Week nine - THE SEMI-FINALS:
This week each dancer had 2 dances. The first dance was a dance and theme that a) didn't go together, b) rarely (if ever) used on the show and c) chosen by another couple on last week's results night. The second was a dance that they haven't done yet this season, done to a song from Michael Jackson's "Bad" (for the 25th anniversary). Topping all this was yet another double elimination.
Shawn Johnson stopped the show with an indescribable Bhangra, done to the theme - and the "theme" - of "Knight Rider" (chosen by Emmitt & Cheryl)! It was incredibly fast, incredibly intricate, and incredibly...well...incredible. For the first time, little Energizer Bunny Shawn was out of breath, and it was only her first dance of the night! Derek was smart in hiring an outside choreographer. I think some of the others (I'm thinking of Val) could have benefitted from doing likewise. A well-earned perfect 30.
Her second dance was an Argentine Tango to the title song from "Bad". I thought she had a distinct disadvantage on this for two reasons: first, Melissa had already done a perfect AT (see below); second, I didn't think that "Bad" was an AT song. I underestimated Derek's choreography. It was near perfection, daring, and spot-on. Shawn not only showed her athleticism and musicality, but also her maturity. In other words, I don't think she could have done the same dance the first time she was on the show.
Kelly Monaco received a "Surfer" Flamenco (a Flamenco song done with "surfer" instrumentals) from Melissa & Tony. While they had the surfer part down pat, even my 10-year-old daughter commented, "They're doing a Paso Doble!" There was very little Flamenco, but what they DID do was fun, with eye-candy for all as they ended the dance by dancing in water in swim suits.
Kelly made up for it with her incredibly romantic Rumba to "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". I feel she acted her little heart out, making it sweet, sexy, romantic, longing, and technically near perfect. It was simply beautiful.
Apolo Ohno had to muddle through "Big Top" Jazz, courtesy of Gilles and Peta (before their elimination: they had received "Mad Monk" Merengue). Not counting a foot slip - beautifully recovered - by Apolo, I found the entire dance to be awkward and bizarre.
Apolo likewise made up for that with a Rumba to "Man In the Mirror" that was, in my opinion as well as the judges, even better than Kelly's. He led Karina around the floor with such smooth, sexy style that it was unforgettable. It also received a perfect 30, as it should have.
Melissa Rycroft had me simultaneously laughing out loud and cheering in amazement with her "Caveman" Hustle, picked by Kelly and Val. What didn't help me is I LOVE the song "Walk the Dinosaur"! As the only non-champion left, she has the most to prove...and she did.
She did likewise with her Argentine Tango to "Dirty Diana" that, in my opinion, should rank among some of the best dances in the history of the American DWTS! Some of the lifts, moves, turns and tricks that were done didn't look like they were humanly possible, but through the entire thing, she never broke character. Another perfect 30.
Emmitt Smith completely lost it, in my opinion, in his "Espionage" Lindy Hop. While "cartoonish" is supposed to fit with Lindy, it was more "characature", almost like he was making fun of it. He also didn't look comfortable, like he was being forced. While he may have felt that was (and, indeed, was, in the true sense), you're not supposed to SHOW it.
His Tango to "Leave Me Alone" was similarly lackluster and cookie-cutter. While Cheryl did make some spectacular moves (I loved her getting down from the platform at the beginning), Emmitt seemed more like a supporting player.
The Results show had an incredible musical moment, with Paula Abdul doing her "Dream Medley" (of some of her biggest hits) danced and sang to a multi-media presentation that had to be seen to be believed. The thought of the measuring, timing, etc., to put this together was mind-boggling! It showed Paula in fine voice and form, and is definitely one to be viewed again and again. The Wanted also performed. I had never heard them before - only just heard OF them - and found them unoffensive and not-too-bad. A couple of the boys have rather fantastic voices and, IMO, should lead more.
As last week, one of the eliminations was announced in the middle of the show. At this point, ALL eliminiations are painful, but we're not down to the FINAL THREE. The ninth and tenth All-Stars sent home were...Apolo Anton Ono and Emmitt Smith!