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It seems like months and months ago yesterday that we had 12 budding so-so celeb dancers eager to sashay one step closer to their big prime time comebacks win. One by one they were unceremoniously kicked back into oblivion, leaving three halfway decent dancers and one head-scratcher in the semifinal to duke it out for the cheesy mirror ball trophy. What this means in simple English is that it's almost over. My sadness knows no bounds. I'm hoping next season ABC will consider starting out with 40 couples. That way they can keep competing ever week between Valentine's Day and Christmas and we'd crown a winner on New Year's Day. We won't even have to vote them off, they'll just drop away from exhaustion all by themselves! Point person at ABC - give me a call and we can talk business.

Newly rid of the threat that was Mario, the rest of the field is ready to take on two dances determined by random draw. Lifts are once again banned from the dance floor. Len says that good dancing is no longer good enough; the judges are expecting great dancing tonight. Who will be dealt a lucky hand and whose chances will be crushed by an unfortunate pick? Read on.

Ballroom blitz

After last week's elimination show, Jason and Edyta reached into the mirror ball bowl and drew the Foxtrot and the Paso Doble which made them very happy. Edyta wants Jason to demonstrate his improvement on the Foxtrot but Jason is too tired to focus so she trots out a strategy board and gets to explaining the playing field and the game like any good coach would. She even brings on a video of former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino to give Jason a pep talk. Dan tells him that if he doesn't bring home the mirror ball he shouldn't come home. The pressure! After all this reinforcement, they finally are ready to Foxtrot. Looking classy in matching blue and lavender outfits, they dance to an old Louis Armstrong song. They put on a very smooth, debonair dance that definitely showed the improvement that Jason made since the beginning of the season. The audience are on their feet and Len is ecstatic. He thought their dance fantastic. Bruno loved the grace of movement, the showmanship and the lovely details. Carrie felt it was a beautiful dance with lots of contact and grace. They receive 9-10-9 for a total of 28 points.

I really like your br..., er, dress, Edyta!

After she turned in a seriously sub-par performance last week, Marissa pouted over the judges' scores but was saved by her fans. The random draw gave them the Rumba and the Quickstep and Marissa hopes to score better this week. Stacy Keebler, who apparently were Marissa's “favorite couple” on Dancing shows up to offer some pointers about how to view Tony in a more passionate light for the Rumba. Tony is worried about details while Marissa just wants to dance for her fans. Sounds suspiciously like the things Marie used to say before she got her ass sent back to Dollville. Their Quickstep is up first, set to Around The World . Marissa is wearing another disastrously dowdy number, this time in a deep wine shade. It's not only too tight but it even bulges unattractively in places. Their dance is on the slow side, contains too much filler movements and a final move where Marissa lifts her leg up high is shown from a weird angle making for a somewhat scary view. Bruno noted a missed jette, and says details are important this being the semifinal and all. Carrie calls her the “unlikely contender” but thought it was a good classic Quickstep. Len bemoans the lack of body contact but thought they did a good job. They get 9-9-8 for a total of 26 points.

Tony, stop nibbling! We have a dance to finish!

With his, literally, single handed ascent to the top of the leader board last week, Cristian now really wants to be the last man standing. However, their random picks of the Viennese Waltz and Samba elicited a loud “oh, no!” from Cheryl. The Samba, as you may remember, was the dance on which Cristian's arm was hurt. They try to work past it, but it's mostly a mental hurdle Cristian needs to overcome. While studio work is important, Cheryl and Cristian also hit the campaign trail trying to garner votes by having Cristian walk around with a sandwich board. Energized by all the feedback from the fans on the street, he wants to stay away from disaster and dance into the finals. They start off with the Viennese Waltz set to Satellite. Cheryl is wearing a horrific silver dress with big flowers around the neckline that is way too distracting. Or maybe that was the whole point as I keep staring at her dress and I barely notice what they're doing. Carrie liked the movement, the rotation and the sweetness of their dance. Len thought it was better all over. Bruno terms it a “Viennese Waltz with a vow factor”. Even Tom gets in on the act telling Cheryl he loves her dress but asking the audience whether anyone is missing a weather balloon. Ouch! They earn all 9s for a total of 27 points.

Ay, Caramba! I'm loooving this perfume, Cheryl!

The last dance in the ballroom round goes to Kristi. They lucked out with the Tango and Jive this week and Kristi wants to give it her all and not hold back on the dance floor. They both feel a lot of pressure after their previous top scoring Jive. Mark knows their moves will be scrutinized vigorously by the judges. With the Tango, they're aiming for improvement in the passion department and Mark decides to take Kristi to a professional Tango class so that the pro dancers can offer input and some help. The dancers have some very good suggestions about how Kristi can improve her Tango with little details that can make a great impact. With Kristi dressed in a smashing red sequined number and Mark wearing crisp black, they look very sophisticated on the dance floor. Their movements are sharp, clean and technically excellent while their interaction is just right. The audience gives them a loud standing ovation. Len loved the drama, the hold and posture but felt it was at times hectic, prompting indignant protests from Bruno who feels they “squeezed every bit of drama” out of the Tango. Carrie is ecstatic about their dance and gives them her own standing ovation. They earn 10-9-10 for a total of 29 points.

