Dancing With The Stars: Week 9
(S07E18) And then, there were four. If you wanted, you could make an argument for Maurice Greene, but I think the viewers did a solid job narrowing the field down to these four teams. Coming into the semi-finals, all of them had a legitimate shot at making it to the big show next week. It would all come down to their two week 9 performances. Along the way, we had a little bit of something old, and something new. As in years past, the stuffiest of the judges made his rounds to all of the final four teams for Len Goodman's Master Class. New to this season, they also managed to work in two pro numbers as examples of what to look for in the salsa and the jitterbug. It all added up to a pretty entertaining night. There were 10s, and there were 7s. Who came out on top? The scores, and a rundown of all the performances, after the jump.
Brooke Burke & Derek Hough (Jive) This week Derek was getting frustrated with the choreography, while Brooke was worried about the wow factor. After the performance that Derek & Julianne delivered on the results show last week, the jive sounded like a great draw for Brooke's first semi-final number. It might have been a little too ambitious because of that. There was certainly a lot to like, but those parts were separated by some rather obvious mistakes. It looked like Brooke was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of steps on a few occasions. She was found turning the wrong way, or just completely missing steps. And the choice to add a lift, as well as it was executed, was very curious considering this was the no lift round.
Len said just when you want to come out and dance a fantastic performance in the semi-finals, you dance that. It was a disaster. Bruno thought they went for the wow, but the technique went down the toilet. He was totally shocked. Carrie Ann said what bothers her is that they went for a blatant illegal lift in the semi-finals, which she found offensive. Score: 21 (7,7,7)
Cody Linley & Julianne Hough (Paso Doble) Cody had some good news, and some bad news entering into week 9. On the plus side, Julianne was back, which should have helped with his confidence. He headed off to the CMAs to support her. Not so reassuring, they drew the paso doble. He was already a little worried about being at the bottom of the judges scores last week. Adding the pressure of getting the manliness of the paso didn't do him any favors. Really, it was just a bad luck draw. Their military themed performance got off to a good start. The costumes were great, and it looked like they had a solid theme to go with, but it just didn't work for Cody. It wasn't that he was missing steps, or making technical mistakes, the performance just felt off.
Bruno referred to the number as, different, calling Cody and Julianne the AWOL android and the queen of mean. He's all for innovation, but there has to be some sense of style. He went on, noting that the Spanish lines were non existent, and he can't let that go in the semis. Carrie Ann said it was a 10 for determination, but the problem is she sees that tension in Cody. Len agreed, adding that he's afraid Cody is going to get his marching orders because it was just not good. It was stiff, wooden, and lacked dance quality. Score: 22 (8,7,7)
Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson (Mambo) Warren managed his first 10 of the season last week, and was pretty pleased with himself. It was cute that he referred to it as "Kym taught him how to get a 10." I started to lose a little confidence in Warren's chances when they played the 'busy' card. That usually signals an unprepared performance. Fortunately, that wasn't the case here. It had its issues, but I don't think it came from a lack of effort. They started in the crowd and made their way down to the stage. It was a fun performance, but it really didn't measure up to the semi-finals of the past. Given what we had heard from the judges earlier in the night, I was a little worried about what comments were to come. This is Warren having fun, and entertaining, but its really feeling like he's peaked where the technique is concerned.
Carrie Ann acknowledged that the crowd loves Warren, but said he needs to up the game and add more content to the dance. Len said Warren is going with what he knows. He entertains, but he doesn't mess about with technique. Bruno said Warren has such a super-size sense of fun that he gets away with murder. He went on, calling it flat footed. Score: 24 (8,8,8)
Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer (Mambo) Lance said that the jitterbug reminds him of World War II, U.S.O. shows, and his grandfather. So, he invited his grandfather out to watch the show. It was a nice moment as he joined them in the studio. Before they could get to that jitterbug, there was a mambo to perform. After a rather slow start, this was where the show took off. Lance really looked the part, and he is dancing better than anyone else at the moment. Where some of the stars seem to have leveled off, Lance just keeps getting better. There was so much to the dance, and every move seemed to be accented or highlighted in some fashion. This was a performance that will go down as one of the big semi-final numbers from the show.
Len said he's been tough on Lance, but it's not where you start, it's where you finish, and this was the best dance so far. Bruno called it semi-final material. It was full of content, but kept Lance's quirky personality. Carrie Ann called it a show stopper, going on to add best dance of the season. Score: 28(10,9,9)
It was time for a little intermission, and Len's Master Class. He danced with Kym and Cheryl in the opening of the segment, and actually looked pretty smooth. Lance was up first, and his problem is that he's pigeon toed. To make them feel comfortable, Len came in bare footed. With Cody, Len wanted to work on his hip action. For Brooke, they needed to work on her legs. She's not straightening them like she should. Finally, Warren got some tips on his footwork. Len also asked Warren for a tip on how he did his move in his solo.
