It’s the week before the semifinals, and the pressure is officially on. Everyone who is left can likely taste the finals, and we’re at that point in the competition where one wrong move will send you home.
Tonight, each couple must perform their usual dance, but the Insta-dance is back, in which our stars find out what music they must perform to within the same episode. Basically, everyone goes backstage and freaks out before “making it work,” as they say.
How did our stars handle the pressure?
Chelsea and Mark
Verdict: This dance appeared to be loosely based on The Little Mermaid, as it began with Chelsea being washed ashore and being awakened by Mark. These guys get knocked down a lot for being too creative with the choreography (which I think is lame), and tonight’s routine combined a lot of contemporary dance with the classic waltz steps. However, it was a beautiful, beautiful performance.
Carrie Ann: “You earned perfection.” – 10
Len: “I think occasionally you put too much emphasis on the story, and not enough on the dance.” – 9
Bruno: “Mark, finally you found the perfect setting for Chelsea to soar.” – 10
Instant Dance: Salsa
Verdict: I agree with rehearsal coach Kyle Massey – the key to a good instant dance is confidence. And Chelsea really delivered here. This wasn’t a difficult dance – it was mostly a repetition of basic combinations – but the music was super fast, and she didn’t back down from the challenge.
Carrie Ann: “I did not feel a connection to the music.” – 8
Len: “The waltz was cool, the salsa was hot.” – 9
Bruno: “What are you going to do next week? You’re setting the bar so high!” – 9
Hines and Kym
Verdict: Hmm. This was a rare misstep for Hines – this dance was meant to be cheesy, and it turns out Hines can’t do cheesy. And when he did try to get into the character, he seemed to lose his place in the dance. I don’t think he’s in danger of going home, but this definitely wasn’t his finest moment.
Carrie Ann: “I loved it – great job.” – 9
Len: “Your personality just radiates – it’s just a joyful experience to watch you.” – 9
Bruno: “It was beaming with a blissful sense of happiness.” – 10
Instant Dance: Jive
Verdict: Talk about difficulty! Hines did a good job of keeping his act together, but he made the biggest mistake you can make in a jive – he never pointed his feet! But still, it was entertaining.
Carrie Ann: “It was really fantastic.” – 9
Len: “You’ve worked hard this week. This was a real tough dance.” – 9
Bruno: “It was like watching Mr. Happy Feet.” – 8
Romeo and Chelsie
Verdict: Romeo had a lot to atone for after last week, and this dance was … okay. It felt a little elementary for this point in the competition. Chelsie was doing her best Cheryl Burke hair-flipping to put some passion into the thing, but I think they’re going to be in trouble tomorrow.
Carrie Ann: “You’re dancing like you really meant it.” – 9
Len: “Last week I said you needed to up your game, and you did.” – 9
Bruno: “You dance like a real man out there.” – 9
Instant Dance: Salsa
Verdict: There were some seriously difficult moves in this routine, so I give Romeo a lot of credit for surviving. He looked a little nervous at the beginning and lost steam in the end, but there were some magical moments to be had.
Carrie Ann: “There was something a little off. I think you guys got a little out of sync.” – 8
Len: “It’s a club dance, and you came out and you danced.” – 9
Bruno: “The salsa is all about fluidity of movement [argues incoherently].” – 8
Ralph and Karina
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Verdict: These guys were at a huge disadvantage this week, having missed almost all of their rehearsal time because Ralph is suffering from a leg injury. Karina wanted to put a dark and dramatic spin on a classic Viennese Waltz, which meant Ralph needed to wear a mesh turtleneck. Ahem. But guess what? Even without their usual practice time, they turned in a solid, smooth routine.
Carrie Ann: “It’s the hardest thing to dance when you’re in pain, and you did it with great elegance.” – 8
Len: “For someone who has had limited time to practice, you did a good job.” – 8
Bruno: “Fascinating, dangerous, mesmerizing creatures of the night!” – 9
Instant Dance: Cha Cha
Verdict: Once again, Ralph hadn’t had any time to prepare for this dance because of his injury. And yeah, he’s hurt, but this was a mess. I think they did the best they could under the circumstances, and I’m glad he made it through without collapsing.
Carrie Ann: “It’s amazing you were able to pull that off without any rehearsal.” – 7
Len: “I admire your perseverance and dedication, and when you’re not 100% something has to give. Unfortunately, it was this cha cha cha.” – 7
Bruno: “The cha cha is all about hip action and because of the situation, you couldn’t do any.” – 7
Kirstie and Maks
Dance: Argentine Tango
Verdict: There have been some truly spectacular Argentine Tangos on this show before, and this one didn’t quite measure up to the dances of seasons past. But I think Kirstie and Maks were helped by the music, the lighting, and the ambience. And she had the character down, she was just lacking in a lot of the finesse required to really pull of a routine like this.
Carrie Ann: “I felt like I was watching real life acted out in front of me.” – 9
Len: “It was hot – I’m surprised Maks only took his hat off.” – 9
Bruno: “Your body is shrinking. Your talent is huge!” – 10
Instant Dance: Salsa
Verdict: Kirstie looked a little frantic and lost in places, but they were able to pull off a competent salsa without any major mistakes. I half-expected Kirstie to be an instant disaster, but I was happy to see her succeed. Also, Kirstie put the five-second-delay to good use, letting a profanity fly during her critique.
Carrie Ann: “I thought you were totally in sync.” – 8
Len: “You showed good rhythm. I thought it was fabulous.” – 9
Bruno: “You smooth, flirtatious vixen.” – 8
Who do you think will go home tomorrow? Will Ralph get the karate chop or will America pity-vote him into the semifinals?