SAN DIEGO, November 19, 2012 – The semi-final week of “Dancing With The Stars: All Stars” is the most important competition of the entire season. The five couples remaining are fighting for one of three spots in the finals. Getting to the final is the ultimate goal, perhaps even more than ultimately winning the Mirror Ball Trophy.
So what were the producers thinking making the couples earn half their crucial semi-final points from the judges presenting ill-conceived themes set to odd dance styles, most of them having nothing to do with classic ballroom?
Four of the five couples received lower scores than they are used to seeing. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy only scored 25.5 for their Surfer Flamenco. The pair performed a creative, energetic dance that was fun to watch, but the judges criticized the lack of flamenco technique. The couples had to spend far too much time this week figuring out what they were supposed to do rather than rehearsing actual dance skills.
The only couple successful with this round was Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough, who drew the Knight Rider Bangra. The Knight Rider aspect was wisely confined to the costumes, and Shawn and Derek otherwise performed an athletic, energetic classic Indian folk dance. It deserved its perfect score of 30.
Round two returned to traditional ballroom styles, all set to music from the Michael Jackson album “Bad.” ABC is hyping its Thanksgiving night special featuring the album. This round was far more successful all around.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovoloni have had the high scores over the past few weeks including two perfect scores last week. They bagged another perfect 30 with an Argentine Tango to “Dirty Diana” that featured complex and impressive lifts and leg work by Melissa.
Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff seem to lack a fan base, and they had to score big. They did, getting a perfect 30 for their rumba.
Shawn and Derek were nearly perfect again, dancing an Argentine Tango to “Bad” that received a score of 29, with judge Len Goodman the holdout with a nine.
Kelly and Val improved on their first round score with 28.5 points for their rumba. But it left them with the lowest combined score of the night. They are tied with Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke, who received 27 points for both rounds, for a total of 54 points.
On Twitter, Maks Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd, and former competitor Sherri Shepard raved about Kelly and Val’s rumba, then expressed dismay with the scores, especially Carrie Ann Inaba’s.
There is a clear dividing line between the three at the top and the two tied at the bottom. Fan votes can change the rankings, but this time the judges got it exactly right. Shawn Johnson, Apolo Ohno, and Melissa Rycroft are exactly who deserve to be in the final next week. We will find out on Tuesday night whether this is the outcome.
The semi-final scoreboard:
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 30 (Knight Rider Banghra) plus 29 (MJ Argentine Tango) = 59 points
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 27.5 (Caveman Hustle) plus 30 (MJ Argentine Tango) = 57.5 points
Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 27 (Big Top Jazz) plus 30 (MJ) = 57 points
Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 27 (Espionage Lindy Hop) plus 27 (MJ) = 54 points
Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 25.5 (Surfer Flamenco) plus 28.5 (MJ Rumba) = 54 points
“Dancing With The Stars All-Stars: The Results” airs on Tuesday, November 20, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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