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Originally published October 4, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Page modified October 4, 2013 at 9:31 PM

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Bill Nye keeps his shirt on, exits ‘DWTS’

After being cut from “Dancing With the Stars,” Bill Nye the Science Guy talks about the experience, his injuries and what’s coming up next for him.

Seattle Times columnist

Tonight in Prime Time

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The biggest disappointment of Bill Nye The Science Guy’s elimination from “Dancing with the Stars” earlier this week?

America won’t get to see him topless.

“That was the plan,” Nye, 57, said Thursday of his four-hours-a-day, five-days-a-week rehearsal sessions for the ABC show — from which he got the boot Monday night.

“You poor people,” he cracked. “I’m not bragging on myself, but I think I could have pulled it off. The last few months, I have been lifting weights with this trainer, and so I was starting to look like more of a normal guy.”

What did he look like before, then? “A skinny guy. Unable to fend for himself in the woods.”

Blame the Latin heel that Nye wore to dance the paso doble to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with his partner, Tyne Stecklein, during the show’s second week.

Stecklein didn’t think he needed to wear the heel, but Nye insisted.

“I really was concerned and interested in getting the respect of the judges,” he said.

At the very end of the performance, Nye stepped on the cuff of his “Beethoven slacks” — he was also wearing a gray Beethoven wig — and tore 80 percent of a ligament in his knee. He had to crawl across the floor to finish the piece.

“It was like stepping on ice,” he said. “And you know, if I were a younger guy, the tendon would have stayed attached to the knee cap. But if you’re a man of a certain age ... ”

So, for his third and last d ance — required to have a jazz theme — Nye dressed as a robot for a thankfully stiff performance to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” The theme allowed for his leg to be immobilized and stick with mostly hand movements.

“The robot thing was cool, right?” Nye asked. “We kind of nailed it. Both people were right on the beat.”

The judges disagreed.

“I don’t know what Bob Fosse would say about the jazz, because I didn’t see any,” said judge Bruno Tonioli. “But it was entertaining.”

Carrie Ann Inaba called Nye’s performance while injured “absolutely astounding.”

And Len Goodman praised Nye’s “guts, determination and bravery. That shows a lot about the man.”

But they only gave Nye and Stecklein 16 points. The duo was out.

“The live performance was good, but the scores were extraordinarily low.”

Nevertheless, Nye’s Twitter following grew from 980,000 to 1.3 million, and he’s booking television work, namely a guest appearance next month on “The Big Bang Theory” with none other than Bob Newhart.

“Not to be a jerk, but I am the perfect guy for ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ” he added.

Nicole Brodeur: nbordeur@seattletimes.com

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