The semi-finals are finally upon us! The Dancing with the Stars
field has narrowed to just four out of the original 13 celebrities who took the challenge to become accomplished ballroom dancers. I'm saying right now that it's going to be a nail-biter. Each of the four contestants has a viable chance at winning the mirror ball trophy, so which is it gonna be?
Stay with me tonight as I share with you my live thoughts. Also, you can keep up-to-date with the goings-on of Dancing with the Stars
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The episode opens immediately with a performance by three pairs of professionals dancing a medley of styles which we will presumably see the four remaining contestants perform in the first hour of the episode tonight. The piece was choreographed by Louis van Amstel.
The couples will once again have to perform one ballroom and one Latin style tonight.
Since there are only eight performance tonight but a full 122 minutes of programming, we're going to need a lot of filler. Tonight, much of the filler takes the form of each couple looking back on some of their best performances from previous weeks. First, Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani take a look back at their foxtrot from week 3, and then the samba from last week, for which they earned a perfect 30. Tonight, Melissa and Tony will be performing a quickstep and a cha cha.Tom Bergeron makes a joke about how bright white Melissa and Tony's teeth are.
Now, it's a trip down memory lane for Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke. This is the highest-scoring couple. They haven't scored lower than a 24. They talk about their foxtrot from last week. Their favorite Latin dance was the paso doble from week 5. This dance is notable for several reasons: it started with a shirtless Gilles, ended with Gilles sticking it to Cheryl in an uber-sexualized motion, and they earned an almost perfect 29 for it. (Thanks for catching my mistake, JulieLove!) Tonight, they've got the waltz and the salsa. Onstage, Tom Bergeron makes some observations about Cheryl's crankiness, and I totally agree! Has she gotten crankier over the seasons?
Next up under the microscope lens are Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas. They agree that their breakthrough ballroom dance was the quickstep from last week, week 9. Shawn thinks that this was the first time that the "real" Shawn Johnson shone through in the performance. Remember, this was the routine in which they broke the hold rule and got docked a point from each of the judges for their trouble. They promise not to break any rules for tonight. Their best Latin dance was the paso doble, also from week 9. Shawn says that this was a turning point for her because she was able to perfect the fierce character of the paso. She says that taking on the character of the paso was the most difficult part for her. Tonight, they have the Argentine tango and the jive.
Here's a look at the breakthrough dances of Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower. Ty thinks that their comeback dance was the quickstep in week 6 because it proved to the audience and to the judges that he can actually dance. Chelsie also commends him for having such good strength and posture in that dance. Their breakthrough Latin dance was the lindy hop from week 4. Chelsie says that the this was their breakthrough because it was the first time Ty showed that he is capable of more doing the robot dance for Latin styles. This was also a key performance for Ty because of his phenomenal strength. Tonight, they will perform a Viennese waltz and a samba.
The Ballroom Round
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani - Quickstep
In the rehearsal, Melissa and Tony take a lot of care to fix Melissa's feet so that she does heel-leads instead of balletic toe-leads.
They are dressed in black and white tonight, very elegant, Their quickstep is really fun, but you know, I think we've seen better quicksteps. I don't really have the eye to see if something is a heel lead versus a toe lead, so I'll defer to the judges on this one. As soon as they finish, the audience leaps to their feet.
Len says that Melissa and Tony had a lot of musicality and phrasing, and he says that the her feet are much improved. Bruno says that it was very, very good, but it wasn't as exhilarating and zinging as he would have wanted, and I think I agree with him. Carrie Ann Inaba agrees. She says that the movements are beautiful, but that Melissa doesn't project as much joy as she should.
Carrie Ann: 9
Total: 28 out of 30
Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke - Waltz
Cheryl decides that they shouldn't go overboard on the sexiness this week since the judges were so down on their rumba last week, so Cheryl has Jonathan Roberts come in to rehearsal to show him how to be smooth and classy. Aww, I love Jonathan and wish he were back.
I kind of hate the big feathered hemline of Cheryl's dress, and I wish they could do something to Gilles' hair that doesn't involve slicking it back, but their waltz is so beautiful that I'll forgive them. Unlike Melissa, Gilles' performance is straight from his soul.
Before Tom even introduces the judges again, Bruno jumps to his feet and raves about how great it was. Carrie Ann says that they captured the fantasy quality of ballroom. Len very calmly and very Britishly gives them "a sitting down standing ovation." Heh. I'm smelling perfect 30 here.
Carrie Ann: 10
Total: 30 out of 30, their first perfect 30 since week 4.
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-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)