DWTS Team #MangoTango Eliminated

Kennedi Wickham

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In season 24 week 2 of Dancing with the Stars, former Saturday Night Live star, Chris Kattan and professional dancer, Witney Carson were eliminated from the competition. The rehearsal packages before Witney and Chris’s last performance of the jive dance highlighted Chris’s almost fatal injury of a broken “neck 14 years ago and [having] endured four surgeries since then [leaving] him with a spine laced with rods and screws.” The four judges in the judging panel scored their last dance (out of 10) in the sequence of 6; 5; 6; 6 totaling 22 points out of 40. This resulting in Chris and Witney placed at the bottom of the leaderboard and the first couple to go. Many fans, competitors, and the Dancing with the Stars judges have mixed views when it came to this first elimination of the season.


In an interview with FOX411 Chris Kattan is unable to express the trauma his experience having broken neck caused him saying, “ It was a stunt thing. I can’t get into it with you.” However, he made it plain and simple illustrating the unfortunate event, “I broke my neck and I had four surgeries regarding that the last 20 years, basically. So I had to be careful for a long time.”


Gaining the strength to accept the DWTS invitation to participate as a contestant on DWTS, Kattan payed tribute to his former comedic years. His first DWTS performance brought viewers back to his iconic “SNL” sketch and the follow-up 1998 comedy with Will Ferrell, “A Night at the Roxbury” dancing to the song, “What is love” by Haddaway. In an interview Chris Kattan shared how his injury took this comedic effect away from his delivery and persona, due to the dance being hysterically physical. Kattans expresses that “part of what I used to do was physical comedy, but now I can’t. It’s really sad when somebody says, ‘I miss the old Chris.’ That sucks to hear.”


Despite Kattan’s hard work, and loyal supporters the judges still had to give fair judgment based upon the dancing Kattan produced. After dancing to the song “What is Love” the judges noted that his “DWTS debut was disappointingly stiff.”


Provided this discouraging feedback, professional dancer Sharna Burgess, who performs with bull rider Bonner Bolton, claimed the “he was judged too harshly and his broken neck makes dancing understandably difficult.” She goes on to reason, “Judging was super hard tonight. They threw out ‘4’s tonight! I haven’t seen a ‘4’ in, I think, ever. Poor Chris! Honestly, I think he did a fantastic job.”


No matter the difficulty Kattan faced in dancing, he truly remained an inspiration for the professional dance partner Witney Carson. On Witney’s online blog she discusses her treasured time with Chris saying, “ He showed me an x-ray of his back and to be honest, I was completely taken aback and shocked. I got very emotional seeing it, to the point of crying in an interview (which I really haven’t done before!) I am amazed by his strength and perseverance, despite having such a terrible injury.”  In an interview on DWTS, Carson further conveys her devoted attitude towards their partnership and his injury, “ for me, I’m a little bit scared but I obviously want to push him so the judges see he is a contender and that he’s doing stuff that really shines and makes him pop. It’s a hard balance but the first two weeks have been a lot of test and trial to see what he can do and what he’s incapable of but he’s really fearless even though he’s had so many surgeries.”


The night that Chris Kattan was eliminated, DWTS received a lot of backlash on what seemed to be an “unfair decision.” One of the competitors even went as far to say, “”I was very upset that they kicked out Chris. I was about to make a deal. I go, and he stays. But I don’t think the rules allow that. He tried very hard and it’s so beautiful. Also, I was very upset that they gave [better scores] to Mr. T.”


Even though Witney said the season “had its challenges given the circumstances,” of having to “focus on his strengths and had to be very aware of things that hurt him & limited him, Chris made me laugh every single minute of the day.”  Witney in her closing remarks on DWTS stated that Chris “grew and progressed from week 1 to week 2 and I couldn’t be more proud of him for being fearless!”


Chris cordially ended his time on the show saying, “ [Witney] was an amazing, amazing inspiration and I couldn’t have done this without her,” Chris replied. “I wish that my surgeries and all that was noted before, but it wasn’t — and that’s OK. I had an incredible, incredible time.”  


Chris and Witney’s team made a difference and served as an inspiration to fans of DWTS. No doubt Witney and Chris could not thank all of their supporters, “enough for the love and support [they] showed team #MangoTango”.


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DWTS Team #MangoTango Eliminated