Dancing with the Stars 5: Top 4 Performance Live Thoughts
Welcome to the penultimate week of Dancing with the Stars 5.  In this semi-final round, only four couples remain.  They are Scary Spice Melanie Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, racecar driver Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough, actress Jennie Garth and Derek Hough and entertainer and Mormon Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts.  Last week's results show was mildly surprising when Cameron Mathison and Edyta Sliwinska were eliminated from Dancing with the Stars instead of the lowest-scoring pair, Marie and Jonathan.  Keep refreshing your browser while I provide live thoughts during tonight's Dancing with the Stars performance show to find out if Marie really does have what it takes to beat the other three pairs and win it all.

This week, the celebrity dancers each got a master class with Len.  They also get to pick their own styles, one ballroom and one Latin.

Marie Osmond is first.  They have opted to do the quickstep and the mambo this week.  They do the quickstep first, and it's really good.  Not quite as good as the other quickstep she did, but still good nonetheless.  She does a cool spin thing on her stomach at the end.  The judges like her performance too, and it shows in their scores.  Carrie Ann and Len give her tens and Bruno gives her a nine, for 29 out of 30.

Mel and Maks are next. This week, they chose the paso doble and the Viennese waltz. The paso doble was the one that she got a perfect 30 on, and she wants to improve her Viennese waltz. Her schedule is still crazy as ever. Her fellow Spice Girls all think that Mel should win.

Their Viennese waltz is first. It's really awesome. They've got a lot of spins and Mel does this really impressive walk in which each step goes down into the splits. Really full of technique, although the end seemed a bit funny and not synchronous with the music, but that may have been the camera work. The judges are unanimous in their praise.  And it shows in the scores: they get yet another perfect 30.

Next is Jennie and Derek.  Last week, Bruno thought that Jennie didn't have the pizazz enough to wow him.  This week, Jennie took her kids to Disney World, and she arranged a dance with Mickey Mouse in front of the castle.  She campaigns hard for everyone's votes.  They've got the tango and the cha cha tonight, and by the way, Derek looks incredibly yummy rehearsing in his jeans.

They have the tango first.  I think she starts out a bit tentatively, but then gets into the groove.  Notwithstanding her cool floor spin at the end, I'm sorry to say that I thought the dance was a tad boring.  Carrie Ann thought it was nice, except for the lack of chemistry between Jennie and Derek.  Len disagrees and thinks this tango was very good.  Bruno makes eyes at Derek as he compliments him on the choreography.  We come back after the commercial break to find out their scores.  They get nines from Carrie Ann and Bruno and a ten from Len for a 28.  Jennie has really dramatic eye makeup, which is distracting me.

Of course, Helio and Julianne are next.  They got a perfect 30 last week, and to thank her for her hard work, Helio fills their dance studio with balloons and flowers, and introduces her to Rascal Flatts.  He feels a lot of pressure, being the only one of the XY persuasion left in the competition.

They've got the foxtrot first, and they both start out waving canes around.  I love it!  Everyone is so good tonight!  Helio has really improved, he's smooth when he needs to be, and has some pretty intricate steps in there too.  Len calls Helio a gherkin tonight because of his green suit.  Bruno calls him a wizard and promises to eat his book if Helio doesn't make the finals.  Carrie Ann thinks Helio looks like a little leprechaun.  They go backstage, and we'll get their scores after the commercial break.  And we're back!  Helio and Julianne's scores are straight tens.  A perfect 30 to match Mel's.

And that concludes the ballroom round of tonight's performances.  The scores are really, really close, with only two points separating the highest and lowest scores.

Now, we take a look into Len's Latin master classes in a little spy movie spoof.  He coaches Marie first.  He wants her to work on her hip action.  Len looks funny shaking his hips.  Next, he's off to see Helio and they're going to work on his feet.  He wants Helio to lower his heels, and they share a near-kiss.  Ha!  Next, he wants to work on Jennie's arms.  He tells Jennie not to over-extend her arms.  Last on the list is Mel.  Len tells Mel to be sharper and not to look down.  Mel is wearing this awful t-shirt with a spider web open back.  Len has accomplished his mission and leaves on a helicopter.

Marie and Jonathan have the mambo to start the Latin round.  They've got kind of ridiculous costumes going on.  I am particularly objecting to Jonathan's ruffly sleeves, but these get torn off in the middle of the routine, thank God.  I don't know if it's just the choregraphy, but I don't find Marie's movements to be as tight as they can be.  Bruno says that it was madcap and frenetic, and that Marie lost her footwork five times.  And here are their scores: straight nines for a 27 out of 30.  A total of 56 out of 60 for the night.

Next up are Mel and Maks, dancing the paso doble.  Maks has a ridiculous red velvet jacket that he immediately takes off.  They really do the whole dominatrix thing really well; the first seconds of their dance involves Mel twirling a whip.  I guess Maks is the bull and Mel is the torero.  They have a high level of technique that is very satisfying to watch.  Carrie Ann loves the whip.  Len loves the dance, and Bruno loves the precision of her footwork.  Tom makes jokes about the whip.  They get another perfect score, so they have 60 out of 60.  A perfect night.

The Dancing with the Stars Latin round continues with Jennie and Derek's cha cha.  I think Jennie's technique is much better in this dance than in the first.  Her footwork and her hip work are much cleaner, and she seems more assertive.  The only thing is, I really notice the disparity in talent between Jennie and Derek a lot more.  Overall, though, it was a great experience.  The judges are unanimous in their praise for her and they give her a perfect 30!  They've got 58 out of 60 for the night.

It's time for the final dance of the evening.  Helio and Julianne dance the cha cha as well.  They start it on the staircase.  Helio opens his mouth a lot while dancing.  But his dance is really energetic and fun.  I'm not sure he incorporated all of Len's critiques about his footwork, though.  Bruno does his usual raving madman routine and loves it.  Carrie Ann agrees.  Len thinks Helio and Julianne are the stand-out couple of the evening.  Backstage, Julianne hogs the microphone as they wait for their scores.  Yet another perfect 30.  A perfect 60 out of 60 for the night, to make them tied with Mel and Maks for the lead.  Wow, the scores are all so high,  I'm not sure how this is going to play out, and I can't wait until the Dancing with the Stars results show tomorrow night to find out.

-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)