Editor's Note: Dancing With the Stars Season 16 introduced America to pro dancer Sharna Burgess, who won everyone's heart as Andy Dick's patient and creative partner. We were thrilled that Sharna agreed to share her thoughts on the Semifinals (and Finals next week!) in an exclusive blog with Wetpaint Entertainment.
Read on to see what she had to say about the Semifinales and the Final Four.
What a Semifinal!! Overall I loved the performances and especially the new styles added for the evening. Thank goodness we didn't have Knight Rider Bhangra and Surfer Flamenco! We just had legitimate and very difficult styles to master.
I know that people are raging on about the unfair advantage that Zendaya got with Hip Hop, but people, it was a Twitter vote, where everyone seemingly got what they wanted… So why is it unfair? Aly wanted Afro Jazz (which she nailed), and all couples were petitioning for their preferred style. And as a result it made for a great show. Everyone's "new style" was fantastic and entertaining!
However, some scores throughout the night were all over the place. Some couples were marked too high and others too low, and there were times I didn't agree with the judges, though that is a weekly thing for me (LOL!). In the end I think the right result came out. I adore Ingo for his commitment and how hard he works, and he has grown soooooo much in the competition, but everyone else was incredibly strong. The bar had been raised and most stepped up to it. For me, the result was clear and even though I hate saying this I think the right couple went home. (Love you Kym and Ingo, sorry!! xxxx)
Derek and Kellie
Argentine Tango: This piece had so much impact for me. I loved that it was the first number of the show, it really set the tone of what the standard of this Semifinal should be. What I enjoy most about some of Derek's work is that he creates a scene with his concepts, he tells you what he wants you to feel while you watch. They are not just steps to Derek, they are words and each one tells another part of the story or emotion. Loved the routine, loved the red and black silhouette, and adored the musicality in the choreography.
As Carrie Ann said, dancing in silhouette can be very revealing, showing every wrong angle, bent leg or un-stretched foot. Kellie was, however, absolutely fantastic and her lines were stunning! This girl was a dancer in a past life, I swear it. Music, of course, is what’s running through her veins, but that does not always mean dance is necessarily a natural gift. This girl has it, with serious legs that some dancers would kill for!
Flamenco: Another great routine and I loved the way the music was used. I feel like Kellie lost her performance factor a little in this one which is such a shame following her previous routine. She started so in the zone, sensual and sexy, and then somewhere she stopped performing and started thinking. The pressure is on in these last few weeks, there is a lot less sleep and a lot more dancing and it can happen to the best of us. I look forward to seeing what Kellie and Derek produce in the finale.
Kym and Ingo
Samba: I wasn't a fan of the song, so for me I felt like it was a little heavy and not in a good way. I think Kym did a great routine targeting Ingo’s strengths and he did really well at giving it his all. I think my fave part of the whole routine was his facial expressions ;) That ballroom dancer open mouth thing rubs off on people after a while! He certainly gave his hip rolls every ounce he had in him and I love him for that. Samba is a very, very difficult dance. Its technique is unlike any other and there are so many different rhythms you can use. I feel like Ingo, while he came out with confidence and conviction, didn't show any bounce action which is the key element of Samba. It’s not in every step, but it’s certainly in most.
Charleston: Loved, loved, loved the sepia filter on the screen and the whole beginning. Again I adore Ingo for his commitment in the character on this one. And Kym (who looked stunning!) once again did a fab routine, really capturing the essence of a fun Charleston. Sadly, for me I feel like it fell apart a little. Yes Charleston can be a little more loose on form than say the Quickstep... But I felt Ingo wasn't 100% on his choreography and to me he looked a uncertain. Even though I was smiling the whole way through this and thoroughly enjoyed it, I think his Samba was executed better.
Mark and Aly
Rumba: My my how far this girl has come!!! A beautiful routine from Mark and I adore that his choreography bounces between the lyrics and the music... the way it should be!
