By Lisa Reynolds
It’s Ladies Night next Monday on “Dancing with the Stars.” For the first time, the finale will be an all-woman affair, as Shawn Johnson, Melissa Rycroft and Kelly Monaco will compete for the extra-blinged-out Mirror Ball on this all-star season.
Shawn and Derek Hough received the good news first, learning within the first six minutes of the show that they would be going to the finals.
Poor Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff had their fate telegraphed when they were chosen to do the encore. It was almost as if the judges were trying to give them a chance to say goodbye by having them showcase their perfect-scoring rumba again. We don’t usually see the rumba as an encore, Len said, but Apolo and Karina were beautiful and sensual. Still, despite technically challenging dances and consistently good scores – and being the only couple to get the encore twice this year – the duo just couldn’t break out on either the scoreboard or with the audience buzz. They seemed to be expecting their elimination when they were pitted against Melissa and Tony Dovolani at the halfway mark of this results show.
(Blogger side note: Darn it! Apolo and Karina were my favorite couple, despite some of my quibbles with Karina’s choreography. Apolo demonstrated such growth and maturity from his Season 4 champion season, and when did he get so hot? The foxtrot and rumba were highlights.)
In addition to Apolo and Karina, Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke took their final spin on the dance floor this week. The Season 3 winner still had the charisma and charm from his initial season, but he just didn’t have the talent of the remaining stars. Emmitt and Cheryl were pitted against fellow bottom dwellers Kelly and Val Chmerkovskiy. Since they had the same score after Monday, this would suggest soap-opera fan bases are bigger than football ones – or people are curious if Val, who was in a Speedo on Monday, will aim for the full monty next week.
Tuesday’s results show was heavy on the guest stars and one of the pros.
The AT&T Spotlight Performance featured an overachiever from New Zealand named Parris Goebel. At 21 years old, after training herself in hip-hop by watching video clips on TV, she already has formed a dance crew, opened a studio and choreographed for Jennifer Lopez. Now Parris is a “girl on fire” on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, dancing for American audiences and sitting on the floor with “DWTS” host Tom Bergeron.
The Wanted, the English-Irish boy band du jour, traveled across the Atlantic to sing two of its hits, “I Found You” and “Glad You Came.” The Wanted seemed to sing live and brought guest dancers. They’re not to be confused with rivals One Direction, who invaded New York City last week.
Paula Abdul couldn’t get enough of the ballroom and has returned after judging our celebs and pros earlier this season. She created “Dance Medley,” a mashup of four of her hits: “Straight Up,” “Forever Your Girl,” “Cold Hearted” and “Opposites Attract.” She said she has been looking forward to incorporating “ground-breaking” scenery and projection, some live and some technical. It’s like an ultra-long music video, and yes, Paula still can dance all these years later. (She lipsynched to a pre-recorded track, so it’s questionable whether she can sing.)
Derek did a contemporary modern piece with four dancers from outside the show. They performed to an original song, created after the fact so the dancing could influence the music. Derek says contemporary is out of his comfort zone. It’s a lot of moving bodies, with movement timed to the music and the flashing lights. And isn’t it nice to see the pool from Kelly and Val’s flamenco is getting used again?
Two questions, folks. Are the right three pairs going to the finals? Who will take this whole shebang next week?