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Dancing with the Stars – Season 8 Quarter Finals

Five stars. Two dances. A solo in the Latin round. And one star looking to prove she deserved to stay last week. Let’s see what happens tonight.

Suddenly, I’m wondering how well Surviving Suburbia is doing. Why? Because it has been bumped. We start with a filler dance because tonight is going to be two hours instead of the hour and a half we’ve had for the last few weeks. The pros are fun to watch, but I was a bit put off by the fact that it started without any explanation. Really through me for a loop. No, I’m not good with change, why do you ask?

And then we started a segment of the judges talking about what they will be looking for from each of the stars in the Ballroom round. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them take this long to get going with the dancing on Monday. Tuesday is nothing but filler, but I don’t expect that on Mondays.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas – Quickstep – The pressure of learning two dances really got to Shawn this week. But I smiled the instant they started dancing. Yes, I love this dance. But they were dancing to “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. Now we’ll see if I can watch the dance without singing along. Mark may have had more personality in the dance, but Shawn sure showed plenty as well. The steps looked good. And the fact that they were singing parts of the dance made it even more fun. Len said it was fun and carefree showing us Shawn’s personality. But he did pick on them for breaking the hold in the middle of the dance, thereby breaking the rules. Bruno praised the precise footwork and said it was great fun. Carrie Ann called it her best dance ever, but did say she would take a point off for breaking the rules. (And Mark did take the blame for them breaking hold in the middle of the routine.)
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower – Argentine Tango – Ty is putting in the hard work to win this thing. (And the picture of him watching a video of their rehearsal in that leopard print robe was too painful for words.) Considering the regular Tango wow’d Len so much last week, that bodes well for him. And this is another good dance. We’ve got sharp movements and fun dramatics. Impressive lifts, too. Unfortunately, it looks like the synchronization got off in the middle for some of their flicks, so that is going to hurt them. Bruno praised his tenacity but said he was too heavy on his feet, so it wasn’t as smooth as it should have been. Carrie Ann pretty much agreed. Len, however, said he captured the flavor of the dance, calling it his best dance.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 9 Bruno – 8 Total – 25

Lil’ Kim & Derek Hough – Waltz – Kim is really struggling with this dance since she is better at the Latin dances. Considering their rehearsal chatter, I’m a little surprised at how well this looks. It is smooth and elegant. I’ve noticed a few parts that are a tad rough, but it was a good dance overall. Carrie Ann saw several stumbles and said she needs to extend her hands completely. Len agreed with Carrie Ann’s nit picks, but said that overall he was impressed by the dance. Bruno said she tried to be a lady but she is more comfortable being a tramp.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 9 Bruno – 8 Total – 25

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke – Foxtrot – To attempt to get Gilles to get the details of this dance down, Cheryl took him to a Fox Trot competition so he could see how it is done. Another favorite song comes on. Of course, I used to swing to “Fever,” but I’m not going to argue with them because this is a good dance. The head posture could be slightly off, but I think I’m attempting to nitpick. It was smooth and fun. Did I mention hot? That’s definitely the hottest Fox Trot I’ve ever seen. The song certainly fit. Len said he loved the feeling and musicality of the dance, but he picked on the fact that he never straightened his legs all the way. Bruno had nothing but praise for the performance. Carrie Ann said that Len was crazy, a performance like that will put Gilles in the semi’s.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 9 Bruno – 10 Total – 29

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – Viennese Waltz – Her new therapy is working. She’s still in pain, but it is manageable. You’d never know she was injured by watching this. It’s smooth and elegant. In fact, I think her lines are looking better than Tony’s. He just looks awkward tonight. Bruno praised her fluid arms, said it was balletic but it worked for Viennese Waltz, but did think the turns were a little rough. Carrie Ann agreed, saying she has grace but it was just missing details. Len said her only problem is her feet.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27

Half way through the night, and we pause for a pro competition update. We found out the final three pros are paired with favorite stars from previous seasons to compete tomorrow night. And the couples are Afton DelGrosso & Cody Linley, Anna Demidova & Maurice Greene, and Mayo Alanen & Lisa Rinna.

