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Thread: DWTS Semi-Finals Recap: Paso-OH MY GOD!

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    DWTS Semi-Finals Recap: Paso-OH MY GOD!

    Well, Dancing With the Stars fans, here we are at the semi-finals already. Niecy and her jiggly parts were sent packing last week and now there are only four couples left. The stage looks awfully empty. Tom reveals what he thinks is a big shocker – something that even the dancers don’t know: over the last several weeks, each of the remaining couples has lead in the viewer votes. He claims that this means the semi-finals give them all a clean slate. Whatever. I happen to think some have cleaner slates than others. Tonight, each couple will perform two dances: one a ballroom dance and the other a Latin dance. First up is the ballroom round.

    Erin and Maks
    Can we just get Brooke speaking lessons? How hard is it to pronounce Maks’ last name, really? For the ballroom round, Erin and Maks will perform the Viennese Waltz and Erin says she just wants to get to the finals. Maks says he’s invested so much work in this season and he wants to work for two more weeks. He really feels like has a chance of winning the show with Erin and says he’ll push her as hard as he can. Erin says seeing Maks so focused makes her want to work even harder.

    Erin and Maks dance a Waltz to Josh Groban’s “February Song” that is lovely and elegant and sweet. Maks definitely made use of Erin’s long legs in this routine. It’s obvious she’s really been working hard because her movements are much smoother and less jerky than the have been. As usual, they look stunning together.



    Len says that the fight for the finals starts now. Three couples are going through that door and Erin just made an elegant step through it. Bruno likens the dance to a symphony in blue and says Erin has improved so much since the beginning. Her fluidity and continuity were wonderful. Carrie Ann loves that, ever week, they see Erin improve. Still, she was a little nervous and needs to pull it back together for the next dance.
    Carrie Ann: 9
    Len: 9
    Bruno: 9 (after mistakenly flashing a 10 for a second)
    Score: 27

    Nicole and Derek
    When Nicole arrives at the rehearsal studio this week, she finds Derek nursing a sore neck. He says his neck has been bothering him for a few weeks, but now it’s affecting his back – he’s having trouble raising his right arm. The injury means they end up running a bit behind schedule this week and they both hope it won’t affect their performance. Derek vows that he will dance this week.

    Of course, they have the Argentine Tango this week, which means they can do lifts. Derek spends the first part of the routine carrying Nicole around. As always, they’re very good but, for some reason, it feels a bit slow to me. It might just be the music, but it just feels sluggish and the movements aren’t as sharp as they should be. I thought Erin and Maks did a better job with their Argentine Tango last week, but what do I know?



    I’ve almost stopped listening to Bruno who rambles on about Nicole being a divine enchantress. Inexplicably, Carrie Ann says she was brought to tears. She says the routine was profound and I just don’t know what to say about that. Len says the routine was more delicious than his grandmother’s apple pie
    Carrie Ann: 10
    Len: 10
    Bruno: 10
    Score: 30

    Chad and Cheryl
    Last week, Chad was in the bottom two and feels like let Cheryl down. She tells him they’re starting fresh and he’s going to dance like no one’s seen him dance before. These two have been letting the thinly-veiled jabs at Nicole fly for a few weeks and this week is no different. Chad’s stressing in rehearsal and tells Cheryl that maybe next time they should give her an advanced partner like Derek. *Snicker.* She tells him that’s not what the show is about.

    Chad and Cheryl Waltz to “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” by Simply Red. As with all of their routines, Cheryl does much of the flashy work, but Chad actually looks like he’s having fun for a change. He actually smiles and seems connected with Cheryl this time.



