NFL star kicked off ‘Dancing’

LOS ANGELES — He gave his "Dancing With the Stars" partner diamond jewelry, and now Chad Ochocinco is kissing her goodbye.

The National Football League star and professional partner Cheryl Burke were ousted from the hit ABC show Tuesday, making them the 100th couple banished from the ballroom during the show’s 10 seasons.

Ochocinco came into Tuesday’s results show in last place, with 52 points out of 60 for his two dances. Judges’ scores are combined with viewer votes to determine which couple is eliminated each week.

Ochocinco and Burke were coy about their relationship throughout the season. Fans speculated the two might be more than friends when the football star bought the pro dancer a flashy diamond ring one week and a delicate diamond pendant the next.

They continued their coyness Tuesday. Burke characterized their relationship as a "special friendship that will always mean the world to me." Ochocinco said that what the couple built during dance practice will "continue for a lifetime."

He thanked Burke and the show’s cast, calling his experience on the show "awesome."

"I enjoyed the journey," he said. "I met some wonderful people, and I got some great criticism that’s only made me stronger, man.

"In my eyes, really, I’ve already won."

Burke called her partner "the most amazing, soft, gentle man in the world."

Ochocinco’s elimination came during a semifinal results show packed with performances. Sarah McLachlan sang a medley of her songs; teams from Rutgers and Utah Valley universities competed in the new college dance championship; former contestants Joey Fatone and Melissa Rycroft did a tango in costumes picked by the public; and Miley Cyrus, in a leotard and thigh-high boots, performed her new single, "Can’t Be Tamed."

The final slate is set: Singer Nicole Scherzinger, Olympic figure skater Evan Lysacek and sportscaster Erin Andrews will dance for the show’s mirrorball trophy on Monday. A new "Dancing" champ will be crowned the next day.

Ochocinco will join previously ousted contestants — actors Pamela Anderson, Niecy Nash, Shannen Doherty and Aiden Turner, reality stars Kate Gosselin and Jake Pavelka, astronaut Buzz Aldrin — for the season’s final episodes.

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