Welcome to the “Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars” semi-finals, ballroom fans! This was the last chance for stars and their pros to dance to the finals before the double elimination on Tuesday night, so we got outlandish costumes. Saw what happened when you crossed espionage and the Lindy hop. And we got an actual romantic kiss at the end of a routine!
The five remaining couples danced two full dances during this performance show. The first was a combination of a new dance and off-beat theme that seemed like it was taken straight out of an acid trip, but turned out to be a refreshing and fun way to show off how creative these pros can be with challenging choreography. The second was a tribute to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album in honor of its 25th anniversary.
Like many of the other couples, Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough were flabbergasted by their off-beat dance/theme combination. Knight Rider? Indian folk dance Bhangra? “I would rather have mustard on ice cream as a combination of things,” Derek admitted. Derek had to bring in Bhangra choreographer Daman Grewal to show how to perform what Shawn called “fast-moving kind of flailing movements.” And the dance may go against all of Shawn’s instincts, and she still may not know what Bhangra is (“It did feel like mustard and ice cream, I’m not gonna lie,” she said adorably), but man did she dance the heck out of their dance. Had David Hasselhoff learned that dance, he’d be on the all-star season, said Tom. “Another mega hit for Shawn and the hulk,” Bruno crowed. “And this time they did it Bhangra style!” “Finally, Shawn is out of breath!” said Carrie Ann. “Fantastic, great job!” Even cranky Len was complimentary: “Shut up, close the door, call me Mary: I tell you: This dynamite was fantastic.” And so was their score: A perfect 30! Loved how excited Shawn was after getting that score, running victory laps up in the sky box.
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Tom remarked that “It takes an Indian folk dance to get Shawn Johnson out of breath.” Though “I’m actually getting really exhausted,” Shawn admitted after their Argentine tango. So was Derek, who struggled to find the right choreography. Shawn was initially reluctant to admit how much winning this Mirrorball trophy would mean to her, and she credits this all-star season for re-lighting the competitive passion in her. It’s also re-lit her sexy side: Shawn was dressed like Princess Leia in “Return of the Jedi” with half of her dress missing and her hair wrapped in an intergalactic-type ponytail. And their tango, set to MJ’s “Bad,” was so incredibly precise it could cut like a knife. I particularly liked that kip kick to the lunge at the end. Bruno said “stylistically it was perfect…you went for shapes, line and style.” Carrie Ann agreed that the routine was “beautiful,” but thought “it lacked a bit of drama and the intimacy.” Len said there were two parts of the dance: the movement, and the style. “For me, you nailed both parts.” Total: 59 out of 60.
We learned that Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani’s original goal was just to make it to week 4 of the all-star season. And now, as the only couple left who hasn’t won a Mirrorball trophy, they feel like they have nothing to lose. The Caveman Hustle, however, did not come to either of them very easily. Maybe because the whole concept didn’t make sense. “Why are there cave people dancing at a disco?” Melissa asked, not unreasonably. Tony’s back was so confused it pooped out during blocking on Sunday afternoon. But Tony was not going to let Melissa down, and even went so far as to inject his back with goodies and don leather and some sort of seaweed-esque dreads, dance around a campfire, and use Melissa’s booty like some bongos. “Fred and Wilma have never danced so well,” Len said. “Tony had the muscle, you had the hustle.” Bruno thought it was “the most effective use of animal skins since Raquel Welch,” though pointed out that Melissa “lost your footing a little bit.” Carrie Ann thought it was “yabba dabba fun,” though her hustle was a little off. Still, as Tom said, “You have to appreciate the prehistoric dental work.”