'Dancing With the Stars' host Tom Bergeron: 'Brandy wanted it more than anything'

tom-bergeron-1.jpgThe initial shock of Brandy's "Dancing With the Stars" dismissal has yet to wear off, but as her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy acknowledged during the show, there's no arguing with how America votes.

Zap2it spoke with Tom Bergeron the morning after Brandy's Week 9 elimination, and though he has seen his share of surprising exits in his 11 seasons, Brandy's still caught the host off guard.

"You get down to this point, and it's always going to be hard, but I was surprised," Bergeron tells Zap2it. "I would have thought she was going to the finals."

Bergeron generally knows about the eliminations beforehand -- other than during the finale, when he wants to be surprised -- and this was no exception. But that didn't prepare him for how the news was received in the studio.

"I don't think I've ever done this at the end of the show," says Bergeron. "I just said 'I need a hug.' Everyone was just standing around. No one knew what to do."

Contributing a bit to the awkward quotient was the judges' offer for Brandy to return to the finals to perform her freestyle... for fun.

"That kind of landed with a thud," says Bergeron. "I suppose it was meant with all good intention, but if I had just been stunned and found out I wasn't going to make it to the final, the prospect of busting my butt to do a freestyle wouldn't have much appeal. I would fully understand if they politely decline."

Brandy didn't comment on whether or not she was interested in returning with a freestyle, but it was clear during the broadcast that she was still digesting the news.

"I thought Brandy wanted it more than anything, quite frankly" says Bergeron, "which made it very hard."

We'll have more from Bergeron between now and the Nov. 22 finale.

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Photo credit: ABC