I’ll say this much for Carole Baskin: she knew her brand on “Dancing with the Stars” and leaned into it with good humor. Known for her devotion to exotic cats on “Tiger King” (and accused of less savory things in the true-crime documentary series), she gave feline-themed performances in all three weeks she spent in the competition. So it was fitting that she ended her run on “Disney Night” dressed in a head-to-toe lion costume for her routine to “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King.” Watch it above.
Baskin got off on the wrong foot this season, earning the lowest score in the season premiere episode for her “Eye of the Tiger” paso doble. The next week she improved enough with her Viennese waltz that the judges decided to keep her in the competition after she landed in the bottom two (they booted Charles Oakley instead). But she still didn’t have her technique down on “Disney Night” when she had the misfortune of dancing one of the hardest styles on the show: the samba (just ask Skai Jackson).
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba gave her credit for dancing with a lot of love, and Derek Hough praised her for her animal activism, but they and Bruno Tonioli couldn’t ignore the fact that she seemed to walk through her choreography more than dance through it, and lacked the necessary bounce and rhythm. Inaba gave her a 5, Hough gave her a 4, and Tonioli gave her a 3 for the second time this season. This time when she landed in the bottom two alongside actress Anne Heche, the judges decided unanimously to send Baskin home.
But I think credit is also due to Baskin’s pro partner Pasha Pashkov. He was just as game as Baskin was, and he choreographed routines to her skill level in a way that allowed her to enjoy herself even though she couldn’t keep up with the technique of her fellow competitors. She came into the show like a tiger, and she left like a lioness.
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