On the 'DWTS' Scene: What (and Why) Kyle Massey Held Back in the Semifinals
Top-notch routines and high scores dominated the season 11 semifinals of 'Dancing With the Stars.'
It was also "cut open a vein night" with video packages that profiled difficult times in the lives of the remaining four celebrity contestants: Bristol Palin re-lived how her unplanned teen pregnancy thrust her into the spotlight after her mother, Sarah Palin, became John McCain's running mate in the last presidential election; Jennifer Grey re-visited the deadly car accident that she was in with then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick in 1987; Brandy Norwood also reflected on a fatal automobile accident in which she was involved in 2006; and Kyle Massey looked back at his difficult road to Hollywood.
The segments aired shortly before each couple did their second dance.
Three of the four remaining couples spoke to TV Squad on the post-show press line and shared their thoughts and feelings about the semifinal episode, including the emotional video packages.
"Watching mine made me tear up," Palin admitted.
"I told her to watch it later," said her partner Mark Ballas. "I said, 'TiVo! TiVo!'"
"I was trying to hold back tears," Norwood revealed. "But I thought it was put together well. I got my story across. It's just so sad every time I think about it."
Did Norwood bond with Grey over their similar situations? "[Jennifer] told me that watching the package made her feel more connected to me," the singer said. "It was a beautiful moment between us. I was really happy that she said that to me."
Did Massey -- whose mother recounted her family's sojourn to Hollywood, which involved taking $10,000 from her retirement fund to cover expenses -- feel his segment was, perhaps, less dramatic compared to his fellow semifinalists?
"Here's the thing," interjected a protective Lacey Schwimmer, Massey's partner, "Kyle's had a really rough life, but he doesn't feel it's necessary to talk about it and [possibly] promote votes [in the process.] He went out there tonight and killed it. I'm so proud of him."
After Norwood and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy's second dance, he noticed that he was missing his earring, which had gotten caught on Norwood's stocking during their Argentine tango, which earned a perfect score of "30" (and a total of "57" for the night.)
"I looked down and picked it up [off the dance floor] and it was closed," Chmerkovskiy recalled. "I was like, 'uh, oh.'" But there was no blood. "It was fine."
The dancer joked at least one person close to him was thrilled he lost his earring. "My Mom was like, 'Yes!'"
Bristol and Ballas earned season-high scores after their first dance -- three "9's" from the judges, but came in fourth with a total of 53 points.
"This show has people from the worlds of acting, sports and singing come to it," Ballas said. "Bristol's not a TV star, actress or singer; she's the most normal, sweet, down-to-earth person and I think people at home relate to that. I've had [as partners] Olympic athletes, a Cheetah Girl [Sabrina Ryan], Shannen Doherty, 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch [Melissa Joan Hart]' and Kim Kardashian. Now I have Bristol Palin and this is one of my proudest moments -- taking a non-dancer and turning her into what she is now."
"It makes me feel good, definitely," said Palin on hearing Ballas' words. "Mark has been so patient with me through this whole process. He really did have to start from scratch."
Carrie Ann Inaba praised Palin's first dance, saying, "This is what we've been asking for all season long." Was it surprising that a comment like that can come so late in the game?
"The judges, at the end of the day, are three people who have an opinion," Ballas said. "If tonight is the first time that they saw a glimmer of what they've been looking for good for them. I'm really happy with her progress throughout. It's a steady climb. Bristol's never done anything like this. She makes me proud every week. I'm glad the judges dug it."
The judges were also very complimentary towards Massey in the semifinals, scoring him and Schwimmer in second place with a score of 58, a mere two points behind Grey and Derek Hough's perfect score of 60.
Since this season has seen high-scoring duos leave the competition, are Lacey and Schwimmer nervous about tonight's results show? "It's the last elimination," said a somber Schwimmer. "If we make it, it's going to be so cool and I'm going to be so, so proud of Kyle. If not, we ended on a really high note and we had a blast."
"I got through the semifinals [performance]," Massey said. "Who knows what could happen next? They could send one of the judges home!"