    Carrie Ann swoons and says that Chad just nailed the Waltz. It was a new Chad with a new posture and fluidity. Len doesn’t know where to start. Chad is the only one with no dance experience left in this competition. While the others have climbed hills, Chad has climbed mountains. Fantastic. Bruno acknowledges the fact that Chad has experienced the toughest criticism from the judges, but says it was because they knew something else was in there waiting to come out – tonight he showed it.
    Carrie Ann: 9
    Len: 9
    Bruno: 9
    Score: 27

    Evan and Anna
    Because Evan can sometimes come off as cold and detached, Anna wants to work on lightening him up for their Foxtrot. She asks Evan what makes him happy. Evan’s answer: coffee, cars and his nephew – we get a little iPhone video clip of his nephew, who is adorable.

    Danced to the Frank Sinatra classic “I’ve Got the World on a String,” Evan and Anna’s Foxtrot is very Fred and Ginger: sweet, effervescent and elegant and for once, Evan really looks like he’s having fun out there.



    As always, Len says, Evan showed his artistry and musicality, but he also showed his happy-go-lucky side, which we haven’t seen before. It was absolutely wonderful. Bruno calls it “Sparkly with a capital ‘S’.” Carrie Ann says that, sometimes, when the movement is so pristine and effortless, there’s no connection between the dancers and the audience. This time she felt the connection and they were dancing for the audience and entertaining them.
    Carrie Ann: 10
    Len: 9
    Bruno: 10
    Score: 29

    Ole! Oy Vey
    Now it’s time for the Latin round, i.e. the dances where they performers wear less clothing and the men often lose their shirts. It’s a good thing. In this round, each celebrity will have to perform a 30 second solo. Before each pair performs, we’ll learn a bit about each celebrity and how they grew up.

    Erin and Maks
    Erin grew up tall and skinny in Tampa, Florida. We’ve seen her redheaded sister in the audience all season and now we hear her talk: she tells us about the dance classes she and Erin took as kids. Erin says she wanted to be sports reporter starting in high school and was thrown into the national spotlight very quickly. Erin, her family and friends recount the situation with her stalker and Erin says this show was a perfect way to come back and not be a victim. Her father says she loves to smile when she dances and doing this show has helped give her her smile back.

    Erin and Maks perform their Paso Doble to Prince’s “U Got the Look” and Erin seems to have gotten over her nerves. She’s aggressive and powerful and definitely not tentative or nervous. It’s very sexy, although there’s a little bauble at the end, which Maks admits was his fault.



    Bruno calls Erin a hot chick with an attitude. This was another breakthrough – Erin was amazing. Carrie Ann tells Erin that this is what it feels like to be in your power. She compliments Maks on the choreography. Len doesn’t quite know what to make of the routine. He’s a traditionalist and this was a “funky monkey” Paso and the solo definitely wasn’t a Paso.
    Carrie Ann: 10
    Len: 9
    Bruno: 19
    Score: 29
    Total: 56

    Nicole and Derek
    Nicole grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she lived in a house with 13 other family members. HI. She and her mother eventually moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where Nicole says she felt like an ugly duckling because she didn’t look like everyone else. We see footage of Nicole performing when she was a student at a performing arts school. We also hear from the head of Geffen Records, who says he knew Nicole would be a star and P-Diddy (or Puffy or whatever he’s calling himself now) who says….you know what? Who cares? Why is he on my TV? When she became a success, Nicole bought a home for her mother in Hawaii, so she could be close to her family.

    For the Cha Cha Cha, Nicole is dressed like Prince….probably because Derek couldn’t pull off that look. Nicole begins the routine – to Prince’s “Kiss” – climbing around on a chair. Now watch, Len, who hates all props, will love it. I should mention a huge pet peeve of mine - dancers mouthing the words to the song while they dance. It just makes me cringe and Nicole keeps it up way too long. The dance itself is good as always, although I didn’t think her solo was all that Cha Cha-y – it’s felt more like a Pussycat Dolls show.



