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Aldrin, Pavelka in bottom two of 'Dancing'

Hollywood Wrap with George Pennacchio
April 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, walked gracefully away from "Dancing With the Stars" after three weeks of competition. Though he received low scores from the judges, he got standing ovations for every dance."And this has been a very pleasurable endeavor, and I'm just happy to have been able to stay along as long as we did," said Aldrin Tuesday night.

In 1969, the Apollo 11 astronaut made history and became an American hero, all before the age of 40. Now, at 80, he's ready for new challenges.

Asked what he learned from his latest "mission," Aldrin replied, "Volunteer again. Make the next one as equal, satisfying to me for having put myself forward."

"He tried so, so hard and he wanted to do the best he could," said Ashly Costa, Aldrin's dance partner.

"He was so sweet and so charming and adorable, and if they were giving points for adorable -- come on," said host Brooke Burke.

"He's had the best time and I'm sure he's a little disappointed but, you know, that's the way it goes," said Lois Aldrin, Buzz's wife. "He had a good run and now I have a dancing husband."

Aldrin, the retired U.S. Air Force pilot, legendary astronaut and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, will not get "Dancing's" mirror ball trophy. What he does get is renewed fame and a second wind.

"I'm not somebody who's going to hang back in the weeds," said Aldrin. "Fighter pilots are out there up front."

'The Bachelor's' Jake Pavelka and his professional partner, Chelsie Hightower, faced elimination, ending up in the bottom two, but survived. Pamela Anderson and her partner, Damian Whitewood, finished in the bottom two last week, but were safe on Tuesday night.

Kate Gosselin and her partner Tony Dovolani survived yet again, despite a performance that judge Carrie Ann Inaba called "odd."

The remaining nine couples go for Round 4 Monday night.