by Kylene Hamulak
(Due to technical difficulty, tonight's Dancing With the Stars: All Stars recap will begin with a shortened intro. And it's not just because I'm too lazy to write a full intro. Technical difficulty actually sent the show direct to commercial for the first five minutes.)
When we're back to the dance floor, the seven couples are in the ballroom ready to dedicate their routines to our Veterans. After their solo routines, the pairs will perform in trios with a previously eliminated dancing pro or a member of the troupe. You know what that means? TRISTAN!
Let's get to the dancing so we can get to the trios!
Team: Shawn and Derek
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Derek is back with Shawn, and I'm a little disappointed - I actually prefer her with Mark. Shawn's challenge this week is to show emotion, and I'd like to add that an additional challenge will be for her not to show more skin than she intended - our little gymnast is certainly getting grown up with these costumes! The dance is beautiful and graceful, but it also seemed very short. Judges said:
9.5 - Len says, "Sometimes a whisper is louder than a shout." He would've liked a little more in hold, but he thought it was poignant and gentle and fabulous.
10.0 - Bruno calls it "heavenly perfection." He thinks her shapes and figures were exquisite.
10.0 - Carrie Ann felt something very magical happen in the ballroom and thinks Shawn has grown from a ball of energy into a very graceful performer.
Team: Apolo and Karina
Apolo is feeling a little frustrated with the 9's he's been getting despite how hard he's trying, but Karina tells him she thinks "judging is very subjective." Wow, really Karina? It's funny you think that, considering that's kind of, you know, THE DEFINITION. But anyway, Apolo doesn't want to play it safe anymore, so they've added a zip line to the routine. He literally zips over the ballroom to the opposite end of the floor to "rescue" Karina. Personally, I think it's an unnecessary trick that added nothing to their dance (which was strong anyway). Judges said:
10.0 - Bruno yells, "Go for it, Apolo!" and calls it a daredevil of a Tango. He loved it.
10.0 - Carrie Ann loved it too, and she excitedly tells them that their action film is the one she wants to see.
9.5 - Len says Apolo is his hero, and the routine was a full-on attack. "It was great, well done."
Team: Kirstie and Maks
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Maks refers to their partnership as "The Little Engine That Could," saying that Kirstie has improved more than anyone else on the show, but they've also put in a lot of effort to get there. Lots of times, I give Kirstie credit for trying and for being entertaining, but not often for being a technically good dancer. Tonight's routine is graceful and beautiful, and not just using the Kirstie standard. Judges said:
9.0 - Carrie Ann calls it one of Kirstie's best dances and says it was beautifully done.
9.0 - Len declares, "Your best dance - well done!"
9.0 - Bruno thinks it was very stylish and very nice and very well done.
Team: Kelly and Val
Dance: Viennese Waltz
In the ongoing soap opera of Kelly and Val, this week Kelly is very frustrated by her rehearsals. Their Waltz looks beautiful on the dance floor, but their routines are starting to get monotonous for me. Judges said:
9.0 - Len thinks it flowed nicely, but felt some of the movements were a little sharp at times. Like Carrie Ann, the audience does not agree and boos him loudly. "I have my standards," he says, "and she has none."
9.5 - Bruno calls Kelly a "twinkling twirler."
9.5 - Carrie Ann loves that she always feels that Kelly is pushing herself to the edge. (I'd agree with that, but it wouldn't hurt for her to relax a little bit and have some fun once in a while.) "You are growing every week, and that emotional commitment was beautiful."
Team: Gilles and Peta
Dance: Quick Step
In an effort to combat their recent slide down the leader board, Gilles has set his goal for perfect scores this week. Aim high, Gilles. He's willing to do what it takes to get it right, and that apparently includes having Peta tape his arms into position during rehearsal. I'm always a fan of Quick Step and usually a fan of Gilles, so I liked their routine, particularly the jump up to salute at the end. Judges said:
10.0 - Bruno calls Gilles' dancing, "fast, slick, efficient!" He loved the variation in the middle, and says Gilles was "technically Top Gun!"
