Welcome to the semi-finals of Dancing with the Stars: All Stars, where not only are we one step closer to finding out who is the fairest of them all and the winner of this best-of-the-best season, but we also get a medley of Michael Jackson songs. Still in the running to be America’s Next Top Dancer are Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, other Olympic gold medalist Apolo Anton Ohno, NFL legend Emmitt Smith, General Hospital star Kelly Monaco and the current frontrunner Melissa Rycroft. At this point in the competition everyone is in it to win it, the judges are handing out 9s like this is Oprah (“And you get a 9! And you get a 9!) and the audience is packed with lesser Jacksons eager to have their pockets lined by royalty payments from the DWTS coffers.
Here’s how the dance was danced and the finalists were made:
Good Omen: Tonight’s show kicks off with an interpretative dance to a “Smooth Criminal”/”The Way You Make Me Feel” medley performed by the DWTS troupe. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re dancing to the King of Pop, although I’m sure one of the “stars” will prove me wrong.
Best Special Effects: Last week, the stars were given incongruous dance styles. Tony Dovolani and Melissa Rycroft got Caveman Hustle. Tony was stumped as to how to choreograph the routine, so he opted to go for distraction and hope the judges didn’t notice. He set a routine to “Walk the Dinosaur,” ordered up a huge CGI Tyranosaurus Rex and some costumes from Slutty Cavemen R Us. The only thing that could have improved the routine was if one of them were eaten. Len Goodman declared it a “hustle with no hassle.”
Best Bergeronism of the Night: Pro Tony Dovolani injured his back during rehearsal, but with a “lot of injections” managed to dance through the pain. Tom Bergeron assured him,”Don’t worry, Tony, you’re not the only person in Hollywood with a lot of injections.” The duo earned a 27.5.
Best Combo Platter: Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough were instructed to dance a Knight Rider Bhangra, which confused both of them. However the duo shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, because it’s unlikely that they could be dinged for illegal lifts or missed steps as the judges undoubtedly have no idea what a Knight Rider Bhangra is either. Without being tied to any pesky rules, the dancers thrived and the audience and judges loved it. Len Goodman declared, “SHUT UP! CLOSE THE DOOR! CALL ME MARY!” which I think means he really liked it. They got a perfect 30, and in an even more shocking development, I may rewind and watch it again.
Best Workout: No matter what the routine or the number of steps involved, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson has never gotten winded during a DWTS performance. Until she met the Knight Rider Bhangra, that is. So move over pole dancing, we’ll all be signing up for that class at our local gyms next month even though, Shawn announced, “I still don’t really know what Bhangra is!”
The Biggest Nightmare: Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff were tasked with dancing a Big Top Jazz routine, but their costumes ended up as the unholy union between a mime, A Clockwork Orange and a scary clown who keeps making jazz hands. * Shudder * Carrie Ann Inaba hated it almost as much as I did, calling it “disjointed,” but Bruno Tonioli loved it. They got 27 out of 30.
Most Obvious Music Choice: The goofy Espionage Lindy Hop that Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke danced was, of course, set to “Secret Agent Man.” Bruno called it a Looney Tunes version of James Bond and that’s hard to argue with. The judges loved it and gave them a 27, which is the same score that everyone is getting tonight.
Most Blatant Bid for Votes: In the middle of their incongruous Surf Flamenco, Val Chmerkovskiy stripped down to his swimsuit, causing Bruno to almost faint and then point out that Kelly was upstaged by Val’s Speedo. Unfortunately, the judges thought it was all paso dobles and not enough flamenco. They got a 25.5, which is the lowest score so far, even though Bruno almost plotzed.
Funniest Line of the Night: During her behind-the-scenes training video, Melissa Rycroft scoped out the competition. Shawn is a strong competitor, Emmitt has charisma, and “Kelly and Val just have this undeniable chemistry.” In the words of Mean Girls, stop trying to make Val and Kelly happen. But Melissa didn’t need to worry about the competition, because she and Tony earned a perfect 30 for their Argentine tango to “Dirty Diana.”
Best (Almost) Brawl: Shawn and Derek performed their Argentine tango to “Bad” filled with crisp moves, insane lifts, and impeccable timing. Bruno thought it was perfect and when Carrie Ann disagreed, announcing that it was lacking in drama, Bruno attacked and Tom had to come separate them. Len took pity on Bruno and spared him an aneurysm by giving the couple a ten for a total of 29.
Most Heartfelt Performance: I’ve never researched it, but I’m pretty sure that Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror” is about hoping that someday, if he worked really hard, someone clad in boob tape and a sparkly see-through bodysuit would dance a rumba with an Olympic speed skater on national television. That’s what the song is about, right? They earned a 30.
Everyone Gets a 27: Emmitt and Cheryl’s traditional tango to “Leave Me Alone” earned the duo a 27, despite the fact that the judges peppered their comments with arguments about whether or not the couple really committed themselves to the dance.
Weirdest Statement of the Night: “I feel safe doing the rumba with Val.” —Kelly Monaco before performing a rumba to “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” in a bejeweled toga so tiny that it would have made Socrates blush. They earned a 29.5.
Way TMI: As Val carried Kelly up the stairs to Brooke Burke-Charvet’s aerie, Brooke announced, “We were all feeling aroused up here!” To his credit, Val did not turn around and run the other direction. They earned 28.5.
Best Reason To Come Back Tomorrow: Double elimination.
Second Best Reason To Come Back Tomorrow: The Wanted, the bad boys of boy bands, are performing on tomorrow’s show.