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'Dancing With the Stars' Season 11, Episode 17 Recap

by Michael Pascua, posted Nov 16th 2010 7:00AM
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer shake everything they have for their samba['Dancing with the Stars' - 'The Semi-Finals']

'Dancing With the Stars' finally reached the semi-finals with four characters that represented four different traits. Brandy had the best musicality, Jennifer the best acting, Kyle was the best entertainer, and Bristol had the best luck. The final two dances for each of the couples were split into two rounds. In the Latin round, the dancers had to incorporate a solo, but there didn't seem to be much emphasis placed on it. Previous seasons stressed a time component, or even the contestants suffering from nerves, but we saw none of that.

In round two, the Ballroom round, we got the stars' really truncated life stories. Brandy had the most celebrity fan-fare, and she even had Monica in the audience cheering her on. The producers avoided another potential booing incident by showing Bristol's mom, Sarah Palin, speaking only in recorded packages and not live, just in case.

Round One - Latin

Brandy & Maks - Paso Doble - The two settled their differences about the Carrie Ann/choreography debacle. Brandy talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the contestants and the editors played up the "Jennifer was Baby" defense. It's odd that Brandy has had two Katy Perry songs for the past two weeks, and I wasn't happy that "Firework" was their song for the Paso Doble. I liked the angle of Brandy's solo section, but it didn't have enough content; she wasted too much time removing her jacket. Maks did his best with the choreography, but since Brandy didn't have a cool flowing skirt, the dance didn't have the same magic as other Paso Dobles in the past.

Len thought that Brandy gave 100 percent. Bruno appreciated the aggression, but there were moments of unsteadiness because of the anger. Carrie Ann thought the dance was passionate and she appreciated the upper-carriage. Score: 27 (9,9,9).

Jennifer & Derek
- Cha-Cha - "Mercy" by Duffy was actually the first song that Jennifer grooved to several weeks ago. Ironically, "Mercy" was also used in a Team Cha-Cha back in Season 7. Jennifer spent time flirting with the judges as part of her solo. The tie section was really interesting especially seeing that Derek didn't choke. Jennifer had a lot of passion and captured the fun nature of a Cha-Cha. The dance looked very high-impact with all the hip motions and dances and Jennifer kept up with the dance and showed no pain.

Bruno loved the Cha-Cha: He thought the moves were flawless. Carrie Ann was not disappointed. Len thought that Jennifer combined entertainment with technique. Score: 30 (10,10,10).

Bristol & Mark
- Paso Doble - Mark tried to spin the Tea Party telephone voters as people who think Bristol is "real." They don't however consider the "Vote for the Worst" mentality, or the fans who are just waiting to see a train wreck. In the dance, Bristol played up the fact that she was wearing a skirt, which added more drama than Brandy's curling hands. The band did a horrible job with the song: The synths didn't match the vocals and it threw off the song connecting to the dance. Bristol's skirt covered up a few flaws and a lack of movement in her legs. She was still too stiff and stood there most of the time with her arm up in the air.

Carrie Ann gave Bristol a big hug and told her that she nailed the dance. Len commended her determination and thought she was all guns blazing. Bruno thought that she was a tigress and appreciated the flamenco Spanish lines. Score: 27 (9,9,9).

Kyle & Lacey - Samba - Kyle wanted to remind America that despite the jokes he's serious about the competition. He started off with a moonwalk and jiggled his whole body. I was interested that their Samba still had a Brazilian nature but was very Kyle. His leg placement was great, though some of his movements focused too much on his upper half than hip motions; there were several instances of him shaking from his shoulders too much.

Len loved that there's no drama in his background and loved the entertainment factor. Bruno called him a bouncing bundle of joy. Carrie Ann loved the pelvic action of the whole dance and appreciated how the whole dance was balanced. Score: 29 (10,9,10).

