The Season 15 Semifinals are next week, and it’s up to the voters to sort through the judges’ insanity from tonight’s Week 8 Performance Show — plus last week’s scores — and decide which two couples won’t continue past tomorrow.
The show started with technical difficulties and maybe that was a sign of things to come. The first round of dances was short — literally, those were like bite-sized dances — but the judges were already fighting and we were fighting back from home. The Trio Dances were magical — the "turd" dancer is definitely the charm! — but once again the judges had to pour cold water on the event by underscoring some dancers (Shawn Johnson!) and overscoring others (Emmitt Smith!).
If you look at the leaderboard from the past two weeks (below), Melissa Rycroft is way at the top, but so was Sabrina Bryan before she left. Kirstie Alley is way, way, way at the bottom, but she’s been there before and made it through. Heaven only knows how the fans will sort this out, but we’ll probably be frustrated about the results tomorrow night.
LEADERBOARD Here’s a quick rundown of the Week 8 leaderboard, starting with the scores from last week.
Read on for a full recap of Monday’s Week 8 action:
This round pays tribute to Veterans Day. All of the couples dressed in various forms of military gear.
1. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough — Viennese Waltz to "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan — Derek’s neck is feeling better, so he’s back. Their Waltz is dedicated to soldiers in war zones, illustrating the angels who look out for them. Derek is the soldier. He does some emoting and Shawn is his angel. That felt like a very quick dance. There’s almost no time to really get into the story and show emotion. And there are so many Viennese Waltzes tonight; they may start running together.
JUDGES: Len said sometimes a whisper is louder than a shout. It was quiet and gentle. He would’ve liked more in hold, but it was poignant, gentle and fabulous. Bruno Tonioli said it was heavenly perfection. It was emotive and harmonious. Carrie Ann Inaba said Shawn has turned into this beautiful, rich, in-depth performer. Shawn gave everyone chills, according to Carrie Ann. It’s the song that gives chills.
SCORES: 10, 9.5, 10 = 29.5 out of 30
2.Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff — Tango to "Holding Out For a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler —Apolo is super competitive and it’s frustrating for him to work so hard and get 9s. They added a ziplining move to the start of their dance. Apolo the action hero! Nice vest. He saves Karina. Yeah, these dances are feeling shorter than usual. Compact. That was the first-ever zipline entrance!
JUDGES: Bruno said it was a daredevil of a Tango. Those guns are fully loaded for maximum firepower. It was like Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible. Bruno loved it. Carrie Ann loved it too. It was amazing. His lines were ridiculous. He was attacking and saving Karina. Carrie Ann wanted to be Karina. (Does she have a crush on him?) Len said Apolo is his hero. His frame got a bit wide sometimes, but it was full on attack and it was great.
SCORES: 10, 9.5, 10 = 29.5 out of 30
3.Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Viennese Waltz to "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen — It’s an emotional dance that depicts reverence to the military, so she likes it. Maks says Kirstie is the most improved of anyone on the show. He thinks they are the Little Engine That Could. Love her Peter Pan-esque military suit jacket, hat and skirt.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said the musical interpretation was beautiful and it was one of Kirstie;s best dances. She’d like to see a little more difficulty in her next number. Kirstie disagrees! Len called it her best dance. Hallelujah! Bruno said it was very stylish and elegant and well done.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30
4.Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Viennese Waltz to "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain —She gets frustrated in rehearsals but Val knows it’s just because she knows she can do better. She just wants to make it past tomorrow’s double elimination. The smoke machine is working overtime tonight. As green as Kirstie and Maks were, these two are yellow. OK, we thought to ourselves, this should get the highest score for VWs so far.
JUDGES: Len thought it was a little bit sharp on occasions. Carrie Ann jumped in and disagreed. It flowed nicely but some of the movements were a bit sharp. (True, but the sharpness wasn’t jerky. It was a good element. Not regulation?) Len dissed Carrie Ann: “I have my standards. She has none.” OH, SNAP! Bruno said Kelly was giving all of her soul. The smoke kept drifting over like they were in their own ring of hell. Carrie Ann said Kelly is growing every week and her emotional commitment was great.
SCORES: 9.5, 9, 9.5 = 28 out of 30
5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd — Quickstep to “Danger Zone” from Top Gun— Gilles believes, to make it through this week, they need a perfect score. They look gorgeous in their costumes, as usual. Is that a black one-piece flight suit?
