Kendra Wilkinson made a tearful departure from ABC’s Dancing With the Stars last night (May 3) in a result that while not too surprising, certainly seemed premature. Why is Kirstie Alley still in the competition?

The former Playboy model’s ouster pointed out, once again, a major flaw in reality television competitions.

All too often, better dancers are eliminated while poorer dancers stay on thanks to large fan bases or sympathetic voters.

In the case of Alley, it’s the latter. The hard-luck actress has battled highly publicized weight problems and at 60, she’s not the most spry dancer on the floor.

She’s flopped around from week to week, but has showed determination and made herself an underdog who is drawing lots of public sympathy.

Becoming the popular underdog has proved to be an effective strategy to stay on the show well beyond a contestant’s ability level. But it ruins the credibility of the show as a competition where the best dancer wins.

Kate Gosselin and Bristol Pallin also lasted on the show far beyond their ability because of their popularity or fan base.

Kendra was obviously disappointed, but her dancing was never that good outside of her fiery samba.

While the judges on Monday’s episode praised her for her tango, with one calling it “nothing but sophistication, elegance, and confidence,” Kendra has been wooden in most of her performances.

Even so, she topped Kirstie Alley and singer Romeo in this week’s scoring with 31 points to 30 points.

Contestants Chris Jericho, Sugar Ray Leonard, Wendy Williams, Mike Catherwood and Petra Nemcova were eliminated in earlier rounds.

Alley will be back next week to compete against Ralph Macchio, Chelsea Kane, Hines Ward and Romeo.

Romeo is definitely on the bubble, but Alley should be the next to go. She’s long overdue.

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