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Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars: 15.14 – “Week 8 Performances”

The celebrities are back and putting on their dancing shoes for tonight’s performances. Because of the election coverage last week there was no results show and nobody was sent home. This week, all 7 couples will be performing two dances. One style which they haven’t danced yet and then a trio-dance where they will be dancing with an additional partner (one of the already eliminated professionals or a professional from the dance troupe). Then tomorrow night two couples will be eliminated from the competition.

There was a weird moment at the beginning that I DVRed through. There was a weird intro and the show came back from commercials with Tom Bergeron saying that was the most amazing opening we’ve ever had, the space shuttle just landed in the middle of the dance floor. I was like, WTF? Then realized he was joking and made a mention about having technical difficulties. Not sure what happened but you think the top-rated show on the network wouldn’t have problems. But everyone is human. Let’s get to the dances.

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough – “Angel” – Viennese Waltz
Derek was injured last week and she got a perfect score with Mark, but Derek has been cleared by the doctors and he’s back this week. The dance this week is the Viennese Waltz. Because yesterday was Veteran’s Day, Derek is dedicating this piece to the soldiers that didn’t return home and the angels who lead them to heaven. I hate when choreographers try to be manipulative with the theme, but Derek is the strongest choreographer so I trust him a little more. I thought the routine itself was a little short, or at least it seemed that way. Their dancing was perfect but I felt Shawn lacked in performance a little bit this week. The judges loved it. Len called it beautiful and poignant.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 9.5
Bruno: 10
Total: 29.5

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff – “Holding Out for a Hero” – Tango
Apolo is disappointed by the scores last week. He & Karina thought they danced their best all season and they only got 9’s from the judges. They are going to try to impress the judges even more this week, so Apolo is adding a zip-line entrance to the routine. Personally, I don’t see how that entrance is going to help his scores. It’s like an additional thing that the judges don’t even care about because it happened before the music. The routine itself was pretty good. The entrance was a little ridiculous but the actual dancing was strong. It’s the most chemistry he’s had with Karina. I think they’ve been working on that and it showed. The judges really loved it. Also, their routine was short too so I’m guessing that the total times for all the routines are shortened because of the 14 routines total tonight.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 9.5
Bruno: 10
Total: 29.5

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – “Hallelujah” – Viennese Waltz
Kirstie was really disappointed by her performance last week, but she is still very hopeful that she can pick up the slack this week and give one of her best performances ever. “There’s still a little glimmer of hope.” Once again, the routine is way too short. I don’t know why the producers decided to cram all of these performances in when there wasn’t enough time. One minute is too short for these routines. Just when it starts to get going, the dance ends. I thought this was one of Kirstie’s most vulnerable performances. She let go of the wacky comedy and allowed herself to be soft and elegant. And as a side note: I’m tired of hearing “Hallelujah” even though it is a beautiful song. It’s so overused at this point.
Carrie Ann: 9
Len: 9
Bruno: 9
Total: 27

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy – “I’ll Be” – Viennese Waltz
Kelly wasn’t getting the dance during rehearsal at all. But she wasn’t going to give up and she was going to work all the way up to the actual performance. Not a whole lot going on during the pre-recorded stuff. Despite this being the third Viennese Waltz of the night, I thought this was the strongest so far and one of Kelly’s best of the season. And I thought they really packed a lot into the one minute and it felt like the most complete choreography of the night. Len had a few issues with the dance with Kelly’s sharp movements, but Bruno & Carrie Ann were much more positive about it.
Carrie Ann: 9.5
Len: 9
Bruno: 9.5
Total: 28

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd – “Danger Zone” – Quickstep
Peta really pushed Gilles this week because they want to get a perfect score. Peta says that this dance is perfect for Gilles because his frame is impeccable, but to get the perfect score he’s going to have to improve his technical abilities. First of all, let me complain about the time issue again. This could’ve been one of the best of the season if they had another 30 seconds to build the dance. Really well danced by both of them. It was Gilles’ most controlled performance of the season and it really added to the routine. The judges really liked it, but Carrie Ann saw a few “wobbles of the feet”. I bet the producers are telling them not to give out a lot of perfect scores tonight so she had to complain about something.
Carrie Ann: 9.5
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 29.5

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – “Love Letters” – Viennese Waltz
Last week Carrie Ann critiqued Emmitt about his upper body position, so Cheryl wants him to focus and work on that this week. Emmitt also got a visit from his former teammate Daryl ‘Moose’ Johnston and gave him some words of encouragement to do well this week. It must’ve worked because their routine was gorgeous this week. The dance flowed really well and had a smoothness that some of the other Viennese Waltz’ lacked tonight. The judges really liked it. Carrie Ann complained about a little slip-up towards the end and said that she wished Emmitt would push himself a little further. I don’t know what she’s talking about anymore. It was a lovely dance.
Carrie Ann: 9
Len: 9.5
Bruno: 9.5
Total: 28

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” – Quickstep
Melissa & Tony had some great scores last week and ended up on the top of the leaderboard, so they feel the pressure to make sure they stay on top. I thought the routine itself was fun and I enjoyed their performances, but Melissa’s footwork was a little sloppy here. I think it could’ve been better if she had kept up with Tony a little bit more.  The judges really loved it and didn’t critique anything about it. I think they really missed the boat on this one and it makes me suspect that the producers want Melissa to stick around for the semi-finals next week. Hardly worth a perfect score.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 30