JUDGES: Bruno said it was fast, slick and efficient. They cranked so many steps into such a short time. Definitely Top Gun. They were so fast. Carrie Ann said it was almost Top Gun but he had a few wobbles on his feet. Len said it wasn’t cupcakes and ice cream it was thunder and lightning. He came out with energy, speedy and control. “That was a Quickstep!”
SCORES: 9.5, 10 10 = 29.5 out of 30
6. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke — Viennese Waltz to "Love Letters" by Ketty Lester — Once Emmitt puts his mind to doing something, it’s hard to stop him. He and Cheryl look gorgeous and classy. Were they the only couple to skip the military outfits? Emmitt is always at his best when he’s the entertainer, like in a Cha-Cha. This dance was lovely but didn’t really have a lot of punch. It wasn’t memorable.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said it was smooth and effective but Emmitt slipped a little at one point. She compared him to Kirstie. She wants to see him push himself. “I feel like you’re still riding in a little bit of the comfort zone.” Agreed, actually. Len said Emmitt puts the “oo” in “smooth.” He liked the balance in hold and out of hold. He would’ve liked more fluidity in his arms and there was a little slip but he liked it. Bruno said it was smart and classy. Overall it was very, very nice. They interpreted the dance in a classic way. Emmitt really is such a class act.
SCORES: 9, 9.5, 9.5 = 28 out of 30
7.Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — Quickstep to"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by The Andrew Sisters — They are at the top of the leaderboard so Tony says “they” are gunning for them. The judges? They have a fast, fun, cute dance in sailor gear. Remember when she had a serious injury? Seems like so long ago. Their bright white smiles could power the whole nation. Someone tell NBC’s Revolution.
JUDGES: Len said it was a Quickstep. It was quick, there were lot of steps (Ha!). It was bright. “That was the bee’s knees.” Bruno wanted to join the Navy. It was as good as the best America has ever produced. My! Carrie Ann said Melissa is on fire. Two weeks in a row.
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Their first perfect score!
1.Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough — Trio Samba with Mark Ballas to “Jungle Jazz” —Their “vibe” is “super tribal.” Derek doesn’t just want to go with what’s safe. Oh this is like something straight out of So You Think You Can Dance. Sexy, raw and … hairy footed. Nice shirtless dancing! Shawn is a lucky, lucky girl. This is VERY memorable, but is it Samba? This is not going to be Len’s cup of tea.
JUDGES: And indeed it's not. Len said if he was sitting in the audience he’d be cheering along, but he’s a judge and he has to judge a Samba. “It was very self-indulgent. There was very little Samba content. It’s a very critical week. Shawn if you go home tomorrow, don’t blame me. Blame those two.” Bruno said even he had to admit that it wasn’t really a Samba, or there was a very little of it, but it didn’t take away from the many things he liked.
Carrie Ann disagreed with the other judges. “Sometimes you have to take a risk,” she said. “You can’t disagree with the truth,” Len said. Carrie Ann said they didn’t have a lot of Samba but what they did have was executed with perfection. Len and Carrie Ann stood up and got in each other’s faces. Carrie Ann said they updated it for today. Shawn shook all the judges’ hands.
SCORES: 10, 7, 9 = 26 out of 30. Total of 93.5. A 7! Wow.
2. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff — Trio Jive with Sasha Farber to "Grease Lightning" —Apolo is dancing alongside Sasha as if he’s a pro, but he’s not a pro. It’s a lot of pressure. These Trio dances really bring out the best in everyone. Karina looks hot in her tight red suit. Apolo does seem like he’s as much of a pro as Karina and Sasha.
JUDGES: Bruno said they took a huge, huge risk because all the way through Apolo was mirroring a pro. But he conquered it brilliantly. It was like watching twins. He’s done a fantastic job tonight. Carrie Ann said she’s never seen Apolo shine brighter, but there was a little bit of a mishap in his initial kicks and flicks. They work great together. Len said it was fast, sharp, tight and together and that’s what you want in a Jive.
