NEW YORK (Reuters) - Latin week, capped by a decisive cha-cha, spelled the end of Gavin DeGraw's "Dancing With the Stars" on Tuesday when fans failed to vote for him in large numbers and the judges gave him a final thumbs down, having first tarred the musician with low marks.
DeGraw, who had found himself among the bottom two finishers during every week of the hit show's 14th season except for one, seemed resigned to his fate after his samba on Monday's performance episode garnered a paltry score of 19 from the panelists.
Judge Len Goodman proclaimed the effort to the strains of "Sweetheart from Venezuela" "more of a shamba than a samba," and DeGraw predicted to partner Karina Smirnoff "Tomorrow we will be in the duel," referring to a new twist introduced this week in which the final two couples engage in a "dance duel."
The judges then decided who would be eliminated, and the panel of three unanimously chose to spare actor Jaleel White after the two couples did a cha-cha.
"Jaleel's more talented than I am," a good-natured DeGraw noted before they faced off, anticipating the result.
Smiling in defeat, he said: "It's been amazing," and "My family got to have a great time. We reunited in a lot of ways" through his participation on the show.
Monday's night's performances brought a wide range of scores from the judges with DeGraw getting a low 19 while Telenovela star William Levy triumphed over a torn ligament for a near-perfect 29 with his Argentine tango.
Classical singer Katherine Jenkins, who has wowed judges and fans consistently all season, tied with Levy. He also danced an Argentine tango.
Melissa Gilbert, the "Little House on the Prairie" star who was injured during a performance last week and was briefly hospitalized after suffering a mild concussion, returned to dance the salsa and managed only a 21.
Musical highlights of the Tuesday's elimination round included Train's performance of "Drive By" from their just-released album, while Selena Gomez & the Scene did "Hit the Lights."
"Dancing With the Stars" annually is among the top-rated U.S. TV shows, pairing B-list celebrities, sports stars and singers with professional dancers performing sambas, waltzes and other dances across a ballroom floor.
Viewer votes combined with judges' ratings decide which stars face elimination each week. Eight stars remain in the competition.
(Editing by Chris Michaud)