Lynette Rice
November 09, 2011 AT 05:19 AM EST

Sad? Naturally! But the latest dancer to leave the ballroom of Dancing with the Stars wasn’t going to whine about missed opportunities or the chance to make it to the finals.

She was too busy praising her partner, who only became a pro this season.

“It wasn’t all about me,” said Nancy Grace, who became the eighth celebrity to leave the show Tuesday. “Tristan [MacManus] is only to new pro of this season to make it this far. He outshined so many green pros and veteran pros. That’s a big deal.”

Actually, it is. Though MacManus became the butt of jokes on Monday when Len Goodman and the other members of  “Dance Center” made fun of the way he pronounced “third” as “turd,” the handsome MacManus stood out this season as one of the kindest — and most patient — coaches. “Regardless of how we were portrayed for soundbites, we actually hardly ever argued,” Grace said. “I know that’s hard to believe. I don’t think one day passed that we didn’t laugh like mad and it was usually about me.”

MacManus was equally full of praise for the HLN anchor. “There were a lot of people this season who came to the show

because of Nancy, who never watched before,” said the Irish pro, who first joined the show in season 12 as a member of the dance troupe. “So she generated a lot more attention for the show, which is a great thing. It has shown a new side of Nancy to everyone which is what we wanted to do in the first place. There are only positives that come from it.”

Last week, it appeared as if Grace and MacManus would leave the show but America selected David Arquette, instead. Grace’s jaw dropped when she heard his name, but her partner says it wasn’t because she was expecting to leave. “A lot of people would have been suprised that David and Kim were leaving,” MacManus recalled. “And I think that was our initial reaction, it wasn’t so much I can’t believe we are safe, it was probably more so, I can’t believe they are going. It’s been that way for a lot of weeks. It’s been quite close.”

“I always prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” added Grace. “That’s what I was hoping for then and tonight.”

Grace won’t pat herself on the back for lasting this long, though. “The truth is I never thought about it. I really thought about making it through each Monday night, each Tuesday night …I’m walking away with so much. So many new friends. And having my twins here [in Los Angeles] while going to do this dream … I thought would never happen to me. It’s kind of hard to be sad when you have so much to be happy for.”

For more:

Nancy Grace on Conrad Murray

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