'Dancing' star Cristian de la Fuente injuries arm, status uncertain
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/29/2008
Cristian de la Fuente suffered an arm injury during last night's liveDancing with the Stars sixth-season performance episode -- and his professional partner Cheryl Burke apparently thinks it's worse than the original diagnosis.
Following de la Fuente and Burke's first performance of the night -- a Viennese waltz that earned them a 25 from the judges -- the couple performed a samba, and his left forearm was visibly in pain towards the end of the routine.
"Let's find out what's going on," host Tom Bergeron said once the routine was over. "What happened buddy?"
"I pulled a muscle," de la Fuente answered as the studio audience was silent. "I tried to keep going."
"Do you want to get the judges' [comments]. We can go to commercial?" asked Bergeron.
"I'm fine," replied de la Fuente, holding his left arm.
"You know what? Let's go to a break just so we can check this out," said Bergeron.
Once the live broadcast came back from break, de la Fuente's arm was wrapped with ice.
"The EMT diagnosed a severe muscle cramp in the arm. He said hopefully it will loosen up," said Bergeron.
"Live television," said de la Fuente.
"That's exactly right," said Bergeron.
"It's really hard to comment right now," said judge Carrie Ann Inaba before Bergeron asked how the routine would be scored.
"You judge up until the point that the injury occurred. That was hard, because it was kind of just throughout the whole end. I'm really sorry we didn't get to see this routine because I was really looking forward to it. But I really appreciate that you went the whole round. You were there for Cheryl."
Fellow judge Len Goodman agreed with Inaba and called de la Fuente "brave."
"When you get an injury like that, just to carry on and keep going I thought was very brave," he said. "Well done."
"This is such an unfortunate event. You cannot predict what happens," commented Bruno Tonioli. "You did your best, and we appreciate that. We have to judge on what we saw, but I hope you are coming back because you are a great performer."
Once de la Fuente and Burke were backstage, Inaba, Goodman and Tonioli all scored the routine a seven for a combined score of 21.
"It hurts," de la Fuente told Dancing with the Stars host Samantha Harris. "It hurts the arm and it hurts that I couldn't do it. It's tough."
The telenevola actor was subsequently taken to the hospital and his status for tonight's live results show -- and the remainder of the competition -- is still unknown.
Burke later explained what happened during the routine.
"Well, we were doing the samba and then the first drop I do in his arms, I hear a crack," the two-time mirror ball trophy winner told Access Hollywood after last night's Dancing with the Stars broadcast. "I heard something pop, and I thought maybe I just stepped on my dress or something. All of a sudden, he couldn't dip me in the dip and I was like, 'What's happening?'"
Burke added she thinks "it's a little bit more than a muscle cramp."
"I believe that he's a strong man. He wouldn't just leave if it was a cramp in his arm," she told Access Hollywood. "He's actually in the hospital right now, so for sure it's something worse. I don't know what it is, but for sure there's something wrong."
Burke's fellow Dancing with the Stars professional Karina Smirnoff agreed that "it could not possibly be a pulled muscle."
"He could actually have a torn meniscus in his elbow," Smirnoff told Access Hollywood. "I know last season when Mark Ballas was dancing with [Sabrina Bryan] he actually ripped the muscles and ligaments in his shoulder. He finished the dance with his arm hanging by his side."
Ballas described de la Fuente's injury as "scary."
"You never know when these things are going to happen," he told Access Hollywood. "It's amazing to see him take an injury -- you know he felt it -- but he carried on. He was there for Cheryl... He was a soldier about it and we're all proud of him."
Ballas then said he "completely tore" his labrum and dislocated his shoulder during the fifth-season finale performance with Bryan -- an injury that required surgery two days after it occurred.
"I know how that feels, and I was proud of him tonight to carry on. That's tough," Ballas told Access Hollywood.