In one week, the Mirror Ball Trophy will be awarded on Dancing with the Stars season 19. But to get there, the five remaining couples must survive the semifinals. One pair will be eliminated and they will all perform twice to the same song, one plugged and the other unplugged.
With Tommy Chong at the bottom of the leaderboard and a possibly dangerous back injury for Alfonso Ribeiro, things are certainly turning in favor of the three young female stars left in the competition.
LIVE…from Hollywood…this is Dancing with the Stars!
The opening refers to four Aces and one Wild Card (aka Tommy). We all know Tommy needs to go. And the good news is that Alfonso seems fine in the intro. We’re starting with the Plugged performances.
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Quickstep
It’s funny that they got a perfect score last week even though Sadie totally messed up the final five seconds. That momentary slip seems to have ruined Sadie’s confidence and she’s not handling the pressure well. The dancing is good, but something seems inauthentic about her to me. It’s like Mark is dragging her around and forcing her to do this. But the judges love everything about it, including her shining light.
Judges’ Scores: 9+10+9+9=37
Once again, Len Goodman is the nice guy. Erin Andrews suggests that it’s because Sadie named Len her #ManCrushMonday on Instagram.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Jazz
Even Peta is shocked that Tommy’s fan base has kept him around this long. Hey, recreational weed was legalized in two more states and Washington D.C. two weeks ago, so don’t underestimate stoners. He is certainly losing his steam. He was actually a decent dancer at the start of the season, but now he’s a mess and they’re resorting to the horny old man stuff way too much. This would be cute if it weren’t for the semifinals. The judges once again were entertained, but ignore any actual dancing critique. They give him a free pass because he’s so old.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
I have to assume the 1 through 6 paddles have all been removed from the show.
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Samba
Derek was out of the zone this week and couldn’t think of any new and exciting choreography. The routine opens with Derek stealing Bethany from Sasha Farber and ends with Bethany ducking out of the way as both boys try to kiss her, so Derek and Sasha accidentally kiss. Wow, a gay kiss on DWTS? Cool. It feels like a Trio Dance again and I actually love the concept and creativity, but Bethany is just OK. The judges aren’t wild about it, nor should they be.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36
Seriously? With those judges’ comments, I totally expected an 8.
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Paso Doble
Maks visited rehearsals to give his brother a few pointers on winning. Also, Janel and Val are very couple-like. I absolutely adore the routine. Val is doing some fantastic choreography this season, adding intense, Contemporary elements to everything he does. It’s packed with emotion and they are just flawless. The judges loved it and wanted more. So did I.
Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10+10=40
Perfection! I’m starting to feel like this could actually be Vals’ season to win, which would make 2014 an all-Chmerkovskiy year on DWTS.
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Argentine Tango
Alfonso’s back goes out during rehearsals. He saw several doctors and his body is definitely starting to suffer from the rigors of the competition. At least he’s dancing. Alfonso has been giving it his all throughout the season, and it’s obvious in this routine that they slowed down a lot. It’s less than he normally does, but he does a great job of doing a lot with a little. He’s obviously in pain and it wasn’t that exciting, but he did a solid job getting through it and an injured Alfonso is still way better than Tommy and equal to Sadie and Bethany. The judges are very kind about how he danced safely, but well.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36
Those are sympathy 9s, but I’m fine with that.
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Argentine Tango
We get more backstory on the contestants, and Sadie was preaching about God since she was a very little girl. They double-down on country fans by having family friend Luke Bryan talk about how impressed he is with Sadie’s dancing. For some reason, they dance while both holding onto a guitar. It’s good and gets better as it goes with the intensity, but I feel like her footwork at the start isn’t perfect. Julianne liked the guitar because it created a barrier and prevented it from being too passionate, which sticks with her values. The judges like it and respect it, but they’re not overly wild about it.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+10+9=37
There is no 8 paddle tonight. It’s only 9s and 10s for the Top 4.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Rumba
Tommy had a hard life growing up, going to an orphanage for a while and learning to entertain the older kids. He did music and comedy and made it big when he and Cheech moved to L.A. And he’s nowhere near done with his career, even at 76. It’s a very cool concept where she’s like a music box figure who comes to life and dances with her creator, and there’s a lot of pain and sadness on Tommy’s face. The dancing is OK, but the emotion is superb. The judges are overwhelmed and Carrie Ann Inaba cries.
Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9+8=34
He’d better be eliminated tonight because those scores might push him to the Final 3 if he survives.
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Contemporary
She was home-schooled until third grade and then got bullied when she went to public school. “I was bullied and now I’m on YouTube” is all I know about her. People talk about how amazing and real she is on YouTube, but then they show a clip of her talking about loving tacos. I hate that I live in a world where loving tacos is enough to make someone a celebrity. Derek is shirtless and they use a picture frame the whole time. It’s beautiful to watch, but all of my attention was on the frame and Derek’s body. Was Bethany even there? The judges LOVE it, so it’s another testament to Derek’s choreography being more important than whoever is doing the dancing.
Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10+10=40
I predicted that this would get a perfect score the minute I heard Derek was doing a Contemporary routine. Nothing else mattered.
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango
She was a childhood ham from Hawaii and moved to L.A. for a Les Mis role. It was tough, but then she got Pretty Little Liars. That’s a pretty charmed life, born in Hawaii and then booking a huge hit series when she moves to L.A. This is the third Argentine Tango of the night, and also the best. The Chmerkovskiys are Tango masters and this is another stunning, intense, emotionally charged performance from these two. There are also some amazing lifts, but Carrie Ann hated how ungraceful they were. It also opens with Val playing a little violin.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+10+10=38
They continue the trend of all 9s and 10s for the Top 4. This is going to be a tight leaderboard.
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Contemporary
He was always a happy kid and broke through with The Tap Dance Kid, which led to a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson and Silver Spoons. Hey, Ricky Schroeder and the butler from Fresh Prince are in his video package. Awesome! Oh, and former Vice President Dan Quayle also talks about his good friend Alfonso. WTF? I was not aware that those two were friends, that’s crazy. The performance is dreamlike and raw, with a great quality of movement. It’s still kind of reserved and clear that he has issues, but it’s more free and exciting. The judges all love it, especially Witney’s ability to choreograph for Alfonso’s back injury without losing the quality.
Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10+10=39
That’s nice, especially since it didn’t quite deserve perfection.
The first couple in the finals is…Alfonso and Witney!
The second couple in the finals is…Janel and Val!
The third couple in the finals is…Bethany and Derek!
No surprises there.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd ARE ELIMINATED!
That’s completely expected. At least he went out on top with a great routine, and it’s hard to be sad since the other four obviously deserve to be in the finale more than him. The most surprising thing about this season is the complete lack of surprising results. Every single time, one of the three lowest scores was eliminated.
Next week is going to be tough, especially since the scores are so close. On Monday the couples will dance twice, including the Freestyles, and one more will be eliminated. The Final 3 move on to Tuesday night at 9 pm for the two-hour finale with one last performance and the winner is revealed, along with a slew of other performances.
78: Janel Parrish
76: Bethany Mota
75: Alfonso Ribeiro
74: Sadie Robertson
(Image courtesy of ABC)