This was the most trying and difficult week yet. Some dances have never been performed on the show.
2 Rounds of dancing—the First Round: Traditional DWTS dances.
The Second Round: a full dance—the style chosen for the couples by the viewers.\
A brilliant Red screen appeared on the stage, acting as an extremely effective silhouette screen for Kelli and Derek’s opening. The shadow-silhouette effect accented every, tiny angle, line, step and synchronization with an exaggerated element of drama. It was superbly successful. When they stepped down the stairway and into the lights, we saw Kelli sporting perfect, Argentine-ish, brown-hair, in a classic Argentine Tango dancer “bob”. Her hair was adorned with red flowers above her ear. The red, one-shoulder, custom-fitted, tango dress was longer on one side to whisp around accenting the sharp, crisp turns of the Arg. Tango. The dance floor was encased in floor lights, alternating red and white. (Great uplighting to achieve a little “retro” feel.) Len: that was a mix of Pride (in technique) and Joy (in the performance” “Close the door….call me Mary…. that was FANTASTIC ! Carrie Ann said that “it was absurd that you can attain that level of “puuuurrr-FECT-ion” in only 8 weeks!!!” THREE 10’S TOTAL 30!
Ingo and Kym performed a Samba with bluish/white strips of light decorating their elevated platform. The Samba is not EASY! Ingo was shirtless under a black vest and Kym was in gold with some long fringe. Ingo was better on his musicality this week and his traditional, all-out, efforts and commitment definitely showed on the dance floor. The judges felt it was a little “forced” and Carrie Ann pointed out that he was still the “underdog”, with a little inconsistency. Three 8’s TOTAL 24
In rehearsal, Mark (a great teacher), worked on pulling some passion from Aly which is a critical emotion for the Rumba. I loved the “spray of pin spot lights” that poured over them during their opening. The lights moved skyward creating a burst-array as they moved over the dance floor. Aly successfully projected passion and they told a clear story. It was a dance of Second Chances—a woman conflicted and angry with her man, dismissing him and returning to him again and again for one more look/try. The story was compelling, dramatic and enthralling. The judges thought this was the “best performance EVER” from Aly. ANOTHER SET OF THREE 10’S TOTAL 30
Jacoby stepped out in white shirt, tie, vest and tux pants to dance Karina over to a black marble-look floor, highlighted on each corner by street lights creating a passionate, encouter-on- the-street experience. Jacoby mastered the intensity of the Argentine Tango. Another fantastic set effect from the crew “wow-ed” us on this number. They created a Colliseum look design behind them, outlined in neon light strips. The camera panned out during the dance to catch the reflection of the Colliseum in the “black marble” floor. Amazing. Their dance was also amazing. This was the best performance EVER from Jacoby! He got a kiss from Carrie Ann and left her “heated up” and without words! ANOTHER PERFECT SCORE: THREE 10’S TOTAL 30
We had a little pre-commercial “preview” of Zendaya in her yellow, black-striped, “Student Driver”, racing suit. Val had the opposite colors: black suit with yellow striping. They opened in fast-track, hot rod go-carts, putting on their helmets accompanied by drag race sounds, including burning rubber at the Starting Line. The reflection gobo lights on the dance floor gave us the track (road) stripes, which began streaming past them to create a terrific, “racing down the track” effect. This was a definite “wow” moment! Their dance was the Quick Step. Their music: screaming rock, so they had to be innovative. They were race competitors and the choreography exemplified their competition. The music was waaaaay too fast to be genuinely reflective of the Quick Step. I was sad about that because there is absolutely NO DOUBT that Zendaya can perform a PERFECT Quick Step! Unless, the music was WAY over-tempo. They didn’t dance the Quick Step—they RAN it—LITERALLY! Bruno commented, “this was a Quick Step for the next generation!” I agreed…..but thought that they could have slowed the tempo and been magnificently more effective. Two 8’s and One 9 TOTAL 25
The dance styles included Lindy Hop, Afro Jazz (what’s THAT?), Flamenco and other unusual dances. Doing something out of their comfort zone was a great challenge for these high-level, accomplished dancers at this point. (The FINALS are next week!) A background segment on each competitor preceded each dance so we were treated to some additional insights as to where the dancers have come from.
