Who’s “Bad”? Whoever came up with those crazy dance styles and themes on the Dancing With the Stars All-Stars Semifinals! Next time just give us the mustard on ice cream.
Can we pretend most of the first round of the Performance Show didn’t happen? That cheesy CGI dinosaur thing was the first sign of an off night. The Bhangra routine was the only real hit with the judges, probably because they don’t have a clue what goes into a proper Indian folk dance. A Lindy Hop or a Flamenco? They felt comfortable enough to nitpick those style — and comfortable enough to openly support “underdog” Melissa Rycroft to make the finals. She is the only one left who hasn’t won before, but if the judges over-promote her, that could actually backfire and push people to vote for the lower-scoring couples.
Speaking of lower-scoring couples, Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy still haven’t scored a 10 this season — even with a Speedo, a sexy Rumba, and another makeout session. They are the only 10-free couple in the Semifinals, and we have a double elimination tomorrow. So, sorry judges, but Team Vally may be the real underdogs.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Week 9 leaderboard:
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough — 30 + 29 = 59
Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — 27.5 + 30 = 57.5
Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff — 27 + 30 = 57
Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — 25.5 + 28.5 = 54
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke — 27 + 27 = 54
Read on for a full recap of Monday’s Week 9 action:
1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — "Caveman" Hustle to "Walk the Dinosaur" — She’s the only non-champion left. She never expected to get to this point but it just makes her want to try harder. They know their theme could become stupid, especially if it’s a caveman and cavewoman at a disco. Hilarious! Apparently we’re calling these “offbeat” challenges. Tony was having trouble even coming up with something that would make sense. They showed Tony’s back injury. The update is that he was cleared to dance tonight — just in time to deal with a fake dinosaur image. Bad digital effect alert! Whose idea was this? They are doing the best they can, but barefoot cavepeople walking the dinosaur? Can’t wait to hear what Len says about this cheese.
JUDGES: Len Goodman said Fred and Wilma have never danced so well. Melissa never disappoints. It was the hustle with no hassle. Tony had the muscle, Melissa had the hustle. He enjoyed watching it. Bruno Tonioli said it was the most effective use of animal skins since Raquel Welch. There was so much whiplash. But a couple of turns were a bit unsteady. Carrie Ann Inaba loved it. She thought it was a perfect way to bring together two random themes. But she liked their caveman section better than the hustle. There was a special caveman section?
SCORES: 9, 9.5, 9 = 27.5 out of 30. It’s hard to even know how to judge these dances. What are you basing it on?
2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough — “Knight Rider” Bhangra — Derek brought in an outside choreographer for the Bhangra, which is an Indian folk dance. He’d rather have mustard on ice cream than do this style and theme? Oh and there’s a drunk uncle move? What was that? This is going against everything Shawn has been taught. They have special costumes with lights to attempt to fit the Knight Rider theme. Better than cheesy cavepeople. This is like Bollywood 2.0. Can you imagine if Kirstie Alley had gotten this crazy fast dance? This is a really fun routine, with another nice upside down trick from Shawn at the end, but it doesn’t get more bizarre than these themes! The audience adored it.
JUDGES: Bruno called Shawn in for a hug. “Another megahit for Shawn and the Hough!” Carrie Ann didn’t know what to say to that. Finally Shawn was out of breath! Len said “Shut up, close the door, call me Mary! I tell you, this dynamite was fantastic.” Ha! Let’s just call him Mary from now on.
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30. As if they even know what a Bhangra is supposed to look like! Now even the judges are just going on entertainment value. What else can you do?
3. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff — “Big Top” Jazz to "What You Waiting For" — They are putting in the most hours this week. They are going to go more for modern jazz. This should be one of the better themes, since it kind of makes sense. During rehearsals, Apolo sunk his own battleship, which was a nice euphemism for banging himself in the nether regions. For some reason, their movements seem a little off. It doesn’t have the pop of the first two routines, which were out there, but at least crazy fun to watch. Not one of their best, sadly.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she loved the concept but it was very disjointed. It started with a slip and it threw them off. They were out of sync a lot and the dismounts were sloppy. She wanted it to come together but it didn’t. Len said there were a couple of awkward moments but Apolo is a fighter and he came out and gave it everything. Bruno called it edgy and surreal. It was a blend of Cirque du Soleil and A Clockwork Orange. He loved the attitude turns. It wasn’t disjointed, they only lost it on one step. It was one of their most creative and inventive performances, he said.
SCORES: 8.5, 9, 9.5 = 27 out of 30.
4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke — “Espionage” Lindy Hop to "Secret Agent Man" — Their story is that she’s the bad guy and he’s the good guy. It’s supposed to be cartoonish. She’s trying to steal the Mirror Ball! Love her short black wig. They have no props. And no shirt for Cheryl. Wowza! This is another one that should probably work a little better than it does. The theme is cute and fun but it feels forced and not clean.
