Chaz Bono, Lacey Schwimmer

You can only imagine the enormity of the pressure on Chaz Bono during his six-week run on Dancing With the Stars: He was the child of Cher, one of the world's biggest celebrities, he had bad knees and was terribly out of shape, and there were rumors of death threats because his presence on the show made him the poster boy for the transgender community. In fact, the show's impressive security presence — big, beefy guys who are scattered throughout the ballroom — was always heightened when Chaz was on stage.

But he remained a humble, dignified, good-humored guy, holding his own in the face of low scores, sometimes-harsh criticism, and endless media questions. He only lost his cool once, Monday night, after judge Bruno Tonioli compared him to "a cute little penguin." But even that didn't get him down for long. "I was mad last night," says Bono. "But that's not what this is about, not what I came on here to do. I came here to show people a strong, proud transgender man. I'm just grateful to have had the experience. I'm not leaving this show bitter or angry or anything. It was a wonderful, life changing experience."

His elimination may also have been wish fulfillment. Behind the scenes, the word is that Bono was more than ready to take off his dancing shoes. "He was really tired," confirms one of many sources from the show. "He was complaining about it all week. He didn't think he could keep up with the dancing. Chaz wanted to go home."

The only other footnote from the show is this: During the videotaped segment that rehashed the Monday night throw-down between head judge Len Goodman and pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy over the dancing of Maks' celebrity partner Hope Solo, Goodman held his hand to his forehead, shielding his eyes from the screen, and looking like he was suffering an Excedrin headache. When it was over, he didn't look a bit sorry, just glad he didn't has to listen to any more.

Tonioli didn't look sorry either, after hearing Bono complain on tape that the judge's "little penguin" comments made Bono sound like "some fat troll dancing with this beautiful woman [his pro partner, Lacey Schwimmer]." When the show went to commercial break, Tonioli put his hands out to the studio audience as if to say, "Give me a break."

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