Derek had never danced Flamenco, but you would have never known it! His lines were superb. Kelli was gorgeous in her long, white, ruffled gown. Derek danced shirtless with suspenders and Fedora, and came through with some great Flamenco footwork and rhythms! Kelli joined him for some amazing duet, hand-clapping rhythms, as well. I think Kelli could have used her skirt a little more in true Flamenco styling, but thought it was amazing overall.
Two 9’s and One 10! TOTAL 28 Cumulative Total: 57
It’s 5’2, Yessir That’s My Baby, Charleston Time! Ingo and Kym began dancing in an “old-time movie”, camera lens (brown tone picture). They were outstandingly entertaining and fun. Kym’s dress featured a pink sequined bodice; long, roaring 20’s pearls, and fringe skirt. Ingo was in a Pink Vest and vest, tie and pants. This was bouncy and fun! Three 9’s Total 24 Cumulative Total: 51
Afro Jazz……NOBODY knows what this is, except something in their imagination. I imagined maybe African Dance intertwined with a Jazz routine. Aly and Mark came out in completely outrageous costuming: African grass headdresses, plumed shoulders and raggedy, native style skirts. They danced barefoot. The thing is, the “grass” was light blue and there were pastels woven into the grasses as well. Surprisingly enough, it all seemed appropriate for Afro JAZZ. African symbols and totems filled the room. Red smoke from the tribal campfire billowed up behind them. They began in a semi-crouched, warrior pose, holding spears, which they used to fiercely stab the ground as the drum beats began. They leaped off the stage, onto the floor and went right into a savage ritual dance. Nothing but drum beats for half the dance. Great choreography from Mark. As a jazzy flute joined the drumming, they hit the floor for some VERY interesting floor moves and integrations. The entire dance was a duet rather than a “couple” dance. They were in perfect sync!
Two 10’s and One 9 TOTAL 29 Cumulative Total: 59 **** (High Score on the Board)
Lindy Hop, my all time, favorite dance, belonged to Jacoby and Karina. PERFECT! Jacoby does very well with the “energy dances”. Lindy features lots of highly athletic lifts and flips. Karina was hurt in rehearsal attempting an over-the-back pull through. She recovered nicely and performed beautifully. Jacoby was perfectly costumed for the 40’s style swing dance in his pin-striped suit. Karina’s dress was also perfect, except they couldn’t resist stripping out the back and most of the front (except for a ruffled “V” covering critical spots). We saw a lot of kicks and “Lindy-like” moves but not REAL Lindy Hop. Not a single basic nor a single Charleston Kick step. Nevertheless, it was a reeeally good interpretive rendition of a Lindy. The Judges didn’t know any different, anyway, so it was great!
Two 10’s and One 9; Total 29 Cumulative Total: 59 ***** (High Score on the Board)
Here’s the dance that Zendaya has been waiting for!!!! HIP HOP! She has lots of experience and background in Hip Hop – it was Val that needed a teacher for this one! Zendaya spied on him while rehearsing so she could giggle and tee hee with obvious superiority when it comes to Hip Hop. Amusing footage from their rehearsal time with Zendaya in the “knowledgeable seat” this time. Val became the school “nerd” sitting on a bench. Zendaya slid across the bench and boosted him onto the floor. She wore a sequined, short, denim, vest and epitomized a vision of a Hip Hop Queen! Steps were perfect, impeccable precision and their dance blew everyone completely away! “Zendaya Forever!” Bruno said.
Three 10’s Total 30 Cumulative Total: 55
We have a tie of a Cumulative totals (59): Jacoby and Karina / Aly and Mark. Someone goes home Tuesday, leaving us with 4 Finalists. Zendaya, Kelli, and Aly have become extremely SUPERB dancers. Jacoby’s energy and improvements are a real fan/crowd pleaser. Ingo has come a very long way, but I’m afraid we will lose him on Tuesday.
This was an interesting Semi-Finals show! The unusual dances added a whole new challenge for the dancers and new adventure in entertainment for the fans. I enjoyed the show, but I think I’m going to LOVE the Finals: “Super-size, Free Style, Anything Goes” dances. They are allowed to utilize any props and sets they like. The Finals promise to be ASTOUNDING!
Ingo and Kym went home, taking their energy and entertainment fun with them. We will miss them. Can’t wait for the FINALS!!!
………..until next time.