9.5 - Carrie Ann doesn't agree - she thinks it was ALMOST Top Gun, but says there were a few slips in his feet. The audience is booing her now.
10.0 - Len says, "This wasn't cupcakes and ice cream, this was thunder and lightning!" Thanks, Len. Now I'm hungry for cupcakes.
Team: Emmitt and Cheryl
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Emmitt is at a tough point in the competition and finds inspiration in the words of old teammate Darryl Johnston, who knows all about his competitive spirit. After talking to him, Emmitt decides that someone has to win, so it might as well be him. Their performance is very nice, and I personally liked the staging and "love letter" effects, which I thought enhanced their dance. Judges said:
9.0 - Carrie Ann thinks it was smooth and effective, but she also thinks he slipped, and she'd rather see him push himself with more difficult routines.
9.5 - Len says, "This man puts the ‘oooo' in ‘smooth.'" He has points out some things he'd like to see worked on, but overall he liked it.
9.5 - Bruno calls the routine "smart, it was very classic." Overall, he thinks it was very nice.
Team: Melissa and Tony
Dance: Quick Step
Melissa and Tony are not content BEING on top of the leader board - they also want to stay there. Dressed like sailors, I feel like the Quick Step is a perfect dance for this pair. They're always high energy, and Melissa matches Tony step-for-step. The audience loves it. Judges said:
10.0 - Len says, "It was a Quick Step! That was what we got! It was quick, there were lots of steps." It might be hard to determine if that's a good review or not, so Len continues, "That was the bee's knees." So....good! (I think?)
10.0 - Bruno compares the dance to watching Ann Miller and Gene Kelly in "On the Town." (In case you're not familiar, that's also good!)
10.0 - Carrie Ann begins by saluting the pair, and says they're on fire with two great performances in a row.
The second round of performances tonight will feature our All-Star pairs and their new partners, chosen to enhance their performances.
Team: Shawn and Derek and Mark
It's not really a surprise that Shawn and Derek have brought Mark in to dance with them - they already sort of did the trio thing last week, thanks to Derek's injury. They're working on choreographing the Samba as a tribal dance, which Shawn isn't sure she's comfortable doing. The routine looks like something out of The Lion King stage show, and it's really well done, but the nontraditional elements were kind of a risk when it comes to judging. Judges said:
7.0 - Len admits that if he was sitting in the audience, he would be cheering too. He's not, though, and as a judge, he is critical about the lack of Samba content and calls it self-indulgent.
9.0 - Bruno says, "As a piece of art, it was absolutely fantastic." Even so, he does admit it wasn't really a Samba. (Tom piped in that there was a lot of Simba, and I really appreciated the joke.)
10.0 - Carrie Ann disagrees completely because she's just like that. She says there wasn't a lot of Samba, but what there was was executed to perfection. (I made a note to myself - if I'm ever on DWTS, I'll do the least amount of dancing possible, and just make sure those two steps I DO do are done perfectly.)
Team: Apolo and Karina and Sasha (Troupe Dancer)
The tactic here was to bring in another male dancer who could help bring Apolo's level of skill up. The rehearsals are a little scary, but their Grease-themed Jive is a lot of fun. Sure, Apolo is no pro, but he holds his own on the floor, and they're able to get their trickiest trick off without a hitch. Judges said:
10.0 - Bruno tells Apolo that he took a huge risk by bringing in a pro he would have to mirror, but he really conquered it. "You've done a fantastic job tonight."
9.5 - Carrie Ann says she's never seen Apolo shine brighter and thinks it was one of his best, most vibrant performances.
9.5 - Len says "It was fast, it was sharp, it was tight, and it was together - that's what you want in a Jive."