That was followed by the professional demonstration of the salsa. I was a little torn on this one. As you would expect, the pro number was outstanding, and I'm always a big fan of those on the results show. Here though, it seems a little out of place right before the celebrities have to go out and perform. It was couched as a demonstration of what the judges will be looking for, but came across more like holding up a sign and saying, "This is what you won't be seeing."
Brooke Burke & Derek Hough (Salsa) This was the number that Brooke was waiting for. Coming on the heels of the pro number, it did feel a little slow, but it was also a good exhibition of just how far she has come over the course of the season. The performance was also helped by some great lifts as Derek took advantage of Brooke being the only girl left in the competition. The big finish, in particular, was amazing. I'm still not quite sure how her wrists didn't just come right off.
Bruno said Brooke is back. He knows she can work it and shake it to a fever pitch. Spectacular lifts. Carrie Ann thought that all the lifts were very difficult, and very appropriate to the number. Len's advice was that if they are in the final, work to Brooke's strengths, and don't worry about what anyone else is doing. Score: 28 (9,10,9) Total: 49
Cody Linley & Julianne Hough (Salsa) Much like Brooke, the salsa worked much better for Cody. The style of the dance works so much better with his personality. They were a little shaky getting in and out of their big lift, but it was a very difficult one, and Cody is just a little guy. Other than that, it was a well performed piece that did a good job showing off his personality. It wasn't the home run they needed to solidify their spot in the finals, but it kept them close enough that the Cody fans have a shot at putting him through.
Carrie Ann said it was a lot of fun, but just a hair lacking in musicality. Len disagreed, calling the musicality quite good. He added that Cody's hips were working nicely, and complimented him on being able to perform the big lift, saying he didn't realize Cody was such a strong lad. Bruno called Cody a cheeky little devil, but added he was a little loose technically. Score: 24 (8,8,8) Total: 46
Another quick break brought us the jitterbug demonstration. Like the salsa performance, I thought this one was out of place as well. Both of these would have been more at home on the week 8 results show. That being said, this was a crazy performance. It was so fast and so intricate.
Warren Sapp & Kym Johnson (Jitterbug) This was a performance very much in the same vein as their mambo. This far into the competition, we can probably just accept that this is what we are going to get from Warren. It was very fun, and rather clever with the opening that found Warren dealing cards to the judges. But it lacked the technique and polish that you would usually expect from a finalist. That may not matter though, because Warren really sold it. Kym took advantage of Warren's strength, employing some lifts that would have broke Cody or Lance.
Len again pointed out that the audience loves to watch Warren perform. He sold it, well done. Bruno said Warren always makes an impact, but added, the Master Class clearly didn't work, referring to Warren's footwork. Carrie Ann loved it, although, she was a little afraid watching the lifts. Score: 25 Total: 49
Lance Bass & Lacey Schwimmer (Jitterbug) Lance is peaking at the right moment. They came out so full of energy that he danced right out of his shoe. Not missing a beat, he just kicked it to the side and kept going. They also had a couple very inventive lifts where Lacey was picking Lance up. Those lifts did go both ways though, as Lance finished by tossing Lacey up over his head. After the performance, Lance joked that at least he was kicking hard. Tom compared it to season one when Kelly Monaco's straps broke and she kept dancing.
Bruno said shoes off or shoes on, that was brilliant. He compared it to Gene Kelly. A real joy. Carrie Ann agreed. They pitched it perfectly, and she went so far as to call it magical. Len saluted Lance, saying he came out tonight and danced two fabulous dances. Score: 29 (10,9,10) Total: 57
And there we have it. As I see it, Lance & Lacey and Brooke & Derek did enough tonight to earn their spots in the finals. Lance, in fact, may just be going in as the favorite after putting up two outstanding numbers. The third spot comes down to Warren & Kym or Cody & Julianne. You could make a case for either of them, and whichever way it goes, the couple moving on will be deserving. If I have to make a guess, I'll take Warren & Kym. I think the drop off we have seen with Cody over the last couple weeks is catching up to him, and the return of Julianne didn't offer the rebound many thought it would.
We'll find out Tuesday night. Along the way we can look forward to the return of the dancing kids, John Legend, and Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas dancing to Aretha Franklin singing. Really, Aretha Franklin! If that's not enough, Julianne will take the stage for a singing performance as well. It should be fun.