Dancing with the Stars suffered its first involuntary elimination on Tuesday night. Although she was thoroughly enjoying her time in the ballroom, Wynonna Judd was the one who was given the axe. After the show, she was visibly upset and disappointed to have been ousted from the show.
"I'm numb, I'm sad, and that was the best goodbye I've ever had," the country singer said backstage after her elimination. "Everyone hugged me like I was part of a group that I had nothing in common with coming in and yet we bonded so quickly. I'm going to miss it like crazy."
Although Judd received the week's lowest score of 15 out of 30, the elimination nevertheless came as a surprise to the majority of the cast. She had also received low scores in the first elimination week but managed to avoid being placed in the Bottom Two because of her strong fan base.
"I think it's shocking," said Karina Smirnoff, who is paired with NFL wide receiver Jacoby Jones this season. "Fan bases are very important and country fans are some of the biggest fan bases you can have. To see Wynonna go—Wynonna Judd—I mean, that's crazy. I didn't think she was going to be in the Bottom Two for a long time."
Judd's fellow country star Kellie Pickler, who has been on the other end of the leader board for the first three weeks of Dancing's sixteenth season, was disappointed to lose her but asserted that she'll be fine in the long run.
"It's devastating to see anybody go home, especially my country girl, but Wynonna is a legend. She is country music royalty. I mean, this is not the end of the road by [any] means," Pickler said.
Although she was dabbing away tears with the tips of her fingers, Judd made it clear that she wouldn't be down for too long despite her premature elimination.
"...I'm a fighter. I've been doing this thirty years," she said. "This is not the first time I've been kicked, but I keep getting back up and I keep showing up."
Judd's professional partner, Tony Dovolani, was noticeably emotional as well. After winning the Mirrorball Trophy with Melissa Rycroft last season, he just experienced his third-worst outcome in his fifteen seasons on Dancing.
"From the hugs, from the incredible talks that we've had, from the incredible laughs that we've had, there's nothing really I won't miss," Dovolani said of Judd as she blotted her tears. "This woman's special to me. I know I have a lifelong friend."