JUDGES: Len liked the concept, the energy, lifts, and fun. He would’ve liked more actual Lindy, but the whole package was fun. Bruno said it was like a Looney Tunes version of James Bond. It was the most fun performance he’s seen. Carrie Ann said that was Emmitt’s most animated performance.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. Yeah, other than Shawn and Derek, the scores are not going up. That’s not bad dancing, that’s lousy themes. Blame the producers!
5. Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — “Surfer” Flamenco to "Malaguena" — Get a 10 or die trying. Good motto. This has a lot of Paso to it, which is actually great for them. Shirtless Val alert! Her outfit is a bit much, but they are actually making this work well. There seemed to be a little slip toward the end, but — whoa! Val in a Speedo alert! Good morning! Kelly in a bathing suit! They actually did this justice.
JUDGES: Bruno said Kelly got upstaged by the Speedo. Never work with Speedos or animals. Bruno said it had a lot of aggression and fire but their placement wasn’t there. It was erratic. The placement of the arms is very precise in Flamenco. You know, this is why the Bhangra got straight 10s — they had no idea what it was supposed to look like. Carrie Ann said it was all Paso without enough Flamenco. They pulled off the surfer side very well. Len said if this dance was poker, they went all in. It had attack, it could’ve done with a bit more Flamenco but their energy was fantastic.
SCORES: 8 (WHAT?), 9, 8.5 = 25.5 out of 30. Val thinks the scores were unfair. Agreed! He basically gave a farewell speech, but he shouldn’t count them out. Team Vally will persist!
ROUND 2: MICHAEL JACKSON TRIBUTES
All of these dances will be performed to Michael Jackson songs from his classic album, Bad. MJ’s mom was in the audience.
1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — Argentine Tango to “Dirty Diana” — Melissa wants to know what it feels like to win. At least they are letting Michael Jackson’s songs play out with his voice instead of having the band and singers do it. It just wouldn’t be the same. They had a ton of lifts and tricks in the routine.
JUDGES: Len said for two of the couples it will be their last dances. He would be disappointed if Melissa were one of them. She was crying with emotion. Bruno said she was possessed out there. That sequence of lifts were extraordinary. Bruno said they excelled all expectations. She deserves to be in the finals. He wants America to vote for her. Well, we know where they stand! Should the judges be so open with their preferences? Carrie Ann said it was beyond anything they could’ve imagined for her. She can’t believe Melissa is the underdog. It was sensuous and passionate and the lifts were out of this world. (Didn’t feel the passion from here.)
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out 30. Total of 57.5 out of 60.
2. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough — Argentine Tango to “Bad” — Now this is pretty sharp. But these ATs just make us miss Gilles Marini even more. Remember him with Cheryl on Season 8? Sigh. For once, Shawn and Derek did fewer lifts and tricks than Melissa and Tony. You don’t need a ton of tricks to do a strong routine.
JUDGES: Bruno said they saw two different AT interpretations tonight. This one was breathtaking. Stylistically it was perfect. “Is there anything you can’t do?” he asked Shawn. Carrie Ann said her movements were breathtaking but sometimes dance is more than just movement. she felt Shawn lacked the intimacy, passion, and drama. But Melissa had it with Tony? Hmm. Len said there’s two parts to every dance; you learn the routine and you come out and sell it. For him, Shawn nailed both parts.
SCORES: 9, 10, 10 = 29 out of 30. Total of 59. Based on the audience reaction to everything Team Shawnough does, Shawn is probably going to win. Just a guess.
3. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff — Rumba to “Man in the Mirror” — They’ve had the whole roller-coaster ride this season. He’s tried to get some of his friends to do the show and he’s warned them this would be one of the hardest things they’d ever do. Apolo starts the routine literally looking in a mirror on the stage. It’s a sexy routine, although not much of a showstopper. At least they didn’t get a crazy theme.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said that is what she’s talking about. You don’t have to overdance to achieve perfection. It was emotional, passionate and beautiful. Len said it was like the sea, it was wave after wave of effortless motion. It was calm, captivating, and fabulous. Bruno nailed it. That was perfectly pitched between sensuality and romance. The flow of movement was perfection. Well, they loved it!
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30. Total of 57 out of 60.
4. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke — Tango to “Leave Me Alone” — Even these two sometimes get in little spats during rehearsals. Frustration! Cheryl thinks his dancing level needs to go up a notch so she’s pushing him. Having him lead will help them get there. Their costumes are hot. This Tango does have intensity as well as sharp movements. Pretty good.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30.
5. Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Rumba to "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" —
JUDGES: Bruno said that was smoldering, driven by desire and lust. The chemistry between them is singeing. They were so into it they were performing like they never had. Carrie Ann said it was beautiful. To interpret the song with such honest vulnerability was fantastic. Some of the movements were clipped, but that is Val’s style. Len loves when they speed it and slow it down. The light and shade is fantastic.
SCORES: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5. Bah! What’s it going to take for them to get at least one 10? Total of 54.
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Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.
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