I said no tongue, Mark!! My husband is watching!

In the lead after the Ballroom round are Kristi and Mark with 29 points, with Marissa and Tony at the bottom of the board with 26 points. Who will wear the least amount of fabric in the Latin round? Take another Valium and keep reading.

Lending a hand

Following tradition, this week Len ventured out in his chauffeur driven limo, bearing the DANCEMSTR license plate no less, to impart some wisdom to the remaining four couples as they grappled with their Latin round dance rehearsals. In a 007 themed segment he explains that he will show each couple a new mandatory step that might make or break their dance and decide whether they deserve to advance to the finals.

His first stop is with Jason and Edyta to offer pointers about the Paso Doble. Len takes Edyta's place and he and Jason make a sweet couple although Jason thinks Edyta looks a bit better. They practice a fierce looking step sequence which Jason seems to pick up quickly. Next Len visits with Kristi to advise her on the finer points of the Jive, specifically not bending her knees during her rondés and showing her a perfect Arkansas pull through. She has no trouble executing it and Len is pleased. To prepare Cristian for the Samba, Len dances with him as well and coaches him on a better, more advanced type of promenade. With Marissa, Len wants to work the hips. The three of them do the Rumba sway together and Len complains that Marissa is gripping his hips too tightly. The top secret 007 mission ends with Len cozying up to Kym in the limo. Shaken and stirred!

Before the Latin round gets underway, Tom introduces British import Bachelor Matt Grant, asking him about his big finale show on the Bachelor and whether “she gets a diamond ring and [he] gets a green card”. Hee! Looks like Tommy boy is in the know. Wink, wink.

But enough chit chat, let's move on to the dancing part of this love fest.

Latin love

Kicking off the Latin round are Jason and Edyta with their Paso Doble. It is set to traditional music, their costumes are stylized but still appropriate, their moves are good but perhaps not as great as during their NFL themed effort of a couple of weeks back. Edyta gets to mop up the floor with her dress for what seems like minutes at one point as Jason drags her around in a circle a few times. As the audience cheers, the judges are similarly enthused. Bruno thought Jason looked like a true matador, Carrie loved the content and the execution while Len felt he was like the price of gas, “going up”. Their scores are all 9s, which gives them 27 points for a grand total of 55 for the night.

Jason, do it again! I think we missed a spot.

Marissa and Tony are up next with the Rumba. Again, she is wearing a full coverage, dark matronly dress that's oddly fringed and feathered at the bottom and not in a good way. Their Rumba is unconvincing, lacks all passion and feels amateurish. Their movements seems stilted and awkward. At the end Marissa's feathered dress got stuck to Tony's pants making for a strange conclusion. Carrie didn't think it was up to snuff for a semifinal. Len felt they did a good job. Bruno says it was like “sex in the city” but Carrie still argues it was not exciting enough for this stage. The judges bickering is more interesting than Marissa's dance and their scores almost come as an afterthought: 8-9-9 for a total of 26 and a grand total of 52 points.

Stop touching me there, Tom, this is a family show!

Next in the Latin round are Cristian and Cheryl dancing the Samba. Wearing an unbuttoned blue shirt, Cristian looks hot if a bit stiff, leaving Cheryl to do the heavy lifting as usual. Not that he's bad, just mostly an also-ran next to her. The lack of upper body movement is particularly noticeable. Len thought it was “hotter than a chili pepper”, felt it was strong but a bit flat footed in places. Bruno was excited by their Samba. Carrie was reminded of Emmit “Twinkle Toes” Smith, conveniently present in the audience, and loved it. They earn 10-9-10 for a total of 29 and a grand total of 56 points.

I hope they can see my chest when I'm doing this.

Last but not least, Kristi and Mark are up with their Jive. Dressed in a hot pink sequined polka dot confection, Kristi looks ready to kick it to Nutbush city limits. It is a cute, very well done technical Jive that is fun to watch to the last move. The audience cheers loudly for them and Bruno calls it “the cherry on the icing on the cake of a sweet, sweet delicious Jive”. He saw Kristi being able to perform well. Carrie thought it was a very difficult routine even being a bit out of sync at times. Len loved the rhythm, the move, the good basic steps but noted a smidgen of stiffness. Well, I guess they had to offer some criticism. Their scores 9-9-10 for a total of 28 points for a grand total of 57 points.

Ouch, Kristi! Not in the family jewels again!

At the end of the night Kristi and Mark are in the lead with 57 points while Marissa and Tony trail with 52 points. Who will survive elimination and who will bite the dust just before they can get close enough to touch the shiny mirror ball trophy? Find out from the wonderful lildago. See me next week for the two final rounds next Monday and next Tuesday night we're finally sticking a fork into this turkey.