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Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars: 15.16 – “Semifinals: Week 9 Performances”

There’s a lot happening this week. First of all, 5 couples remain and next week is the finals. So there are going to be 4 couples making it to the end. Also, the couples will perform two dances. One dance that will be an “off-beat challenge” and a second one that will incorporate a Michael Jackson song (ABC is premiering Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson documentary on Thursday, which I’m actually looking forward to, so it’s another way to promote that).

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – “Walk the Dinosaur” – Caveman Hustle
Melissa & Tony got perfect scores for both of their routines this week, so they have a lot to live up to tonight. Also, Melissa is the only person left in the competition who doesn’t have a mirrorball trophy. The routine itself was awful. First of all, the visual effects at the opening were terrible and the costumes and props on the dancefloor were cheesy. Their dancing was decent but all of the other stuff was distracting and took me out of the dance. The judges really liked it though. I think they are really pushing Melissa to win based on their comments not really matching what is happening on-screen.
Carrie Ann: 9
Len: 9.5
Bruno: 9
Total: 27.5

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough – “Mundian to Bach Ke” – Knight Rider Bhangra
Shawn & Derek had an amazing routine last week with their African Samba, but this week they have to mix two different styles together. Bhangra is an Indian folk dance and they have to do it to the theme from the ’80s TV series Knight Rider. Daman Grewal, a Bhangra choreographer, was brought it to help Derek with the concept and the choreography. The routine starts and it’s not the Knight Rider* theme at all. The only thing that makes it look like Knight Rider is Derek’s jacket and the lighting effects behind them. With that out of the way, this is a decent routine and was danced beautifully by both of them. It would’ve been something to remember if Derek didn’t look so ridiculous. Why did they have to add something ridiculous to a dance style that could’ve been amazing without it. Bruno absolutely loved it. He was out of his seat and shouting for joy at the top of his lungs. Carrie Ann & Len also loved it. Shawn’s first perfect score of the season, something she should’ve gotten earlier.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 30

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff – “What You Waiting For?” – Big Top Jazz
During the rehearsal footage, Apolo announces that they are going to be in their most hours of rehearsal yet because they want to make it to the finals. Karina also says that she is going for a modern Jazz style because of the song choice they were given. I love the theme for this routine. Circus costumes are always fun to look at and it looks like the production design team put most of their money into the props here (which might excuse them for the caveman number). But the song choice here was so weird and off-putting that I couldn’t fully commit to the performance. There was also some disconnection between Apolo & Karina again. I wish this was better executed. The judges are mixed on it. Bruno loved it more than the other two.
Carrie Ann: 8.5
Len: 9
Bruno: 9.5
Total: 27

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – “Secret Agent Man” – Espionage Lindy Hop
One thing I appreciate and like about Emmitt Smith on the show is the lack of drama in the rehearsal footage. It’s probably better for the show and gets more people talking when partners fight, but Emmitt & Cheryl get along really well and Emmitt is always game for whatever he’s given each week. I think that’s why he’s done so well on the show and why I look forward to his routines every week. The routine itself was fun. I thought the choreography was a little sloppy and Cheryl looked really spastic in some parts. But Emmitt was completely cool and committed to theme and concept. I thought he was better than Cheryl actually. Solid routine and the judges agreed.
Carrie Ann: 9
Len: 9
Bruno: 9
Total: 27

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy – “Malaguena” – Surfer Flamenco
Val & Kelly were really intense during the rehearsal footage trying to nail their steps for this routine. I also find it interesting that they got the pimp slot this week. I would say that’s a guarantee to the finale if they don’t mess up. And this was a fantastic routine. First of all, I really think for most of the dance they ignored the ridiculous portion and just focused on dancing the Flamenco. The choreography was great. Then at the end, they went up to a platform with some water on it and ended it perfectly. The judges really critiqued the dance though. They thought that the dancing was more of a Paso Doble instead of a Flamenco. I think they were nitpicking to be honest. I retract my previous statement. It seems like the judges are pushing for a Kelly exit now.
Carrie Ann: 8
Len: 9
Bruno: 8.5
Total: 25.5

*Round 2. Time for the Michael Jackson round.*

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – “Dirty Diana” – Argentine Tango
The rehearsal introductions are going to be longer this time around I guess. Melissa talks a lot about her journey in the competition this year and blah blah blah. This routine was pretty spectacular though. Melissa’s best dance of the season so far. Her lines were perfect and the holding of her positions in the lifts was insane. I do think Melissa leaves a bit to be desired performance-wise, but she’s definitely a great dancer. The judges praised her, of course. They are definitely trying to make her a place in the finals. I wonder if they are going to be the main push to win the whole thing, since they are the only couple left not to have won.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 30

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough – “Bad” – Argentine Tango
More of the same stuff with Shawn. She wants to win again and she works hard with Derek in rehearsals. Once again, Shawn has an excellent performance. Her footwork is easily the best in the show’s history. She keeps up with Derek step for step and she is fully committed every time she hits the floor. She deserves to win the mirrorball again and I hope the judges don’t try to manipulate it any more towards Melissa. Carrie Ann critiques Shawn’s “passion” in the dance and it really pisses me off. We understand you want Melissa to win, but that’s bullshit.
Carrie Ann: 9
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 29

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff – “Man in the Mirror” – Rumba
I have to admit, I’m running out of things to talk about with these recaps. Apolo & Karina had better chemistry together in this number, especially compared to earlier dances. It was important for this one because the Rumba is such an intimate dance. They pulled it off. But the routine itself lacked some surprises and I think the choreography could’ve been stronger. The judges loved it though.
Carrie Ann: 10
Len: 10
Bruno: 10
Total: 30

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke – “Leave Me Alone” – Tango
Emmitt was feeling the pressure during rehearsals but it wasn’t much different from the other packages during this round. This performance was strong but there was something lacking in the routine itself. It wasn’t as entertaining or interesting as some of the other dances tonight. The judges were also lukewarm with their comments. I smell a possible upset coming. Emmitt might not be as big of a lock as I thought for the finals next week.
Carrie Ann: 9
Len: 9
Bruno: 9
Total: 27

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy – “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” – Rumba
Kelly brings up her winning the first season of the show and feeling embarrassed. She technically wasn’t better than John O’Hurley and all of the criticism of her victory took a toll on her. I’m glad they finally talked about that because I’ve been wondering when that was going to come up. It took to the semifinals but it finally did. This was a great routine. Val’s choreography has been really impressive this season. I don’t think he’s had a chance to really prove that because he was eliminated so early in the other seasons. Glad that he can show it off now. This was a great routine. It was all about the chemistry between Kelly & Val and they have that in spades. The lighting was also gorgeous. The judges loved it though. She might be headed to the finals after all.
Carrie Ann: 9.5
Len: 9.5
Bruno: 9.5
Total: 28.5

OVERALL:
It was a decent night of dancing. I have to admit, I’m a little less enthused about the season now. The show really lacked some spark tonight without Gilles & Kirstie. The 5 remaining couples kind of blend together for me. Gilles & Kristie brought a different energy and it was apparent it was missing during the show tonight. At this point I think Melissa & Shawn are the only two sure bets for the finals. Apolo is also up there but I don’t think the votes are there for him. It might be a shocker elimination. If I’m thinking logically, then Kelly Monaco goes home. But I think getting the pimp slot is going to benefit her. We might be seeing Emmitt getting his walking papers. It’s up in the air and I guess that’s what the show wanted all along.

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