Round Two - Ballroom

Brandy & Maks - Argentine Tango - Brandy was always a perfectionist, even back at age 15. Whitney Houston, Kelly Rowland and Brandy's brother Ray-J were her celebrity cheer squad. Brandy had musical failures, though she never mentioned the judging stint on 'America's Got Talent,' her VH1 show, or even the fact that she was Moesha. Brandy also discussed her fatal car accident and how she felt the world was against her, but she came back fighting. The dance took the right amount of set-up and I loved how Maks incorporated the staircase into the routine. Brandy's movements were sharp and her kicks were right on. There were occasional moments that Brandy led with her chin, but Maks quickly brought her back into place. As much as I hated the Bristol-on-a-chair a few weeks back, Brandy-on-the-judges-table looked well-executed and fit better.

Len loved how Brandy created atmosphere above all the nice movements. Bruno thought that the dance had emotional depth and liked her extensions. Carrie Ann saw no troubles in the dance. Score: 30 (10,10,10).

Jennifer & Derek - Waltz - Jennifer was drawn to acting because of her father, Joel Grey, and her father paralleled that her acting is her strength in the competition. She was in a fatal car accident and her neck was never the same. For the show they put braces into her neck, but ironically most of the issues we followed in the packages this season were about her knee. Jamie Lee Curtis was the main celebrity rooting for Jennifer. As the couple danced, the first spin won me over and the rest of the routine was smooth and a joy to watch; the fact that they bookended it with a closing spin was wonderful. The stage was a very beautiful sunrise/sunset and you could feel the emotion of the whole dance.

Bruno thought the dance was a gem. Carrie Ann saw the soul of the routine. Len compared the dance to a delicate whisper; it was fabulous. Score: 30 (10,10,10).

Bristol & Mark - Waltz - Bristol was an independent girl that made up her own mind even when it came to dating Levi Johnston, and her world started to turn when she became pregnant. It was obvious that the producers wanted to give Bristol a song that would match Brandy's "Dark Waltz" routine. I loved the drama of the hood in the beginning, but something about the lack of any emotion in her face made it look like Mark was dragging a competent robot around. The choreography was stronger in the second half and Mark made sure that Bristol looked as amazing as he could.

Carrie Ann thought there were moments where she drifted in emotion. Len loved the vulnerability and thought it was beautiful. Bruno loved the approach of the waltz and appreciated the journey of the show. Score: 26 (8,9,9).

Kyle & Lacey
- Argentine Tango - Kyle's history emphasizes his energy. We got a clip of 'Grandpa's Garage,' and found out that Kyle's mother made lots of sacrifices that finally led to him landing a position on 'That's So Raven'. I was taken aback by the choice of the song: Bollywood meets Argentina? Lacey tried her best to keep the spirit of the Argentine Tango with a very up-tempo routine. She also made sure that the lifts that Kyle executed were actually do-able but sexy looking; it led to several steps that I haven't seen in a while. Kyle's flicks were surprisingly sharp and he was on the beat throughout the whole dance.

Len called Kyle a star; he had attack and enthusiasm. Bruno loved the strength and sharpness. Carrie Ann was reminded of Emmitt Smith. Score: 29 (10,9,10).

Final Scores

Jennifer & Derek - 60 (30 + 30) - 26.31%
Kyle & Lacey - 58 (29 + 29) - 25.44%
Brandy & Maks - 57 (27 + 30) - 25%
Bristol & Mark - 53 (27 + 26) - 23.25%

Whoever picked "Fireworks" for Brandy might be nervous now that they may have left a small hole for Bristol & Mark to squeak by. The fact that Bristol has never scored a 10 (Kelly Osbourne managed one 10 during her Team dance) is enough in my book to eliminate her. Also, eliminated contestants Rick, Kurt, and Audrina still have a better average. I hope that Kyle will get enough support from fans at home, because he is a joy to watch.

Who do you think will be eliminated? Leave your comments below.

'Dancing With the Stars' airs Mondays, 8PM ET on ABC. Results show airs Tuesdays, 9PM ET on ABC.