At first I was worried that she was in flats, it can be very revealing of how you use your feet and no forgiveness for lost balance, etc. But she was truly wonderful and used her feet beautifully. Seeing Aly play this character was surprising in such a wonderful way, seeing the emotion come out of her, like a grown woman. I loved it and well done on a hard dance!
Afro Jazz: YES YES YES!!!! Go Mark Ballas and your choreography this season. I am SO glad you got this style. Brilliant!! And wow Miss Aly Raisman you are kicking it out of the ballpark this week. I loved the commitment to the character and the choreography... Not to mention the scene and the costumes… And all over great performance for me. For all that don't know, this music edit was changed 30min before the show and Mark had only minutes to fix the edit with our music team and re-teach the whole thing to Aly. It’s no secret that Aly doesn't count music, she listens for accents and that’s how she stays in time. SO, changing the way it sounds 30 min before is almost suicide. BUT!!!! She absolutely KILLED it. I would never have known and am so impressed with her!!!
Jacoby and Karina
Argentine Tango: I love this song, I think it lends itself to such dramatic passion choreographically. Jacoby in this was a wonderful partner, he was careful with Karina and sensual at the same time, always making sure that he was there for her every step. Every lift and transition was smooth, I like that this man took care of his woman! I also enjoyed the mood, a dimly lit street corner with nothing but the dance highlighted.
Lindy Hop: Jacoby really suits anything under the Jive category!! I love his performance and other than a wrong footing at the beginning he nailed it. I enjoyed them starting in the band and loved Harold (our MD) having a cameo appearance. I do feel that, since Jacoby was so good at the style, I would have loved to see them dance and use the music on the trumpet section rather than playing trumpets… BUT I totally get what they were going for. Loved it — fun, exciting and fast!
Val and Zendaya
Quickstep: Loved the race cars and the concept! It was such a different take on the Quickstep and totally outside the box, which is something that I really appreciate. It’s difficult to be unique after 16 seasons but Val certainly accomplished that. The opening shot was so much fun and for me so was the performance. It was a super difficult and fast routine which I think Zendaya executed brilliantly. I loved it and while some may say it was erratic and not "for them," you can't deny that the content and performance was impressive. Three 8's for the score in my opinion was too harsh. This girl is a superstar!
Hip Hop: I’m not sure who to say I'm more proud of! Zendaya is just incredible, and when she is in her element and comfort zone that girl just commands the room. The life that exudes from her when she dances is incredible. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this piece. And my man Val!!! So proud and so impressed. I know how nervous he was and how truly intimidating it would be. Suddenly the roles are reversed and he became the student, but just look at what he accomplished. They were in sync and matched in their performance and energy. For me the routine and concept couldn't have been more perfect — light, fun and playful. Perfection!!!!!!
And I want to give some props to Val really quick. I adore him as a teacher and am in awe of what he does. He has a special way of delivering technical knowledge and having his student produce it. I see Zendaya not just producing legs and feet, she is producing something very unique to ballroom dancers — the thing that makes us special — and that's connection. Val very rarely puts the "smoke and mirrors" into his routine that sometimes the rest of us do. (Don't tell anyone ;) ). He, from start to finish, teaches straight up ballroom and latin technique and produces fab choreography.
I want to also send out a thank you to Jason Gilkison for creating such an amazing routine for Gleb and me to perform on Tuesday’s result show. I haven't emotionally connected with a piece like that in a long time. For me that piece was about that addictive, destructive love. It’s passionate and sensual and intense, and even though it's bad for you, you just can't walk away from it. The one that no matter how many nights you lay awake wondering what you’re doing, a simple touch sucks you right back into their embrace. I appreciate all the love on Twitter I received for it, too. Please shout out your love to Jason Gilkison and Christina Grimmi, without those two the routine wouldn't have been so magical.
So there it is! My opinion on Week 9. I’m really looking forward to this finale and can't wait to see what these talented celebs and pros have in store for us. Love you all and have an amazing week!!!!
Follow Sharna on Twitter @SharnaBurgess