With so many close calls happening on the ice, Skating With the Stars viewers were shocked last night when the show bid farewell to its first casualty — only it wasn’t by any on-ice accident. After falling victim to a stomach flu last week — one that prevented him from performing — Disney star Brandon Mychal Smith survived elimination and was set to skate again this week. That was the case until doctors ordered him to bed rest while they conducted more tests to find out what was wrong with him. Despite wanting to continue, Brandon had to deliver the devastating news on-air that he would be withdrawing from the competition. “The journey has been fruitful and very fulfilling,” he told host Vernon Kay. “It's been a roller coaster of a time. I'm feeling very disappointed.”
“We are both so disappointed,” Brandon’s partner Keauna McLaughlin told In Touch after the show. “We both worked so hard for this and to go out like this feels like we didn’t get to finish what we started,” adding, “Still, Brandon’s health is the most important thing, and he just has to work on getting better.” With all the stars set to return for next week’s finale, Keauna is unsure if Brandon will be well enough to return, yet remains hopeful. “It would be great if he could,” she says. “I’d love to skate one last time together.”
“He was really good and fun to watch,” fellow skater Jonny Moseley tells In Touch. “It’s really bittersweet, and it’s not the same here without him.” Due to Brandon’s surprise exit, no one was eliminated last night, which means Bethenny Frankel, Rebecca Buding and last night’s highest scorer, Jonny, will all be vying for the top prize next week. But just what that prize is may be anyone’s guess.
“I am in the finals by default, but I’ll take it,” an elated Bethenny tells In Touch. “Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I don’t know what the prize is, as we haven’t seen it, but even if it were an ice sculpture I would love it! An ice sculpture surrounded in caviar and food I’d use on a buffet.”
Next week, expect the ice to fly as all three finalists are in it to win. “We might try to add a little more difficulty to the routine,” reveals Jonny, when asked about any tricks he has up his sleeves. And with just one point separating his and Rebecca’s score this week, you can bet she’ll have a trick or two of her own. “I want to take him down,” Rebecca tells In Touch. “I think I can, and I may skate a little more on my own. It’s scary, but I’ll try it.”
The Skating With the Stars finale airs on Monday, December 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.