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15 Comments

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C.B.

I do believe that Bristol has greatly improved. She simply gets more votes from the fans. Is she as good a dancer as Jennifer Grey, no, but having no acting or previous dancing exp. has had us cheering for her. I do commend Jennifer for working though her pain, this speaks volumes about her dedication and character. No one has gotten to this place on the show without alot of hard work and at this point the it's anyone's guess.

November 18 2010 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amanda Rae

I seems like our recap author is letting politics sway his writing. Bummer.

November 17 2010 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
June Lietz

Yes, the cameras love Bristol and she has improved tremendously in her dancing, but she was and isn't in the same league as the others. Jennifer or Kyle will win the mirror ball for sure. I am not unhappy to see Brandy go as I have felt a fake emotions attitude from the start and her constant desention towards Maks was constantly on display. He should get a purple heart. This is not to say she didn't perform well but her lack of a fan base strongly indicates that many viewers feel the same.

November 17 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nancy

My advise to Maks and Brandy... Americans believe that SPORTSMANSHIP and GOOD ATTITUDE is just as important as TALENT and SKILL!!! If you're both not too arrogant, you may take something valuable away from this "Dancing with the Stars" season and apply it to your next life experience!!!

November 17 2010 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Betty

Thats it! I've said it before and I'll say it again, from day 1 the show is rigged!!! I will not watch any
more and neither will my friends, they all feel the same way. Bristol can not dance for s!!!,they are
keeping her on to try and get more viewers!!

November 17 2010 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jennifer doyle

I truly think that it could be Brnady and Maks going home tonight. I'd like to think that it would be Bristol, but fearing that there is a large enough fan base out there to keep her in.

November 16 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick cokely

The major problem with Bristol is she just doesn't look like she's having fun. She may be technically dancing correctly (but I find that even debatable) but the issue is she looks like she's forcing it and not flowing. Just watching Kyle, Jennifer, or Brandy and the expressions on their faces, the smiles, and the excitement in their eyes is very telling vs. Bristol's lack of life in her dancing. She isn't "typical Hollywood" and it really does show.

November 16 2010 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rick cokely's comment
Michael Pascua

The sad thought was that Audrina wasn't a typical actor (as a reality star) and she looked very blank as well when she danced. The difference was that she was technically dancing correctly, so Bristol has no excuse of getting improved scores when Mark is giving her basic choreography. Audrina may have also looked like a robot, but she was Windows 7 to Bristol's Windows 95.

November 16 2010 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maverickone23

I dont mean to insult nor offend Bristol Palin, but if she manages to stay on the show, I will be convinced entirely of a conspiracy! She cannot dance, its actually embarassing to watch her dance against the rest of the crew. Im tired of wondering if I am the only one in America who thinks shes shockingly bad.Based on talent people talent!!

November 16 2010 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Xina

I LOVED Jennifer Grey last night, but I have to say Kyle is just as cool in my book. The look on his face after Jennifer finished her Cha Cha shows what a classy kid he is. He looked genuinely happy for her, genuinely excited to see a great dance. I hope it's the two of them in the finals, and then it could go either way for me.

Bristol seems like a sweet girl, but this is a DANCING competition and I am sorry, I do think she has improved but she is out of her league with the other three. Brandy is kind of 'whatever' for me. Not sure why, she is a lovely dancer, but she doesn't do much for me.

November 16 2010 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aurora Kelly

This dancing contest which I love has to go back to having only the judges vote on the dancers!! If Bristle is not voted fairly by all the callers then many people will not be watching Dancing with the Stars and what a shame for some of us who love this dancing contest!!

November 16 2010 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Aurora Kelly's comment
Michael Pascua

Just as a note, America has always voted. This even had controversy when Kelly Monaco won the first season. The judges scores have always been 50%, but in the past few seasons the scoring for the finale have skewed so that the judges score actually makes a difference (using rankings versus individual scoring).

November 16 2010 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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