    Carrie Ann, who is apparently 5 years old now, talks about how Nicole performs these dance styles like she pooped them out. And that means she liked it. Len thought Nicole’s solo showed her talent, but it didn’t show any Cha Cha Cha. This week, they’re looking for the pairs that deserve to be in the final and Nicole should definitely be there. Bruno calls Nicole the sexilicious purple queen of the Cha Cha Cha, which is good, I think. Does he stay up late to come up with these bizarre descriptions?
    Carrie Ann: 10
    Len: 9
    Bruno: 10
    Score: 29
    Total: 59

    Chad and Cheryl
    Chad was born and raised in Miami, FL, where he was surrounded by alcohol, drugs and guns, as well as people telling him he couldn’t succeed. He was raised by his grandmother and says he knew - because he was not the smartest kid - that sports would be his way out. We also see footage of Chad with his four kids.

    I have to admit that, although I really do like Lady Gaga, I HATE the song “Alejandro,” so it was really hard for me not to mute this one. Compared to their Waltz earlier, this one just isn’t as good. Within a few seconds, Cheryl rips open Chad’s shirt and it not too long after that that Chad drops the shirt completely. Overall, it’s a pretty good view, but it doesn’t save the dance. I hate to say it, but I just don’t think Cheryl is that great of a choreographer, especially compared with someone like Derek (hey, I think the guy is a cheeseball, but he’s talented). Cheryl is good at choreographing for herself, which is a good thing, since she spends a lot of time dancing around Chad, who really doesn’t do all that much in this routine.



    A clearly jealous Len comments that the men always rip their shirts off in the Samba. Len notes that Chad got a rough deal tonight because this is the toughest of the Latin dances and Chad did a great job. Bruno says he’s torn between admiration and bitter envy and then vows to never take his clothes off again. I’ve seen the “I’m Still Standing” video – I’m sure we’d all appreciate it if Bruno kept his clothes on. Bruno tells Chad that the key to the Samba is excitement and cheekiness and Chad got those right. Carrie Ann notes that Chad’s technique just hasn’t matured like everyone else’s. Still, she notes that the entire audience was smiling during the performance: Chad’s got charisma.
    Carrie Ann: 8
    Len: 8
    Bruno: 9
    Score: 25
    Total: 52

    Evan and Anna
    In Evan’s clip package, we learn that Evan was all but pushed into figure skating because his grandmother had dreams of being in the Ice Capades. Evan’s mom says he was an driven and detail-oriented as a child. At 14, Evan had a huge growth spurt and really wanted to quit skating, but his mother told him he’d just have to work twice as hard. The one thing Evan wishes he could change about himself is his shyness. Scott Hamilton says that because skating is such a solitary activity, many skaters are often shy. He also says that Evan’s work ethic is why he’s the reigning world champion (thus proving that this interview with Scott is old!). Evan’s coach, Frank Carroll also weighs in: Evan may not be the most talented, but he’s the most driven.



    Evan and Anna dance their Paso Doble to Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” and holy crap, it’s amazing. I got goose bumps. Now that is a Paso. The dance is powerful and sexy and full of bravado. Evan totally dominates Anna. His open shirt doesn’t hurt either. Evan’s solo is the only one that actually resembles the dance style as well. Kudos to Anna on the choreography.

    Bruno says it was strong, yet artistic, with plenty of attack. The best elevation of any Paso we’ve seen this season. Carrie Ann practically faints from joy. She loved it. Len comments that the Paso Doble is a man’s dance and he should dominate the woman. It’s often difficult for a celebrity to dominate one of the professional dancers, but Evan did it.
    Carrie Ann: 10
    Len: 10
    Bruno: 10
    Score: 30
    Total: 59

    So, as expected, Nicole and Evan are at the top, followed by Erin and Chad. To find out whose fans pulled them through to the next round, look for the results show recap, brought to you by MFWalkoff. I’ll see you all back here next week for the finals!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Re: DWTS Semi-Finals Recap: Paso-OH MY GOD!

    Love the pictures and great job with the recap. Looking at Erin's picture I have to say the palazzo pants were a little goofy, so 70's, did not come off as feminine for the waltz but the woman is beautiful and lovely extension in this picture. She could wear anything and look great. Max looks great, too.

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