No matter what anyone may think of Michael Jackson, one thing on one can take from his place in history is the fact that the superstar could dance circles around the best. As Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars season is winding down, this week’s show has to be among its very best. With only 5 finalist left, it was a fitting tribute for the show to give an All-Stars Salute to Michael Jackson final 5; a phrase reminiscent of the Jackson 5.
With that said, can anybody say that Knightrider Bhangra was not the highlight of the “knight;” I didn’t think so. And by the way, Derek Hough has got to be one of the best choreographers in the competition as the score seemed to reflect. Anyway for those of you who didn’t see Monday night’s “Dancing With the Stars: All Stars,” and more importantly, didn’t see the Bhangra performed, simply scroll down to the end of this article.
With only five couples remaining in the competition, the protocol was for them to face two rounds on Monday. First, the pairs performed mixed-up routines, blending uncommon styles with unusual themes. Then, they celebrated the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s hit album “Bad”
They felt comfortable enough to nitpick those style — and comfortable enough to openly support “underdog” Melissa Rycroft to make the finals.
The lower-scoring couples, Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy still haven’t scored a 10 this season — even with a Speedo, a sexy Rumba, and another makeout session. They are the only 10-free couple in the Semifinals, and we have a double elimination on Tuesday. So, sorry judges, but Team Vally may be the real underdogs.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Week 9 leaderboard:
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough — 30 + 29 = 59
Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — 27.5 + 30 = 57.5
Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff — 27 + 30 = 57
Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — 25.5 + 28.5 = 54
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke — 27 + 27 = 54
Starting with Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: Round I & Round II
If you remember they were last week’s top dancers, which was reflected in their scores. Melissa is the only non-champion left in the competition and she makes that aspect quite clear to everyone. Tony on the other hand tony has a hard time finding inspiration to choreograph a “caveman hustle.” They know their theme could become stupid, especially if it’s a caveman and cavewoman at a disco. Despite Tony’s back injury, he was cleared to participate in the competition Monday night. They throw in some glowing lights and it was wildly entertaining to watch. Len Goodman said Fred and Wilma have never danced so well. Melissa never disappoints. It was the hustle with no hassle. Tony had the muscle, Melissa had the hustle. He enjoyed watching it. Bruno Tonioli said it was the most effective use of animal skins since Raquel Welch. There was so much whiplash. But a couple of turns were a bit unsteady. Carrie Ann Inaba loved it. She thought it was a perfect way to bring together two random themes. But she liked their caveman section better than the hustle. There was a special caveman section?
SCORES: 9, 9.5, 9 = 27.5 out of 30.
It was truly difficult to figure out a criterion to judge these dances.
Argentine Tango to “Dirty Diana” — Melissa wants to know what it feels like to win. At least they are letting Michael Jackson’s songs play out with his voice instead of having the band and singers do it. It just wouldn’t be the same. They had a ton of lifts and tricks in the routine.
Melissa’s legs have never looked longer or leaner as she slithered around Tony, with steam pipes blowing in the background and red lights glowing. The audience loved it and so did the judges. Len said he would be “really disappointed” if she’s not in the finals next week. Bruno called her a “nasty devil of a woman! You were possessed out there!” He said the lifts were “extraordinary.” Carrie Ann said it was “beyond anything I could have imagined for you.” Melissa got emotional about it all, saying she was “so proud” of the routine.
Scores: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Total: 57.5.
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: Round I & Round II
Derek Hough said he would rather put mustard on ice cream than combine their Knight Rider theme with the Bhangra style. Shawn Johnson had to meld a 1980s TV show with an Indian dance — Knight Rider and Banghra. Derek brought in an outside choreographer to show them Banghra moves. Did it help? He sported a black leather jacket to pull off the Knight Rider part, while Shawn covered the sparkly Bollywood belly-baring look. The dance included lots of flailing and twirling and ended with Shawn doing a headstand on Derek’s leg. It was impressive, and they must have burned 1,000 calories in the 90 seconds they were on the floor. The crowd went nuts for it. Bruno gave Shawn a hug, saying they went “Banghra style” (a nod to Gangnam Style). Carrie Ann praised it, recognizing it was a “really challenging routine. Finally, Shawn is out of breath.” Len raved that it was “fantastic.” Said Derek afterward, “Forget Zumba. But the judges ate up the routine Banghra.”
Scores: 10, 10, 10 = 30.
Shawn and Derek danced a precise and sexy Argentine Tango to “Bad.” Now this is pretty sharp. For once, Shawn and Derek did fewer lifts and tricks than Melissa and Tony. You don’t need a ton of tricks to do a strong routine. Bruno said, “It was breathtaking. Stylistically, it was perfect. … Is there anything you can’t do?” Carrie Ann said, “Every line was perfect.” Then, obviously looking for a nit to pick, she said she thought Shawn “lacked a little drama, passion and intimacy.” (The crowd booed.) Len said Shawn “nailed” it. While talking to Brooke Burke-Charvet, Shawn admitted, “These dances are exhausting.”
