finale if his feet recover by then.
This did not, however, mean that there would be no elimination. Given the large cast that started the season, the producers were apparently able to accommodate a double elimination at this point without throwing off the schedule. (Given the frequency of injuries in recent seasons, it could even be that part of the rationale for a larger cast is precisely so there's wiggle room to avoid skipping a week's elimination if someone has to quit.)
The bottom two, not unexpectedly, were Michael Irvin and Debi Mazar, and the "Entourage" actress got the boot. Debi took her defeat pretty well, while Michael lived to dance another day. Debi was a short-timer from the start, but it was sad to see her multi-colored skirt flutter off the stage for good.
Big surprises: The biggest surprise of the night was the encore dance, which went to Chuck Liddell and Anna Trebunskaya's samba. Granted, the judges don't always give the encore dance to the highest-scoring couple, but out of thirteen couples dancing on Monday night, only two scored worse than Chuck and Anna and one tied them, meaning there were nine better dances to choose from. Maybe the judges just really wanted to see Chuck's puffy samba sleeves again.
The guests:Queen Latifah appeared (in sparkle pants!) to sing, with Cheryl Burke and Maksim Chmerkovskiy dancing along. Cheryl and Maks seemed tickled to be accompanied by Queen Latifah, who definitely beats another Phil Collins cover by the house band in terms of sheer cool. She returned later to perform a crowd-pleasing "Ease On Down The Road," making her one of the show's better musical guests.
Hip-hop dance troupe Jabbawockeez showed up for a very slick version of "Singin' In The Rain." It featured a very brief appearance by Mark Ballas and Lacey Schwimmer, who seemed to expect their appearance (and the doffing of their masks) to generate more audience gasps than it actually did.
It's filler time: The show brought in Steve Wozniak to do some mathematical analysis of likely winners, and pitted him against an ESPN statistician. Woz engaged in some entirely ridiculous numerology having nothing to do with mathematics, while the statistician actually did make some sense. Even for a filler segment on this particular show, it was dumb.
Linda Holmes is a frequent contributor to msnbc.com