Tavis Smiley Takes Final Bow on 'Dancing With the Stars,' Blames Book Tour

The best-selling author credited his quick departure to nonstop traveling and limited practice

While some breathed a sigh of relief on Monday’s Dancing With the Stars second elimination night, Tavis Smiley took his final bow as a contestant on season 19 along with professional partner Sharna Burgess.

The talk show host, who is currently touring the country promoting his new book, attributed the early elimination to lack of practice time. “With all due respect to my competitors, one, they had 35 to 40 hours a week to rehearse. We had 10 hours in this last week. Thirty-five or 40 versus 10; that’s a big gap,” Smiley said.

Over the past week, Burgess and Smiley traveled to five different cities from Tuesday to Saturday because of the promotional book tour and were able to dedicate only those 10 hours to perfecting their last cha-cha-cha before the latest elimination of the season.

“I think that if we could have survived two more weeks, when the tour ends we really could have made a run at this,” Smiley said, adding: “It disrespects the art form of dance when you don’t devote the time to it.”

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Now that Burgess has more time on her hands, the professional dancer has designing on her radar. The professional dancers design each episode’s costumes, which has given Burgess the opportunity to maximize her creativity as a designer.

“[Designing] is definitely a passion of mine … I sort of use [DWTS] as my outlet for that, but it certainly is something that I’m looking into,” Burgess said. “Designing is something that I’ve been talking about with some people and probably just going to start with more a fitness wear line, but then I want to get into shoes and couture because that’s what I love the most.”

Duck Dynasty fans were elated to see in-jeopardy couple Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas safe from elimination. Though Robertson’s dance was not one of the two lowest-ranked performances, the teen worried about potentially being eliminated. “I was freaking out … [I’m] such a baby,” Robertson said after admitting that she was emotional at the end of Monday’s dance.

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Among Robertson’s hidden talents is singing, a skill she shares with Ballas — his Kicking Clouds EP released last week — and the two have showcased performing impromptu on social media. Surprisingly, Robertson is not as confident in her singing capabilities as her dance moves. “I don’t like to sing in front of people. It makes me nervous,” Robertson revealed. “I can come out here and dance and be confident and just have fun, but if someone tells me to sing, I literally analyze everything I did and I’ll freak out and I’m nervous and I’m not confident.”

Audiences were entertained by Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong” live serenade and watched Dance Moms’ 11-year-old Maddie Ziegler perform to Sia singing “Chandelier.”

Julianne Hough, the former professional dancer turned judge, made an almost perfect guest appearance on the dance floor, despite a near-fall in the arms of Valentin Chmerkovskiy. Next Monday, viewers can look forward to movie week on DWTS and comedian Kevin Hart taking the seat as guest judge.

Dancing With the Stars airs live on ABC every Monday at 8/7c.