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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Reality television star Jake Pavelka exited the ballroom floor on "Dancing With the Stars" Tuesday night after stumbling during his Samba the previous night.
Pavelka choked back tears when he addressed the crowd after being told he would not return, saying he was "honored" to appear on the widely-watched U.S. TV dance contest.
"I can't even put into words how much I've enjoyed this," he said.
The native of Texas thanked his professional ballroom dancing partner, Chelsie Hightower, calling her "one of my best friends" and adding, "I have loved every second of this."
Pavelka was an unknown commercial pilot when he appeared on U.S. dating show "The Bachelorette" as a single man looking for love, and after an unsuccessful attempt to woo a partner, he returned on "The Bachelor" with a loyal fan following.
His supporters followed him to this season's "Dancing With the Stars," but their votes were not enough to overcome a low 21 points from the judges after he tripped during his routine.
For six weeks as he made his way through dances such as the Cha Cha and Tango, Pavelka's frame often appeared stiff and his footwork was troublesome. Earlier during Tuesday's elimination, judge Len Goodman warned him that if he were to return, he would have to define his performance more precisely.
Left to dance another night are TV host Niecy Nash and her professional partner Louis van Amstel, who narrowly avoided elimination Tuesday night.
Also remaining on the show are former Playboy model and TV actress Pamela Anderson and her partner Damian Whitewood, along with sports reporter Erin Andrews and dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Olympic gold medalist ice skater Evan Lysacek and partner Anna Trebunskaya turned in their worst performance in Monday night's competition round, allowing singer Nicole Scherzinger and pro dancer Derek Hough to assume the frontrunner position.
Highlights of Tuesday's elimination included performances by singer Melissa Etheridge and flamenco guitarist Benise.
Writing and reporting by Bob Tourtellotte