Dancing with the Stars Recap: Season 12, Week 9
This week it's the semi-finals of Season 12 and only four couples remain. Following Tuesday night's elimination show (May 17th), only three of them went on to the championship round.
Monday night's program featured the pairs performing two new routines on top of a special bonus round. The second number was preceded by a biographical spiel on each star which highlighted their personal triumphs and challenges.
Towards the last 15 minutes of the show there was a winner-takes-all Cha-Cha-Cha contest. The winners receive an additional 15 points tacked onto their score for the night.
Ralph & Karina
Round 1: Argentine Tango (25/30)
Macchio looked tense in the beginning of his and Karina's first dance of the night, though he quickly softened up.
All in all I felt that this routine showed Ralph's newfound confidence and agility on the dance floor. He has certainly come a long way. This considered, I didn't understand the negative tone of the judges' comments. Len Goodman cited a lack of emotion in the dance, saying, "it didn't really smolder". Bruno agreed and asserted that the Argentine Tango "was too flat in interpretation for once." Ouch. Carrie Ann put it a little nicer."You have got to get the emotion all the way down to your feet," she said. "I want to see it all connected."
Round 2: Salsa (23/30)
The couple went all out for their 70's themed Salsa, set to Pitbull's "I Know You Want Me". Karina donned a skintight leopard print bodysuit and some crazy hair, while Ralph almost matched up with a gold chain and silky shirt that went partially unbuttoned. During their dance the energy was high and they looked to be having a blast with their theme. However Macchio's technique was off, and his hips also appeared a little stiff. Of course Smirnoff is a natural fireball -- but her partner not so much. Making matters worse, Ralph actually wore padding in his pants to make his behind look bigger.
Despite the fact Ralph came off a bit silly in this dance, I thought the judges were shockingly harsh in their critiques of him and Karina. Bruno may have been the worst, as he said that the actor looked like he had on "extra large diapers".
Hines & Kym
This week's performances were undoubtedly emotional for Hines and Kym, who became the first pair to receive two perfect scores in the same night. The NFL star and his partner received 30 out of 30 possible points for both their Salsa and their Argentine Tango. The evening was centered on the neck injury Johnson had suffered during rehearsals when Hines accidentally dropped her during a move. Footage of the accident showed the dancing pro go tumbling to the floor head first before the heavy wide receiver landed on top of her. Judging from the video that was shown, Kym is extremely lucky to be walking, much less performing on this level.
Round 1: Argentine Tango (30/30)
The pair looks to be in fine form as a Kym hops onto a table before latching onto her partner for the Argentine tango. She's wearing a sparkly champagne-colored dress that opens on one side and Hines looks dapper in a black suit. The two perform their sultry routine to "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" by Cake. Though I figured they were going to get perfect scores from the beginning, I will admit the dance was clean.
Upon finishing their dance an emotional Hines breaks down into tears, understandably relieved that Kym is okay after their rehearsal scare. Of course this causes Carrie Ann to tear up as well, along with some of the viewers.
The judges commend the NFL wide receiver for protecting and spotting his partner during their dance. An enthusiastic Len also exclaimed, "This is a tango!"
Round 2: Salsa (30/30)
Hines and Kym do the salsa for their second performance, the Steelers player sporting a Panama hat and suspenders while his partner showed off her figure in a yellow and orange 2-piece ruffled frock. Indeed the mood and energy of this salsa seemed to match the vivacious colors of the costumes. After successfully completing their first dance of the night, Hines and Kym danced as if a huge weight had been lifted off their shoulders.
Carrie Ann couldn't keep her feelings to herself as she gushed, "I can't even explain how much joy I get when you dance." Additionally Len commented, "You were steaming, and I was beaming."
Kirstie & Maks
Round 1: Viennese Waltz (27/30)
Alley wears a Cinderella-like dress as she glides around the dance floor with Maks, the two dancing the Viennese Waltz to Adele's "One and Only". The performance comes across as fluid and elegant.
Like many of us, the judges can't help but love Kirstie Alley. "You do something that's really magical," Carrie Ann told her. Meanwhile head judge Len Goodman admits that he thoughtshe might cling to Maks throughout the Waltz, but she didn't. He adds that he saw "beautiful posture" and "lovely sweeping movement".
Round 2: Paso Doble (27/30)
Dressed in all black, Kirstie and Maks whiz around the dance floor to Cream's "White Room." In watching them it becomes obvious that the actress has improved significantly in terms of her endurance. She's shed some serious pounds, and this of course makes moving around the dance floor a lot easier.
