Dancing with the Stars: Season 8 Semi-Finals

It’s time for the semi-finals of season 8. Can you believe we’re here already? The pressure is really going to be on Ty to prove he should be here this week. And all four of the remaining stars complete their dance card by doing the two dances they haven’t done yet. The pros start out by doing some dancing to show us how it should be done. It looked good, but I’m ready to move on to the main event, the stars in the first round – Ballroom.

But first, the stars reflect on their breakthrough dances as we watch them again. Think of it was the audio commentary. (I’m telling you, Surviving Suburbia is doomed is they are vamping this show instead of airing the other.)

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – They considered their Foxtrot and Samba their break through dances.

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke – They chose their Foxtrot from last week and week five’s Paso Doble to review.

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas – They chose their fun Quickstep (Shawn got to show her personality) and Paso Doble. Interesting, because both of those dances were from last week. I thought she was doing better than that earlier.

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower – They went all the way back to week two for the Quickstep and the Lindy Hop from week four.

So we were almost 30 minutes into the show before the new dances started. (Man, I can remember when the results show was the only one that time they wasted time.)

So, finally to the Ballroom round.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – Quickstep – This dance has a little bit of everything in it, even some changes of tempo. I’m trying to watch her feet some, but I’m not seeing much of the heel leads they worked so hard on during the week. Of course, I’ve got to admit that heels leads are so counter intuitive it’s almost impossible to get them quickly. Len liked the musicality and said her feet were much improved. Shows all I know. Bruno said it was good but not as exhilarating as it could have been. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno, saying it was nice but didn’t connect to her soul.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 10 Bruno – 9 Total – 28

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke – Waltz – Jonathan Roberts came in to show him how his frame should be for this dance. But he starts it sitting in the audience with Cheryl on the floor calling him out to dance. Gilles’ stoney face isn’t doing much for this dance. Cheryl is doing all the acting. But it does look elegant from a technical stand point. Bruno couldn’t wait to start praising it. Carrie Ann said it took us to a place of fantasy. Len gave them a sitting down standing ovation. So obviously, I was the only one who thought his acting should have been better.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 10 Bruno – 10 Total – 30

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas – Argentine Tango – This is one of the dances where they can do lifts. They are trying to put them in, but they are really struggling to get them. I’m distracted trying to decide if Mark broke something when he shoved the chair off to the side at the beginning or if the sound I heard was an effect. Once I got beyond that, the dance was great. Once again, Shawn is showing her serious side. And the lifts worked perfectly. The judges should love it. Now, if they’d just tell us about the chair. Carrie Ann said she delivered the emotional content and said precision is her middle name. Len called it her best dance. Bruno praised it also.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 10 Bruno – 10 Total – 30

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower – Viennese Waltz – In the spirit of payback, Ty made Chelsie ride a mechanical bull before they got started rehearsing. And at least Ty knows the truth. He just said his fans kept him over a better dancer. If it weren’t for the sea sick look on his face, I’d say this looked pretty good. It has some class and elegance to it. Granted, it isn’t the best dance of the night, but it is very good for Ty. Len says that no one has worked or tried harder than Ty. He acknowledged a few issues, but over all said it was very well done. Bruno said it wasn’t smooth enough for the semi-finals, leading to a shouting match between he and Len. Carrie Ann said he struggled, but he can get the support of the whole room. And at that point, Tom shuttled them back stage while all three judges started arguing. (Tom’s lines are great. We went from Len and Bruno in The Odd Couple to the judges appearing in The Odd Trio next week.)
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 9 Bruno – 8 Total – 25

(Tom: The post show judge dinner reservations are three tables of one.)

And now it’s time for the Latin round.

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani – Cha Cha – This seemed like a fun dance, but it wasn’t one of her best. It just seemed to lack the passion she shows in previous weeks. Technically, however, it looked quite good. Bruno said at times she was sensational, but she didn’t sustain it all the way through. Carrie Ann said it was much more emotional, however, she said the size of the steps varied quite a bit. Len said he liked it, but not as much as he had hoped to. I can agree with that.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27

Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke – Salsa – I started smiling from the first note. Gilles is just so much fun to watch. And he’s got some nice hip action in there as well as the shimmies. To my eye, this is another excellent dance. Carrie Ann got up and cheered, saying she wants to see him there next week. Len says he wishes he had an 11 paddle. Bruno says that Lil’ Kim is alive and well and living in Gilles’ pants. (You can always count on Bruno for an awkward moment.)
Scores: Carrie Ann – 10 Len – 10 Bruno – 10 Total – 30

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas – Jive – I’ve said it before, but I still don’t see this as a Latin dance considering its Swing roots. But I make that complaint at least once a season. Anyway, it’s rare I see a Jive I don’t love, and this one was no exception. It could have been a little more high energy, but that’s the only complaint I have. The leap frogs in the middle were fun. And I loved the ending with them grabbing fake paddles saying “10.” Len praised the band before getting to Shawn. Then he said it had too much messing about and not enough traditional Jive. Bruno said it looked a little more like the Lindy Hop in spots, but it was still good. Carrie Ann says she lost a little steam toward the end.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 8 Bruno – 9 Total – 26

Ty Murray & Chelsie Hightower – Samba – Wow, were those hips I saw out there? Okay, so I am still seeing stiff Ty at times. But I think I actually saw him shaking his hips the entire time. And yes, there was one part where he really shook them. I always cringe when it comes time for Ty to do a Latin dance, but I have to give him credit. That was a much better dance than I expected. Bruno said he threw everything but the kitchen sink in it. He did also say he lost his footing and looked scared stiff at times. Carrie Ann votes him MVP of season 8. Len says he is too quick and hectic in the Latin dances (while being strong in the Ballroom dances) and praises the work that Chelsie has done this season.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 7 Bruno – 8 Total – 23

So this gives us a leader board that looks like this:
1. Gilles – 60
2. Shawn – 56
3. Melissa – 55
4. Ty – 48

I’m almost afraid to predict at this point. Will this be the week that Ty actually goes home? Or will Melissa or Shawn fall victim to Ty’s fans? We’ll find out tomorrow, but I am interested in hearing your theories until them.