After tonight, the four final couples head to the finals on season 16 of “Dancing with the Stars.” And frontrunner Zendaya was bumped way down the score list, too.
The opening video montage makes it look like everyone got injured this week. People smacking into each other and painful groans. Cut to the live show and they’re all walking down the stairs, smiling. False alarm, folks. Nice try, DWTS.
The couples have two dances this week, and country singer Kellie Pickler and Derek are up first with an Argentine tango. It opens with them dancing silhouette against a red backdrop. Their footwork is sharp and controlled; their kicks and flicks are great. It’s a slinky, seductive number and they sustain that mood the whole time. She bends almost all the way back. Does Kellie have bones? With that brunette Cleopatra wig on, it’s easy to forget it’s Kellie.
Judge Len Goodman says, “Close the door, call me Mary, that was fantastic!” Judge Bruno Tonioli calls it pure perfection and compares Kellie to dance legend Chita Rivera. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba says it’s absurd Kellie obtained that level of perfection. Score: perfect 30 – Kellie’s first.
Kellie tweeted, “Yee-haw! Derek & I got three 10's for our Tango!! I hope y'all liked our dances tonight! #DWTS .”
Soap star Ingo Rademacher and Kym are up with a samba. After watching last week’s recap, I can’t help but wonder if the judges were extra generous with his scores to make sure “Bachelor” Sean Lowe got bumped out. As for the week, Ingo owns this dance and hits the steps hard. It’s active and entertaining, but there are a couple lulls in his choreography where he could have added extra movement or content. Bruno loves his determination, but says Ingo lost lightness with all the attack. Carrie Ann says he’s now the underdog who has to do a little better. Len liked it. Score: 24.
Olympian Aly Raisman and Mark have a rumba. It comes off a little contemporary, but that’s Mark for you. They make this dance looK fueled with tortured emotion. Aly stays in character and her lines are great. Carrie Ann says Aly was all woman and commends her maturity. Len says Aly has grown. Bruno calls it a performance level they haven’t seen from her. Score: perfect 30 – Aly’s first.
Random alert! Andy Dick is in the audience, applauding. He’s not wearing pants. And his daughter is sitting next to him.
NFL star Jacoby Jones and Karina have an Argentine tango. She whacked her jaw on him during rehearsal, but is okay. In their dance, this seems like a new Jacoby. He’s never been this focused and controlled. For having such long limbs, he does a great job with the fast kicks required for this dance. Their movements are beautiful and he really stepped up his game. Len says it was right on the money. Bruno calls it Jacoby’s best performance. Jacoby kisses Carrie Ann on the cheek and for her critique, all she can do is writhe around and rub her hands on herself. Score: perfect 30 – his first. Even Mama Jones holds up a 10 paddle.
Zendaya and Val are up with a quickstep. What a wild ballroom dance! It’s fast and freewheeling, great fun to watch, but slightly messy. Bruno loved the concept, but says they lost frame and footing a couple times. Carrie Ann also loved the concept, but says it was a mess. Len notes the good parts, but says their speed and attack were too much. Score: 25. After Zendaya and Val nailing dances week after week, I did not see this miscalculation in their choreography coming.
Time for the second round of dances, which are the styles that fans voted for on Twitter last week.
Since it’s the semIfinals, the show breaks out the tearjerker segments. We learn how Kellie came from a broken home. Her mother left her and her father was in prison, then she got her big break on “American Idol.”
For her second dance, fans gave Kellie and Derek the flamenco. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen on this show, and I’m not just talking about Derek’s weird outfit. Their mood and performance must be seen. Their control and movements are fascinating. The lines they create together and the attention to hand detail are crisp. There’s so much content, the dance shifts every five seconds. It’s full of attack, but completely controlled. Kellie breaks character briefly and smiles, enjoying herself too much. It ends with a wild spin, and she nails it. As far as Len is concerned, Kellie booked her place in the finals. Bruno loves it, but notes Kellie tightened up and lost the flow.
Paddlegate! Bruno accidentally holds up a 10 paddle, but he entered a 9. He clarifies it was a mistake and says he did score a 9. Score: 28, 58 overall.
Ingo and Kym are back with a Charleston. We learned he’s lived a pretty fun life, with idealistic parents who moved from Germany to live off the land in Australia, before he moved to L.A. and simply became a soap star and now kicks back in Hawaii. What a tragedy. Not. Anyway, their dance theme is Old Hollywood, and the Charleston suits his personality perfectly because it’s