DWTS All-stars Get Serious in the Semi-finals

The all-stars pulled out all the stops for the semi-finals, getting creative with their “offbeat challenge” dances, and putting a personal spin on some of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits.

I have to wonder if the DWTS producers were doing nitrous hits when they came up with this week’s dance challenge, which included such unlikely themes as the “Espionage Lindy Hop” and the “Surfer Flamenco.” Nevertheless, the couples tackled their routines with determination, but varying degrees of success. Apolo and Karina’s “Big Top Jazz” number was more of a big flop, with an early slip from the normally sure-footed former Olympian. Carrie Ann gave them one of the lower scores of the evening (8.5), noting that their dismounts were sloppy, and the whole thing seemed “disjointed.”

The second half of the show was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the release of Michael Jackson’s iconic “Bad” album. Here, Apolo and Karina were able to redeem themselves. Their elegant and romantic Rumba (to “Man in the Mirror”) was one of their best dances of the season, garnering a perfect 30. Melissa and Tony kept their incredible momentum going with what Carrie Ann called a “sinewy and sensuous” Argentine Tango, danced to “Dirty Diana.” Despite sustaining a back injury during dress rehearsal, Tony was solid as a rock in the couple’s ambitious lift sequences. That perseverance paid off, and the judges awarded them with another perfect 30.

Dance of the Night:  Shawn and Derek’s “Knight Rider Bhangra.” This dynamic duo had one of most challenging assignments of the week, but delivered a fun, high-energy routine that wowed the audience and the judges alike. This modern take on an Indian folk dance earned them the last perfect score of the night. Somewhere, David Hasselhoff just ordered a tandoori chicken to go.

Bruno’s Obscure Movie Reference Corner:  After Melissa and Tony’s “Caveman Hustle,” Bruno declared, “That has to be the most effective use of animal skins since Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.” Now, Melissa was born in 1983, so odds are pretty good that she’s never seen this movie. Heck, I only get this because I’ve seen “The Shawshank Redemption” about 100 times. (Raquel was Andy’s final poster.)

Quotable quote:  “Shut up, close the door, call me Mary… this was brilliant.” -Len Goodman, on the Knight Rider Bhangra.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas:  Yes, Virginia, Val brought his package to the dance floor last night. As the finale to their “Surfer Flamenco,” he and Kelly stripped down to their bathing suits and splashed through their last steps in a shallow basin of water. A fine bit of stagecraft, but wow… somebody hung his stocking with care. As Val explained to the viewers, “It’s very cold in here.”

And to all,  a good night.

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