'Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars' Semi-Finals Recap: Now It's Down to Five
'Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars' Semi-Finals Recap: Now It's Down to Five
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
We've reached the semi-finals already? Time sure does fly when you're watching people have dancing fun! Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars has only two weeks left -- and only five celebrities to dance in those two weeks. With double dancing and Michael Jackson themes in the performances, anything can happen. Check it all out in this recap!

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Before we can get to any of the competitive dances, of course, we have to watch the professionals celebrate Michael Jackson for awhile. For the record, they're not dancing to songs from "Bad." That's OK. These are better songs anyway.



The dancers are doing their unusual dance/unusual style performances first.

And we begin with...

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani
Dancing the caveman hustle

My Comments: Oh no! Tony got hurt! Although he apparently recovered enough to dance.

And OMG! Dinosaur! This is officially the weirdest theme in the history of Dancing with the Stars. Caveman moves around the campfire mixed in with funky hustle moves? I can see why Tony was so thoroughly frustrated.

Side note: Parts of this kind of look like that tribal dance everyone did in Can't Buy Me Love. That was a good movie.

And this is a good dance. Weird as anything but a lot of fun and very well-performed.

Judges' Comments
Len: "Fred and Wilma have never danced so well!" "I really enjoyed watching it."
Bruno: "That has to be the most effective use of animal skins since Raquel Welch." "So much whiplash was there." "When you turn, you've got to be on the spot in the hustle."
Carrie Ann: "Yabba dabba fine! I loved it!" "I liked your caveman sections better than the hustle."

Scores: 9+9.5+9 = 27.5


Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
Dancing the Knight Rider bhangra

My Comments: It's rather unfortunate that I can't hear the Knight Rider theme without giggling. Especially since giggling doesn't really go with this dark and serious-looking dance. They're leaping all over the place -- mostly in perfect time with each other. I honestly have no idea if this is what a bhangra is supposed to to look like. But it's definitely what good dancing looks like.

So, yet another awesome dance from Shawn and Derek.

Judges' Comments
Len: "Shut up! Close the door! Call me Mary! I tell you this dynamite was fantastic."
Bruno: "I loved that! Mega-hit!" "This time they've done it... Bhangra-style!!!"
Carrie Ann: "Finally, Shawn is out of breath. Fantastic! Great job."

Scores: 10+10+10 = 30


Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the big top jazz

My Comments: Oh lord. They're mimes. That's almost as bad as clowns!

Wait. Was Karina supposed to put her hand on the ground in that one move? If not, whoops!  This is definitely yet another interesting dance. I don't know that I like it as much as the other two -- it seems a bit disjointed. Maybe that's the style as much as anything? But still, with Melissa's and Shawn's dances, I felt completely drawn-in. This one, I just watched it.

Good. Just not as good as the others.

Judges' Comments
Len: "There was a couple of awkward moments in there." "You are a fighter!"
Bruno: "That was edgy, surreal... It was like a blend of Cirque du Soleil and A Clockwork Orange."
Carrie Ann: "I loved the concept... It was very disjointed." "You were out-of-sync a lot, and a lot of the dismounts were sloppy."

Scores: 8.5+9+9.5 = 27


Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the espionage Lindy hop

My Comments: Oh no! They've exploded the Mirror Ball! Guess no one gets it this year.

Emmitt isn't necessarily keeping up with Cheryl on the fast parts. When it slows down a bit, he's fine -- same thing when they're dancing close together. There's also a bit of an issue with the theme here. It may be the nature of the espionage theme itself, but it's easy to forget what they're supposed to be portraying. Still, it was as fun as we usually get from Emmitt.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I liked the concept, I liked the energy, I liked the lifts, I liked the fun."
Bruno: "That was definitely out there. It was like a Looney Tunes version of James Bond."
Carrie Ann: "You gotta bring us more." "I really think this is your most animated performance ever."

Scores: 9+9+9 = 27


Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the surfer flamenco

My Comments: Unlike the other themes tonight, this one almost makes sense. Or it would if there were any obvious surfer moves in this. As a flamenco, it works great. Also, there is a lot of semi-naked Val Chmerkovskiy going on. So I'm definitely not complaining. But did it have to take so long for them to strip down to the Speedos and splash about in the water.

By the way, Val dropping Kelly into the water at the end is officially the best ending to any dance ever.

