‘Dancing with the Stars’ Review: Semifinal Night
Last week saw two couples eliminated from the ‘Dancing with the Stars‘ competition, leaving us with what may be the best semifinal group yet. And on Monday night, they all danced their perfectly-toned backsides off — so who’s got the best shot at moving on to next week’s finale extravaganza?
Let’s find out … LIIIIIIIVE!
Hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet, who was clad in a life-sized Slinky, said everyone would be doing two dances for our entertainment. Oh, and it was also Sob Story Night, so we all learned a little more about the contestants’ hardships early in life. Good times.
And away we go.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke
First dance score: 28 out of 30 (9/9/10)
Second dance score: 30 out of 30 (10/10/10)
William also told us about his impoverished Cuban upbringing, saying when he was a kid, his dream was just to have a fridge with food in it. As he mentioned earlier in the season, his father was a political prisoner who brought the family to the US for asylum when William was 14. His modeling agents recalled seeing him for the first time and how he was gorgeous but had so few clothes that they actually had to go shopping for him. His modeling gigs led to acting gigs, and now he’s one of the biggest stars in Latin America.
On to the dancing … there’s a reason Cheryl’s won this thing twice, and getting fantastic partners is only part of it. She’s a terrific choreographer, and her first dance with William, a tango set to the Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),’ was sexy and sharp and fit the music perfectly. Len said he hadn’t “been this excited since my mother put me in long trousers,” which we’re guessing is Brit-speak for “dude, awesome,” Bruno said it was “full of animal magnetism,” and Carrie Ann had only the tiniest of constructive criticisms.
His second dance, a samba, featured him in tight white pants shaking his ass a lot (see, we told you Cheryl knows what she’s doing). Bruno called the dance “the pleasure zone” and said he had “bum envy,” Carrie Ann called it “freaking amazing,” and Len dubbed William “the hunk with the junk in his trunk.”
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
First dance score: 29 out of 30 (10/9/10)
Second dance score: 27 out of 30 (9/9/9)
Katherine was accepted to the Royal Academy of Music at 17, and rocketed to fame after being signed to a recording deal shortly thereafter. (It’s still so weird to see that booming operatic voice coming out of such a tiny chick.) Last December she apparently suffered an Adele-style breakup with her fiance and it left her in shreds. She credits ‘DWTS’ for helping to put a smile back on her face and for giving her something else to focus on.
Kind of surprised she didn’t mention her father’s death as she did earlier in the season when we got some contestant backstory, but maybe she felt it would’ve been exploitative. So props to her for that.
On to the dancing … Katherine said she’s come a long way in the competition — from demurely asking the costume designers to add more fabric to her dresses all the way to her currently provocative dance moves. Her quick-step looked like it had a few small errors to us, but if it did, most of the judges didn’t notice. Bruno called it “outstanding” with “amazing technique,” Carrie Ann said it may have been the best dance ever on ‘DWTS,’ and although Len did catch the mistakes, he deemed the performance “fabulous.”
Kat’s second dance, a salsa, was hawt and showed she’s clearly gotten more comfortable showing some skin. All was going swimmingly until the very last couple beats of the song when her back suddenly went out — she was horrified and in pain all at the same time, and she couldn’t stop apologizing to Mark. So awful. Regardless, Carrie Ann called the rest of the dance “fabulous,” Len called her “Katherine the Great,” and Bruno said she “unleashed the harlot” within.
At the end of the show, she was stoic but looked like she was in agonizing pain, and Tom said doctors were en route. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and she picks up some audience votes, because it would be an absolute shame for her to go out like that.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatoyd
First dance score: 28 out of 30 (9/9/10)
Second dance score: 29 out of 30 (10/9/10)
Donald grew up in rough ‘hood in Houston, with a father in prison and a single mother raising five kids. The family wound up living under a bridge, and Donald’s mom eventually sent him and his brother to stay with their grandparents. Trouble — drugs, car thefts, etc — followed, even during his early athletic years. Meeting his wife in college was the turning point because she gave him an ultimatum: he could have her or the bad-boy lifestyle, but not both. He kept her and focused on football instead, eventually being drafted by the Green Bay Packers and going on to become a star wide-receiver with a Super Bowl championship under his belt.
On to the dancing … his first dance, a waltz, was simply gorgeous — fluid and lyrical and lovely. Carrie Ann complimented the emotion he displayed and called the performance “mesmerizing,” Len said Donald is a “big tough cream puff,” and Bruno loved his lines and arm extensions.
The samba he did next was sassy and fun (prediction: Peta has quite a future on this show). Len said it was “a bit careful” but he liked it, Bruno said it “worked beautifully,” and Carrie Ann said it was Donald’s “A+ game.”
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
First dance score: 30 out of 30 (10/10/10)
Second dance score: out of 30 (10/9/10)
Maria’s parents were Greek immigrants (as she’s often reminded us) who worked as janitors, and she was moved by how much they wanted to give her family a better life. She put herself through college, got a journalism degree, and covered earthquakes and wars for Channel One news — she even interviewed President Bush when she was all of 20. Damned impressive. She credits her parents for her work ethic, and wants to succeed to make them proud.
On to the dancing … while it’s usually the celebs who buckle under the pressure, Derek’s rehearsal footage seemed to show him in the midst of a panic-attack — something that’s especially odd for the show’s only three-time champ. Regardless, he soldiered on, and Maria’s Argentine tango had some amazing moves, ending with a pretty emotional moment between her and Derek. Len said he was “completely caught up in it,” Bruno gave it his usual bombastic praise, and Carrie Ann was in the throes of complimental (it’s a word because I say it is) ecstasy.
Her second dance seemed a bit muted for a jive, and Derek looked like he was doing most of the tricks, but overall it was a fresh interpretation. Bruno liked its “quirkiness,” Carrie Ann said it was a “stunner,” and Len called out a tiny stumble but enjoyed the “rhythm” of the performance.
There you have it. Tuesday night’s elimination will reveal who’s in the finale — see you then.