TV Recap: Dancing With The Stars

The heat is on. Only a week away from the semi-finals, the contestants are feeling the pressure to outperform each other, and it shows. Last night the stars completed the last of all 10 dances. With their performances all rounded out, the contestants have showed off every move of every dance. Following in last week's dance steps, most of the stars received higher scores for their second dances last night. Whoever survives this week gets to choose which ballroom and Latin dances they will repeat next week.

In the eighth week of the competition, Helio Castroneves got the first and only perfect score of the night (and his first ever, nice timing), which sped him to the head of the pack. Poor Cameron Mathison is the only remaining contestant to never receive a single 10. Could he pull off an ultimate score if he sticks around another week? Maybe if he pulled off his shirt once and for all... (Len would surely recoil in disgust ... or is it envy?).

Jennie Garth kicked off the night with the jive. Her legs looked strong and sharp to me, but the judges said she was a little limp, and that her moves need to be cleaner this late in the game. Len told her that jive wasn’t quite worthy of the semi-finals. Either way, you could see her confidence level was higher than ever. Honestly, who wouldn’t feel good about themselves after a personal visit from Richard Simmons? Whatever that guy’s on, I want some. Jennie and Derek took the criticism to heart and came back with a better fox trot. I think I’ve decided that the fox trot is my least favorite dance. I don’t enjoy watching it very much, regardless of who’s dancing it. Jennie and Derek are so cute, though, their fox trot was tolerable. While Carrie Ann and Len applauded Jennie’s effort, Bruno still thought it was lacking the dazzle he desired from this once upon a time television dream girl. Based on last night’s performances, it’s a very real possibility Jennie might not make it to the semi-finals. If she does make it to next week, I think she should dance the quickstep again, to make up for Derek’s slipup in week two, and either the paso doble or the rumba, since they each earned her a 10.

Cameron followed Jennie last night with a ballet-inspired Viennese waltz and an unnatural cha cha. Cameron said he was hoping for a 10 last night, since he was surprised he didn’t get one last week, but unfortunately fell some hairs short. If either of his performances warranted a 10, it was his Viennese waltz. He and Edyta shined together, as they normally do, gliding across the dance floor with grace and poise. The one thing I did notice, and the judges, too, was that Cameron was a bit stiff and exaggerated throughout. He likes to hit each arm and each pose with such intensity, which is usually good, but in a fragile dance like this, he needed to ease up. That stiffness followed him into his cha cha, which hurt his second set of scores. After each of his dances last night, Cameron was told to watch himself in between holds. He is a treat to watch (a man-treat, that is), and he always has fun dancing with Edyta (who wouldn’t?), so if he makes it another week, I think he should re-take on the Viennese waltz, because I think he could really get a 10 with this one, and that oh-so-hot rumba from Latin week. Who am I kidding, as long as his shirt stays open, he could dance the fox trot and I’d still be mesmerized.

Marie Osmond fell smack in the middle of last night’s dancing roster, but ultimately fell to the bottom in the rankings (shocker). Marie and Jonathan started out their set with a “sophisticated” rumba (after Marie got permission to get frisky with Jonathan from his wife, Anna Trebunskaya, whom we saw earlier this season swinging tadpole, Albert Reed, around). Hmm, sophisticated and rumba are no peanut butter and jelly, but the judges seemed to like it well enough. Marie has such an incredibly positive attitude that seems genuine, it’s hard to bash her. At this stage in the competition, though, Jonathan should have choreographed more steps, and Marie needed more aggression. Her partner does seem to be going easy on her as far as moves go, maybe because he doesn’t think she could do them? If that’s the case, what are they doing here? Their fun country jive got them only one point higher than their first dance. Marie really is an entertainer, she never really gets too down on herself, which is refreshing, but based on last night’s, and all previous nights’, dancing, I think the air might finally be let out of Marie’s sails. If her sails stay afloat, however, I think she should redo the tango and the Viennese waltz, the two dances that earned her two worthy high scores.

Helio has his own pit crew in racing, and now apparently in dance, as well. Before last night’s paso doble, Julianne enlisted the help of some dancing heavyweights to steer Helio in the winning direction. Tony Dovolani, World Rhythm Champion (and former Dancing competitor), helped Helio master his technique, Corky Ballas, seven-time U.S. Latin Champion (and Mark Ballas’ dad), taught Helio a thing or two about cape work, and Heather Smith, 10-time U.S. Ballroom Dancing Champion, helped Helio work on his attitude. All their hard work really payed off. Helio and Julianne’s outfits were excellent, and they both stayed in character throughout the dance. Helio had the right amount of aggression, incredible intensity and authentic character. His attention to detail last night might just be what it takes to land him in the winner’s circle. Moving on to his perfect quickstep. ... First of all, The Mask theme was awesome, who better to play Cameron Diaz than Julianne? I was actually expecting the dance to be straight out of the movie, but what Julianne came up with was intricate, fun, fast, energetic and exciting. I thought there could have been even more leg work, but what they did was pretty darn good. My most favorite was when Helio laid a big smooch on Julianne at the end, and then dropped her. If I remember correctly, that’s how it goes in the movie. Bravo, Helio. He’s been going strong pretty much since the beginning and if he keeps it up, I could definitely see him facing off with Mel in the finals. In order to get there, I think he should re-dance whatever he wants. He rocks, and even the dances he didn’t do too well at at first, I think he could kick their butts.

The same goes for Melanie Brown. She and Maksim can dance whatever they please next week, since they rock way hard. Last night, Mel and Maksim started out with a tango that was sharp and aggressive, as are most of their dances, but I thought it lacked emotion (apparently having her husband come and get her all worked up at practice backfired). Bruno said he thought it was menacing and powerful and Len complimented Mel’s footwork (which was, indeed, on point), but Carrie Ann said it was not completely convincing, even though Mel has separated herself from the rest of the pack. The mambo that followed was oh, so much fun for all parties involved. I love when Mel shakes her hips as she steps backwards, there’s something different in the way she moves that is less obvious than other dancers, which makes her moves more obvious. I don’t know. Anyway, it was a hot dance that had the judges hypnotized. And apparently when Maksim has fun on the dance floor, that means Melanie is doing her job, so well done, Mel.

Next week the remaining four couples will not only have the chance to choose what they will perform, but they also get to have their own private lessons with Len. Scary. That should be really interesting to see how those pan out, especially his time with Mel and Maksim. Gloria Estefan is scheduled to perform at tonight’s results show, we’ll see if she makes it this time. Fatima Robinson, award-winning movie choreographer, is also scheduled to appear. What I really can’t wait for is next week, when the Lord of the Dance, Michael Flatley, steps onto the Dancing stage. If I was listening correctly, Sabrina Bryan and boyfriend/former Dancing partner, Mark Ballas, will also be on the show next week, so all Sabrina fans better tune in for that.

That is all for now, my friends, so tune in tonight to find out who’s one step closer to disco ball trophy glory.

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