Hey “Dancing With The Stars” fans! It’s the Hemi-Demi-Semi-Finally! …er, Finale. After another fun masquerade-ball group number choreographed by Mandy Moore, only five couples remain, and they have an intriguing task to fulfill tonight: Each couple must do two different choreographies and dance styles, but to the same piece of music.
This challenge is more for the musicians of Harold Wheeler’s in-house band than for the contestants, since the musicians are providing the alternate interpretation and arrangement. But it’s still a cool concept, and of course, it affects how the dancers move.
I’ve been thinking about the music a lot this season, because I’m torn about the fact that they’ve been using the band less. In many ways, I appreciate their use of original recordings, though they could be better about crediting them, and I’ve never been a big fan of the DWTS singers. But I’m also a huge proponent of using live musicians for live performances whenever feasible, so the fact that they’re limiting the use of these talented musicians after 16 seasons makes me sad. Tonight’s challenge is an interesting way to highlight the musicians.
We also see the return of Maksim Chmerkovskiy as a surprisingly lenient judge, and we learn a little more about the finalists tonight. A package about each contestant’s life journey tells us of the hardships and challenges they faced growing up. None more so than Jack, who brought tears to everyone’s eyes (especially his poor mom, Sharon). He’s been through so much already, and he’s still a very young person.
But with, well, slightly further ado, I want to warn you before revealing my top five dances this week: I did not always agree with the judges. (Shocker.) With at least two of the contestants, I liked their first dance better than their second, while the judges said the opposite. And another shocker, my Top Five are almost all tangos:
Corbin and Karina’s Tango: Wow! That is lightning fast, and super exciting. He moves his body so beautifully, and the routine is clean, sharp, and very difficult. Great showmanship, too. Magical and fantastic!
Amber and Derek’s Jazz: Great song, smart choreography, and strong execution in a fun routine. The only problem is they’re not quite together, and that choreography demands extreme precision and exact unison. How the judges didn’t notice that is beyond me. BTW, have I mentioned lately how much I love Derek Hough?
Leah and Tony’s Argentine Tango: The final lift is labored, and she’s still a little stiff and insecure, but she has nice leg movements and is sexy.
Jack and Cheryl’s Argentine Tango: YES! You all know I have a weak spot for Argentine tango, but this is fantastic. Of course, we all knew it would be this “Moulin Rouge” version of the song; it’s as classic as the original at this point. But this routine has great choreography, they’re both totally sexy, and he’s very strong. He really has great lines, and consistently gives it everything he’s got.
Bill and Emma’s Argentine Tango: Yes, another tango, but it’s also well done. Granted, most of it is Emma dancing around Bill, but he supports her well and performs his part with gusto. I dig Noah’s arrangement of the song too, and I agree with Carrie Ann again: it’s great to see Bill do a serious piece, and not incorporate a silly concept or goofy character.
While tonight’s elimination isn’t quite as shocking as the last several weeks, it’s still surprising that Bill sticks it out again. As much as I love him as a performer and a person, I will be disappointed if he wins. I honestly don’t think he will win—but I also didn’t think he’d make it this far.
While I personally would choose Corbin for the win, I’m not sure he will. My money is on Amber for the popular vote, but Jack could win because he’s such an inspiration. Either way, it’s going to be a tight race.
How about you, dance fans? What are your predictions for who might take home the trophy next week? What did you think of Maks’s judging? And did you get a load of Len being sexy? That’s a side of him we don’t often see.