Scores: 9, 10, 10 = 29. Total: 59.
Apolo Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: Round I & Round II
“Big Top” Jazz to “What You Waiting For:” Apolo Anton Ohno said in rehearsals that his “Big Top Jazz” was “really hard. … It’s just not sticking in the brain.” He and partner Karina Smirnoff looked frustrated and exhausted. They have put in the most hours this week. “It’s like this relentless pursuit of perfection that is seemingly unattainable,” Ohno said. So did it seem that way on the dance floor? Apolo slipped a little on his way onto the floor and there were other slip-ups in the routine that turned out to be a weird interpretation of mime with ballroom and jazz. Carrie Ann said it was “disjointed,” the dismounts were “sloppy” and it never quite all “came together.” Len said there were “a couple of awkward moments in there,” but praised Apolo’s fighter mentality. Bruno thought it was “edgy” — a blend of Cirque du Soleil and A Clockwork Orange — and said they did an “excellent” job with the jazz moves.
Scores: 8.5, 9, 9.5 = 27.
Rumba to “Man in the Mirror” — They’ve had the whole roller-coaster ride this season. He’s tried to get some of his friends to do the show and he’s warned them this would be one of the hardest things they’d ever do. Apolo starts the routine literally looking in a mirror on the stage. It’s a sexy routine, although not much of a showstopper. At least they didn’t get a crazy theme. Apolo danced a romantic and beautiful rumba. Carrie Ann said, “You reached into my heart and melted it.” Len likened it to the sea with “wave after wave of effortless motion. … It was fabulous.” Bruno said, “The flow of movement was perfection.” It was one of their most creative and inventive performances, he added.
Scores: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Total: 57.
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: Round I & Round II
“Espionage” Lindy Hop to “Secret Agent Man:” Emmitt Smith and pro Cheryl Burke had to dance an Espionage Lindy Hop, which meant they had to be campy spies doing a high-energy dance. “They’re trying to wear us completely out,” complained Emmitt in rehearsals. “And all this cartoonish stuff is going to be challenging, but the whole show has been challenging.” Well the goal of their espionage lindy hop was to be cartoonish. Cheryl stripped down to her bra, and Emmitt flipped her over his shoulder. Though that was tough for the former Dallas Cowboy, the judges were pleased and awarded the pair 27 points. The crowd gave them a standing ovation. “It was like aLooney Tunes version of James Bond,” Bruno said. “It was the most fun performance I’ve seen you do.” Their tango to “Leave Me Alone” was more of a challenge, but Len still gave Smith credit: “You’ve coped marvelously well with two dances that didn’t really suit you,” he said. Carrie Ann, rambling on until she couldn’t talk anymore, said it was Emmitt’s “most animated performance ever.”
Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27.
Tango to “Leave Me Alone:” Emmitt did an aggressive tango to Leave Me Alone for his second dance. He spun partner Cheryl Burke around the ballroom floor. Len praised it, noting that it was harder than the Argentine tango. “Well done.” Bruno liked his “predatory power” but felt his footwork could have been “more exact.” Carrie Ann said he “really brought his A-game” but quibbled about his hold.
Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27. Total: 54.
Kelly Monaco & Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Round I & Round II
“Surfer” Flamenco to “Malaguena” Kelly Monaco was worked hard by sweetie Val Chmerkovskiy during rehearsals for their Surfer Flamenco dance. With palm trees and surfboards in the ballroom, the two danced a fierce Flamenco. Val threw his shirt off, revealing his cut torso. Then he took his pants off and danced in a Speedo – woo! – and Val threw off her dress (down to a one-piece bathing suit) and they danced on a watery platform. It was tough and fierce and the two kissed tenderly when it was over. Kelly wrapped up in a skirt. Val stayed in his swimsuit.
Bruno said it had a “lot of aggression and fire,” but lacked proper placement. “It was erotic,” but not precise enough. Carrie Ann said she agreed. “It was all paso” and not enough Flamenco. Len said, “If this dance was poker, you went all in.” He thought it had “verve and attack,” and that was “fantastic.”
Scores: 8, 9, 8.5 = 25.5.
Rumba to “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You:” Before Kelly and Val hit the dance floor for their rumba, we saw more of their love story. They kissed in rehearsals so deeply at one point that pro Louis Van Amstel muttered, “Get a room!” Val told Kelly they would be dancing to “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” “We can really relate to the song, I think,” Val told her. “It’s Week 9 already and I still can’t stop loving you, Kelly.” On the dance floor, they put their intimacy on display. Bruno said that was smoldering, driven by desire and lust. The chemistry between them is singeing. They were so into it they were performing like they never had. Carrie Ann said it was beautiful. To interpret the song with such honest vulnerability was fantastic. Some of the movements were clipped, but that is Val’s style. Len loves when they speed it and slow it down. The light and shade is fantastic.
Scores: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5 Total: 54.
On Tuesday, two celebs will be sent home. Paula Abdul and The Wanted perform. So, which three celebs deserve a spot in next week’s finals?