The judges were equally as impressed, as the comical Bruno told Kirstie, "That was not the Paso Doble -- it was Dance Trek 12, The Wrath of Kirstie. The fire, the power, erupting volcano. You were going like a force of nature!" Carrie Ann also dubbed her "Queen of the Paso Doble" while Lenpraised the pair and said he thought they had the two toughest routines of the night.
Chelsea & Mark
Round 1: Argentine Tango (28/30)
The bubbly 22-year-old wore a dress made of white lace for this sensual number, which appeared to give her a little trouble compared to the other dances she's tackled this season. Specifically, her legs seemed a little dysfunctional at times -- like they didn't bend quickly enough or at the right angle tointertwine with Mark's. Still the pair has no problem when it comes to getting into character, and thus they were able to easily create the right atmosphere for the dance. Though Mark did great, you can tell that he prefers the more showy numbers to showcase his skill set.
In giving feedback, the judges pointed out a less-than-stellar performance, much to the dismay of a visibly sad Chelsea. Carrie Ann stated that their Argentine Tango was "not up to par" while Len Goodman agreed that Chelsea's legs lacked "a bit of authority throughout the dance". The head judge did give them a little credit in saying that "the lifts were right in character." Still Bruno came to the rescue, calling Kane sexy and comparing her prowess to that of Sharon Stone circa Basic Instinct.
Round 2: Rumba (30/30)
Following a lukewarm Argentine Tango, Chelsea came back and redeemed herself with the Rumba. She and Mark gave an absolutely mesmerizing performance to the song "Eyes on Fire" by Blue Foundation. It began with Chelsea wearing a sheet-like ensemble, her head draped with the material as she proceeded to walk outward from the steps. CBS wrote that the 22-year-old then "continued by describing lines that the other contestants simply couldn't draw with a pencil, a sheet of paper and three hours." Wow.
This time around, Carrie Ann seemed impressed, describing Chelsea and Mark's Rumba as "full range of motion, full passion, full commitment to movement." Len Goodman also gave the 22-year-old the ultimate compliment, saying "Tonight, you have fulfilled your potential." Bruno described the dance as "romantic and erotic, but perfectly pitched."
Bonus Round (Cha-Cha competition)
Ralph & Karina square off against Chelsea & Mark
Winner: Chelsea & Mark
Hines & Kym square off against Kirstie & Maks
Winner: Hines & Kym
Hines & Kym vs. Chelsea and Mark (Lady Gaga - "Just Dance")
The charismatic duo of Hines and Kym brought their fun vibe to the dance floor, while the judges couldn't ignore the technique displayed by the young duo of Ballas and Kane.
Ultimately all the judges held up paddles in favor of Chelsea and Mark, though it visibly pained Carrie Ann to do so.
Winner of Bonus Round (and 15 points): Chelsea & Mark
Elimination Night (Tuesday, May 17th)
The results broadcast for Dancing with the Stars opened with an encore performance by Chelsea and Mark doing their perfectly-scored Rumba from Monday night.
Taking the stage as the featured musical act is rock & roll icon Stevie Nicks, who sings her signature track "Landslide" in addition to a new single titled "Secret Love" off her new album. Nicks' music is accompanied by some dancing entertainment by Dmitry Chaplin and Anna Trebunskaya.
Another musical highlight of the evening comes courtesy of rapper/hip-hop artist Pitbull, whose joined by NeYo and Nayer in performing their new smash single "Give Me Everything."
In a special part of the program, 13-year-old Tayla Kelly gets to perform alongside Lacey Schwimmer and Chelsie Hightower. The trio dances to La Roux's "Bulletproof." Born with Primary Immune Deficiency Disease, Tayla finds solace from her pain in dance. The teen recently received the exciting news that she had been recruited by the Rochester city Ballet to study dance at the Timothy M. Draper School.
At this time we learn two couples of the three couples that will be dancing in the finale on Monday night. Not surprisingly, they are Chelsea & Mark and Hines & Kym.
Now Ralph & Karina and Kirstie & Maks are in the bottom two.
Following some sense moments, we learn who is going to get the axe from Season 12. And in what many saw as an inevitable elimination, Ralph and Karina are let go from the competition.
Before leaving, the original Karate Kid gives his partner some heartfelt words. "Karina, you have inspired me in so many ways with your heart, your talent, your class, your integrity as an artist, and even more so as a human being," he told her. "I am proud to have been your dance partner and even more proud to be your friend."