*Round 1 is finished. Now it’s time for Round 2 of performances with the trio routines.*

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough with Mark Ballas – “Jungle Jazz” – Samba
Shawn is back with her original partner Mark in the trio dance. It’s basically a repeat of last week but she’s going to actually dance with both of them. This was phenomenal and probably my second favorite of the season so far (behind Shawn & Derek’s Quickstep). Derek’s choreography was amazing and the entire theme of the routine worked extremely well. All of them worked together really well and created a great piece. The judges felt differently though, especially Len. He was pissed that “there was very little Samba content” and he blamed Derek & Mark for being self-indulgent. Len said that is Shawn goes home tomorrow that she should blame the two professionals. Bruno agreed about the lack of content but still loved it. Carrie Ann said she completely loved it and applauded them for taking a big risk.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 7
Bruno: 9
Total: 26

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff with Sasha Farber – “Greased Lightning” – Jive
Apolo & Karina decided to pick a male professional to make them stand out from the other guys (although with more females left in the competition, there are going to more male/female/male trios anyways). One of the things that Sasha said in the rehearsal footage was that they wanted to make sure Apolo stood out in the piece. I don’t think he did and it was a mistake to pick another male partner. The dance became more about Karina with Apolo & Sasha as their back-up dancers. The judges felt differently. Bruno thought he mirrored Sasha the professional perfectly. He thought he was watching twins dancing together. I disagree with the judges once again, what a surprise.
Carrie Ann: 9.5
Len: 9.5
Bruno: 10
Total: 29

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy with Tristan MacManus – “Bring Me to Life” – Paso Doble
The rehearsal footage was hilarious for this routine. Kirstie was a big horndog with both Maksim & Tristan this week. She wanted to forget about the dancing and just have a threesome with both of them. I thought the routine itself was a good concept. Kirstie isn’t the best dance on the show and it really showed this week. I still love Kirstie and I’m really impressed that she’s able to keep up with the others considering her age. She’s just someone who you can root for and I’d rather see that on here than someone with a mediocre personality. The judges were lukewarm with their comments and weren’t too impressed.
Carrie Ann: 8
Len: 8
Bruno: 8
Total: 24

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy with Louis van Amstel – “Animal” – Jive
Kelly was happy in getting Louis because she thought he was the best professional (a little bit of a diss to her partner Val?) and they’ve known each other for a long time. I thought this routine was really fun and one of the best of the night, easily the best Jive of the season so far. Kelly worked really well with both of her partners. Although I have to wonder if Kelly would’ve been better off with Louis as her partner from the beginning. She kept up with the footwork really well, especially when she was in front of both of the guys and kept in sync. I really enjoyed this one.
Carrie Ann: 9.5
Len: 9.5
Bruno: 9.5
Total: 28.5

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd with Chelsie Hightower – “Rebelion” – Salsa
Gilles is excited about his two sexy partners for this dance. From a few moments in the short rehearsal footage, it really looked liked Chelsie was taking some control with the choreography so I wonder if that will benefit them. And after watching the performance, I had some issues with the choreography. A lot of the performance had Gilles working on his own and doing some solo work on the floor. But I thought the end was really strong when he actually danced with both of them. All three of them had great chemistry together and I think the routine would’ve been much stronger had there been more of that in the choreography. The judges really liked it, though Carrie Ann & Bruno critiqued Gilles for getting lost on some of the timing in a few moments.
Carrie Ann: 9.5
Len: 10
Bruno: 9.5
Total: 29

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke with Kym Johnson – “Mr. Saxobeat” – Salsa
The rehearsal footage was funny here again. Kym & Cheryl were really bossing him around most of the time, so they really played up that angle. But Cheryl wanted to make sure it looked like Emmitt was taking charge on the dance floor. I thought the routine was fun and Cheryl & Kym worked really well together. I thought Emmitt lacked a little bit here. He seemed to move really slow compared to the two professionals. There were some nice moments but he really slowed down towards the end. The judges disagreed though and they loved it. They thought it was stronger than his first dance of the night. A perfect score for this? Not deserved at all.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 30

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani with Henry Byalikov – “Rumour Has It” – Paso Doble
Not much really happened during the rehearsal footage. Tony was trying to push out Melissa’s aggressive side to complement the style of the Paso Doble. I thought this was one of the best routines. Melissa actually deserved a lot of praise for this one. Much better than her first performance, IMO. The choreography was great here and the transitions from each partner was flawless. The judges loved it. Len said he’s been the most impressed with her this season. They were overpraising her a little bit tonight, but I actually agree with most of what the judges said for this dance.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 30

OVERALL:
I thought this was a strong night overall. I just really wish the producers didn’t cut some of the dances short because of the time issues. It really hurt the overall quality of the routines. But the second half with the trios actually worked really well. It was a gimmick for sure, but it produced some of my favorite dances of the season so far.

Tomorrow night two couples will be eliminated. At this point, I have to assume Kirstie is a sure thing to be going home. She probably has a lot of fan support but her low scores are going to hurt her. For the second person eliminated, it’s going to be a toss-up between Kelly Monaco & Gilles Marini. Kelly’s routines weren’t too memorable and the middle-of-the-road comments from the judges aren’t a bonus. Gilles also got some of that and I just have a feeling that the judges aren’t too thrilled with him this season, which may affect the voting.

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