Tuned In

Sara Evans: Our Long National Nightmare Continues

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I’m sure you’ve all come to check Tuned In this morning for our report on the, um, controversial departure of Sara Evans from Dancing With the Stars, ABC’s dance competition / full-employment program for East European hoofers. But first, give me a moment.

Grunt… strain… must… force… self… to care… ungh!

There. Evans, a country music star (I know! Me either! You learn something new every day!) abruptly announced last week that she was leaving the show. She also filed divorce papers against her husband, accusing him of, among other things, threatening her and having an affair with their ex-nanny. Last night, in an "exclusive interview" on Dancing with host Tom Bergeron–it’s good to see that ABC, after Peter Jennings, has not given up on important TV journalism–Evans said that she quit suddenly, even though the divorce had been in the works for some time, because "something happened" to make her concerned about the emotional well-being of her three children. (OK, that clears everything up.) Continuing to do the show, evidently, would have subjected Evans’ family to intense media pressure, so she left.

Uh, yeah, because clearly quitting the show has knocked that story right out of the headlines! There is something about Evans not-quite-explanation that doesn’t add up, like Ross Perot’s announcement that he left the 1992 presidential race because Republicans were going to disrupt his daughter’s wedding. For starters, you have to wonder if–if the divorce proceedings were going to be so ugly and disturbing–she couldn’t have waited a few weeks to file, after she was done appearing on one of the top-rated TV shows in America.

Of course, there’s a lot we don’t know, and it’s possible that circumstances left her no choice. It’s also possible that there could be other, uglier shoes about to drop. (Evans’ husband, who has denied her allegations, plans a "bombshell" revelation later this week, People magazine reports.) It’s also possible that there is just a hint of image management here, given the lengths to which Evans went to emphasize her domesticity in the interview: "I can’t wait to go home and get back in my house and cook and clean and do laundry and do homework and watch movies and snuggle up and just be a mom." Oh, and, she noted, she’s already signed up her Dancing partner to choreograph her tour next year. And she’ll be back for the Dancing finale. Other than that, it’s 100% about being a mom.

In the end I’m willing to cut Evans some slack because, after all, she’s not a presidential candidate, and because anything that makes it even slightly possible that ABC will drop one episode of the tedious dance show is fine by me. (The network has not yet announced how it plans to schedule around Evans’ absence.) Whatever’s going on, I can hardly blame Evans for wanting to get out from under the microscope and hoping that we can all just forget about the whole thing.

Relax, Sara, I already have.

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