Now we are back for the Latin round. Once again, we get the pros demonstrating how the dances should be done followed by preliminary critiques from the judges. Just a reminder that the stars also have to do a solo during this round that lasts at least 15 seconds.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas – Paso Doble – Once again, Shawn’s natural personality is causing them some problems. She’s just smiling too much during rehearsals. But that’s not the case on the dance floor. That’s a serious expression. I do find it ironic that they had one of my favorite dances and one of my least favorite dances in the same night. It took me a little while to get into this, but I did enjoy it. I will admit, I had to go back and watch again to realize the solo was in the beginning of the routine. (How slow was I?) When I went back and watched again, I liked it, however. Carrie Ann thought it was absolutely wonderful, especially since the song is hard to dance to. Len said it was clean, the solo was great, and twist turns were great, but it wasn’t over exciting. Bruno said Shawn showed she has the killer instinct.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 9 Bruno – 10 Total – 29

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower – Rumba – This is potentially the most cringe worthy dance of the night. I’m curious to see how it will work. Okay, I’m not seeing the Rumba in this song. Just doesn’t scream it to me. At the points where Ty is supposed to be moving his hips, it is working, but it’s only okay. I caught at least one stumble and two lifts. His solo at the end, dancing in front of Jewel and pulling her onto the stage for a kiss was fun. Yes, it was pretty much what I thought it would be. Len thought it was sweet with some good hip actions at time. However, he compared the first dance to peacock and this one to a feather duster. Bruno calls Ty likable but not a good dancer for this point in the competition. Carrie Ann agrees, saying he is most improved but that isn’t good enough now. Plus she picks up on at least one lift. Now I know people will get on the judges for being harsh, but they are being honest. And Ty has nothing to be ashamed of for getting this far.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 7 Total – 21

Lil’ Kim & Derek Hough – Salsa – Kim and Derek looked like they had fun attempting to get some tricks into this one. Unfortunately, they are looking out of sync at one point. Then there was the point where they were standing side by side gyrating. The solo on the other hand? So much fun. That was worth the dance alone. Well, that and the tricks, all of which worked. Bruno liked it, but did say she got off on the wrong foot, which threw her off in the beginning (to which Tom replies that the solo is already being downloaded on the internet.) Carrie Ann said her booty shaking was ridiculous (in a good way), but she thought it got out of control at times. Len said it was so good that Derek wasn’t needed, although he agreed that Kim was out of control a couple of times. (We also learned that Spotted Dick is an English dessert with Len seems to like but Bruno doesn’t. And they say this show isn’t cultural.)
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke – Rumba – This is the dance Gilles has been wanting to dance since he got on the show. They start the dance with the solo, which was okay. Of course, coming after Kim, he had a hard act to follow. But the rest of the dance heated things up. The chemistry between them is on tonight as once again, they heated up the dance floor. The hip action was incredible. The ending with them rolling around on the ground was a bit much, but this was great. Carrie Ann said it was the most anticipated Rumba they’ve ever had, but she found the solo odd because Gilles was trying too hard to be sexy. Len said it looked fantastic except for the beginning and ending. Bruno thought it was uneven by his usual standards, but it was still great.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – Samba – The big difference between their two dances really made this week hard on Melissa. Well, that and the fact that she didn’t want to do the solo. Speaking of which, she started with it, and it was great. She’s got such a fun personality, and this is coming out in this dance. Yes, it’s got the shaking hips and the steps that look good, too. But the fun that is coming through made me smile the whole time. Len says tonight is about who deserves to be in the semi’s, and Melissa has proved she deserves it. Bruno said it had everything anyone could ask for. Carrie Ann says she feels the need to point out the flaws so they can be worked on during the week. Melissa, in Carrie Ann’s opinion, can take the week off.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 10 Bruno – 10 Total – 30 (Yes, Melissa proved she should have been saved last week.)

So, with two dances, we have a leader board that looks like this:
1. Melissa – 57
2. Shawn – 56
2. Gilles – 56
4. Lil’ Kim – 52
5. Ty – 46

Encore: I think the easy pick is Melissa’s Samba since it was the only perfect score of the night. The only competition I can see is Shawn’s Quickstep, which was also quite fun.

Eliminated: I really do think that Ty is the one who will go this week. Possibly Lil’ Kim, but I really don’t think Ty has enough fans to save him at this point.