Here's what happens when you get to do what you're good at: You own the ballroom. And that's exactly what happened when Michael Bolton stepped up to the microphone to sing the stirring "Hallelujah" in his signature raspy, wounded-soul voice. He may have been booted out by Dancing With the Stars voters last week who didn't care for his dancing, but the crowd on hand Tuesday night to see comedian Margaret Cho get the axe was enthralled by the return of Bolton, who probably would've scored three perfect 10s for his pipes. "I want to buy that record," said one woman sitting next to me, who was never a Bolton fan.
Accompanied by a children's choir and the gorgeous dancing of pros Anna Trebunskaya and her husband, Jonathan Roberts, Bolton was an 11th-hourhour substitute for ailing YouTube sensation Susan Boyle, who is home in Scotland nursing a severe throat infection. She was supposed to sing the same song. "I don't know why they even asked her back," said one Dancing source, "because when she was here last year, she was so fragile backstage, so clearly unable to handle her celebrity. I was surprised she was able to perform."
So it turned into a night of redemption for Bolton, and a night of happy tears for Cho, a funny lady who had the guts to drop her comic shield after the first week and just dance. Compare that with Adam Carolla, the Season 6 comedian who ended one routine by circling the ballroom on a unicycle. "It felt amazing to just be myself," said Cho. "Dancing makes me feel really strong and happy and excited because it feels like flying."
Earlier this season, Cho told her pro partner, Louis Van Amstel, that she had loved ballet class as a child, but quit when someone called her "a fat ballerina." She hasn't done anything remotely sports-like since. "I'm not a physically active person," said Cho about her last seven weeks as a dancer, "and becoming one was very hard. I can't feel my toes. The whole bottoms of my feet are covered in band-aids. I'll probably walk away from this with a painkiller addiction."
And a lot of pride.