Judges' Comments
Len: "If this dance was poker, you went all in." (I thought he said "polka" and was very confused.)
Bruno: "Kelly, I think you've been upstaged by the Speedos." "The flamenco has a very, very exact placement, and it wasn't there."
Carrie Ann: "It was all paso, it really didn't have the flamenco." "I think you pulled off the surfer side very well."

Scores: 8+9+8.5 = 25.5

And Val channels the family contrariness and complains about the scores! With Maks gone, I guess someone has to do it.


Hey, they got Katherine Jackson (mother of Michael) to come sit in the audience!

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani
Dancing the "Dirty Diana" Argentine tango

My Comments: This starts out far more dramatic and contained than the dances we've been seeing all night. That's not a bad thing. The contrast actually makes this stand out more than I think it would otherwise. The actual style of the dance is interesting too -- it's almost robotic in its precision and emotional coldness. Yet somehow the passion of the tango is still there.  Crazy tricks too!

Judges' Comments
Len: "I would be really disappointed if you're not here next week."
Bruno: "You were possessed out there! That sequence of lifts were absolutely extraordinary."
Carrie Ann: "Dirty Diana, I would like to introduce you to Magnificent Melissa." "The lifts were out of this fricking world!"

Scores: 10+10+10 = 30

If tears get you into the finals (along with those perfect moves), then Melissa and Tony are set.


Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
Dancing the "Bad" Argentine tango

My Comments: Oh, they're going for the sexy thing. And by sexy, I mean "About to run away and find a room right after the dance." Oh my.

This, like the Argentine tango that preceded it, remains controlled. The big difference is that Shawn and Derek look like they're about to explode throughout the hold thing. Which they kind of do by spinning like crazy at the end there. Another good one.

Judges' Comments
Len: "You learn the routine... you come out and you sell it. And for me, you nailed both parts."
Bruno: "You went for shapes, lines, style... It was breathtaking." "Stylistically it was perfect!" "Is there anything you can't do?"
Carrie Ann: "Every line is perfect. But dance is sometimes more than just movement." "It lacked a little of the drama and the passion and the intimacy."

Scores: 9+10+10 = 29


Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the "Man in the Mirror" rumba

My Comments: Apolo is literally looking at the man in the mirror. Oh, wait. He's looking at the woman in the mirror (Karina). So confusing.

I kind of think this is exactly the kind of dance that highlights the best of both Karina and Apolo. They're smooth and dramatic, only putting in the athleticism when necessary. I'd like a little more chemistry, but there's really only so much you can force there.

Judges' Comments
Len: "It was like the sea -- there was just wave after wave of effortless motion."
Bruno: "Get down on it, Apolo! You nailed it, I'm telling you. That was perfectly pitched."
Carrie Ann: "That is what I'm talking about!" "You reached into my heart and melted it."

Scores: 10+10+10 = 30


Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the "Leave Me Alone" tango

My Comments: So much tango-ing tonight!

This is not necessarily a good thing for Emmitt, following two incredible tangos. They're dancing well, but I'm not sure that Emmitt really does "passion." This is also slower and less precise than the other dances. I know it's a slightly different dance style, but still. Nice enough dance.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I think you've coped marvelously well."
Bruno: "I love your intensity." "The footwork could have been more exact."
Carrie Ann: "You really brought your A-game." "The hold was a bit broad."

Scores: 9+9+9 = 27

Just going to point out that Carrie Ann thought that was as good as Shawn's dance.


Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" rumba

My Comments: Are they going to finally admit to a relationship at any point? Because, I mean, seriously.

Anyway, we're definitely not talking about any lack of chemistry here. In fact, this is a really beautiful and romantic dance. Kelly and Val do a very good job making us think that there is absolutely no one else in that ballroom.

And was that a real kiss at the end there?

Judges' Comments
Len: "I love it when you speed in and then you slow it down." "You did it wonderful -- well done."
Bruno: "That was smoldering! Driven by desire, consumed by lust!" "You were so into it."
Carrie Ann: "That was beautiful." "I thought some of the movements were a little clipped, but I know that's your style."

Scores: 9.5+9.5+9.5 = 28.5


Who do you think danced the best tonight? Which performances were your favorites? Who will make it into the finals, and which two pairs do you expect to go home on Tuesday? Leave your comments below!

(Images courtesy of ABC)