Team: Kirstie and Maks and Tristan
Dance: Paso Doble
Kirstie's reasoning behind choosing their trio dancer was that Tristan and Maks are similar heights and are both hot. That's pretty logical to me. The group is dressed like angels, complete with giant wingspans, and Kirstie seems to be having a great time getting intense on the dance floor. Judges said:
8.0 - Carrie Ann loves the theme, costumes, presentation, and Kirstie's choice in men, but she thought the dance was a little sloppy.
8.0 - Len thinks it had good aggression and attitude, but lacked finesse.
8.0 - Bruno says it was a surreal interpretation and could have been more refined as a Paso Doble.
PS - Is Kirstie drunk? She's acting like Diane Sawyer on Election Night.
Team: Kelly and Val and Louis
Kelly chose Louis to join her team because he has taught so many of the pros, and she thought he would be able to help her. You know what else is helpful if she's concerned about votes? Anytime Val takes off his clothes, which he does about 8 steps into the routine. Then Louis's shirt goes flying, and Kelly does a belly flop onto the desk in front of Len and...and...what the hell just happened? Judges said:
9.5 - Len says, "It had the F factor: it was fun, it was fast, it was flamboyant, and it was fabulous."
9.5 - Bruno loved it too, particularly pointing out a sequence where Kelly was "leading" the guys.
9.5 - Carrie Ann notes how difficult it is to switch between partners, but she thinks Kelly handled the transitions seamlessly.
Team: Gilles and Peta and Chelsie
The routine this trio has come with features Chelsie and Peta fighting for Gilles' attention. It's a fun routine that gives Gilles a lot of opportunity to show off his own Salsa skills, and he does a good job switching between his partners as well. Judges said:
9.5 - Bruno, though he enjoyed the show, points out a couple of instances where Gilles lost timing in the routine.
9.5 - Carrie Ann agrees, and thinks his musicality was off, though she does commend him for taking control of the dance floor.
10.0 - Len didn't see anything to complain about, and he says rather than hiding behind his partners, Gilles was "out there, doing it....It was full on, right there - well done."
Team: Emmitt and Cheryl and Kym
When Kym joins Emmitt and Cheryl to rehearse their trio routine, Emmitt starts doing math: four arms, two heads, two bodies....that's a whole lot of body parts for him to have to lead! Cheryl and Kym look great in the routine, and Emmitt stays in control as they move around the dance floor. Judges said:
10.0 - Carrie Ann tells Emmitt that instead of being in the safety zone, "This time you're in the red hot, spicy jalapeno, SALSA ZONE!"
10.0 - Len says, "It was like working two yo-yos at the same time!" and he calls it a knock-out.
10.0 - Bruno notes that the Salsa is smooth and easy and should happen as if naturally, "and that's exactly how you do it, you do it naturally."
Team: Melissa and Tony and Henry (Troupe Dancer)
Dance: Paso Doble
Melissa will be playing a dominatrix in the Paso Doble with Tony and Henry, and she believes the key to their performance is nailing that character. As she's yelling on the dancefloor, she's definitely into it, and the routine is tight, powerful, and aggressive. Judges said:
10.0 - Len says Melissa moved seamlessly between Tony and Henry. "You were like a Frisbee!" and then tells her that, of all the celebrities, she has impressed him the most.
10.0 - Bruno calls her a "jaw-dropping, whip-cracking, Queen Bee."
10.0 - Carrie Ann agrees with the others, and tells her, "You OWNED that Paso."
After two weeks of dancing, our All-Stars will be facing a double elimination in this week's results, and all of the scores - two weeks of solo performances, plus the dance marathon and trio routines - mean there are a lot of points up for grabs even before the audience votes are added in. It could be a very interesting results night, and I'm not even going to try to predict who will be in danger.
Tune in tomorrow - not just to find out which All-Stars will bow out of the competition, but also to see a special performance by my favorite dancing newsboys - the cast of Broadway's Newsies!
Catch Dancing With The Stars Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC!
(Image courtesy of ABC)