SCORES: 9.5, 9.5, 10 = 29 out of 30. Total of 91.5
3.Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Paso Doble with Tristan MacManus to "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence — Tristan and Maks are dark angels. And they look GOOOOOOOOD. Kirstie says they are sucking the life out of her, like all men do. She is so. dang. lucky. This is an ego boost, she says. We bet. At first, they take turns doing Paso moves with Kirstie. Tristan is first, then Maks. So it’s not like all three dance together for the entire routine.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann thanked her for her choice in men (Ha!). She loved the theme and costumes but the dance was a little sloppy. She thought it might have to do with Kirstie wearing no shoes. Len said there were no “incidents.” It had aggression and attitude but it just lacked a bit of finesse. Bruno said it was a bit surreal. What did Maks whisper to Tristan? Bruno said, as a Paso Doble, it could’ve been more refined. Important question: Who is hotter, Maks or Tristan?
SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30. Total of 79. Kirstie had a total giggle fit. She joked that she thought it was so good she thought they might get the first 10.5. She’s on helium or something!
4.Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Trio Jive with Louis van Amstel to "Animal" by Neon Trees — Kelly picked Louis because she thinks he’s the best. She kissed him at the start of the dance. Don’t you cheat on Val! These three stay out on the floor together the whole time. Shirtless Val in suspenders alet! Shirtless Louis in suspenders alert! Kelly ends by kissing Len. It never hurts to kiss up to the judges, literally! Especially when Len is willing to give Shawn a lower score than Kirstie. Sorry, but what world are we in again?
JUDGES: Len said he liked the end. It had the X-factor. It was fun, it was fast, it was flamboyant and fabulous. Bruno said she can take them both at the same time and she’s always on top (!). She did some difficult moves very well. Carrie Ann said Kelly kept up the whole time, even going back and forth between guys. She could’ve pointed her toes a bit more.
SCORES: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5 out of 30. Total of 92.5
5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd — Trio Salsa with Chelsie Hightower to "Rebelion" by Joe Arroyo —They should have a hot, sexy union. The girls will be fighting for his attention. You dance on that table, Gilles! This song goes perfectly with the routine and the theme. They really showcase Gilles on his own, too, as the lothario. He had his own solo part.
JUDGES: Bruno said menage a trois seems to come natural to Gilles. He lost timing a couple of times, Bruno said. Carrie Ann said she agreed, saying his musicality was a bit off (really?). But she loved how he took control. Len said he can only judge it how he sees it. He thought Gilles exposed himself (!), he didn’t hide, he was out there doing it. There was nothing camouflaged, it was full on, right there. (Agreed.)
SCORES: 9.5, 10, 9.5 = 29 out of 30. Total of 92
6.Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke — Trio Salsa with Kym Johnson to "Mr. Saxobeat" by Alexandra Stan —They have a jump rope! Cheryl wanted to showcase Emmitt and show him leading two women. It has to be hard to follow Gilles doing something similar with his own two sexy ladies. But this definitely shows more of Emmitt’s entertaining side than the slow Viennese Waltz. He gets to showcase his fun side and shake his booty.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said he was in his comfort zone but this time he’s in the red hot spicy zone. When he’s wiggling his hips there’s nothing better. Len said it was like watching two yo-yos at the same time. The choreography was very clever, combined with great rhythm and musicality. A “knockout.” Bruno said Salsa should happen naturally and that’s how it comes off. (But he was definitely asked to do less than Gilles in the routine, even if they think Gilles was “off” a bit.)
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Really? Seems overscored. Their first perfect score, though. Total of 92.5
7.Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — Trio Paso Doble with Henry Byalikov to "Rumour Has It" by Adele — Melissa is the dominatrix with two sexy guys of her own. She had to shout “Ha! Ha! Ha!” in the middle of the routine. A little awkward, but it went with the aggressive tone.
JUDGES: Len said she moved seamlessly between Tony and Henry like a Frisbee being passed around. Out of all the celebrities, Melissa impressed him the most. Bruno said she’s a jaw-dropping queen bee. That Paso Doble had some incredible moves. It was a thing of beauty. “You’re a fantastic dancer.” He thinks she should be in the finals. Carrie Ann said she owned that Paso.
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30. Second perfect score of the night! Total of 99! Amazing.The judges have clearly adopted Melissa.
What did you think of the Week 8 dances and scores?What’s your prediction for the double elimination? Head here for all the voting numbers and other ways to vote for the All-Stars. Vote! Vote! Vote!
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays and Tuesdays onABC.
Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter@ginacarbone.