SAN DIEGO, May 5, 2014 – The most skilled competitors are battling it out on “Dancing With The Stars” as the semifinals arrive next week. It’s harder now to say goodbye to any of the competitors. With just six couples left, scores are critical and fan votes will make all the difference in who goes home.
But the judges and fans had to make the tough call. If you want to learn who it was, scroll to the end of the column.
“Dance Moms” instructor Abby Lee Miller was this week’s guest judge. Several of her young students were in the DWTS audience, and when host Erin Andrews asks the girls what they thought about her judging, they said they thought she would be meaner. Miller was plenty mean enough for several performers.
Derek Hough and Mark Ballas have both publicly criticized Miller in the past. But Miller praised their efforts; she had another target in her sights.
Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy channeled “A Streetcar Named Desire” in a drama filled Rumba, but the drama in the dance was nothing compared to the judging. After Miller criticized Meryl’s foot position, pro partner Maks Chmerkovskiy said, “I really don’t care for anything she has to say.” Snap. They still scored 36 points for the effort.
Meryl’s Olympic ice dancing partner Charlie White fared better. He and pro partner Sharna Burgess danced a sparkling Quickstep perfectly suited to his style and personality. It seemed the judges found a lot to criticize, but four tens popped up for a perfect score of 40.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough performed a breathtaking, creative, precise Argentine tango using a bar stool as a prop. The judges struggled to put into words how impressed they were with both the execution and the effort. Miller said to her girls in the audience, “I better never hear ‘I’m too tired, I’m hungry, I have homework.” Judge Bruno Tonioli said it had power, control, precision, and immersion into the character. It also had a perfect score of 40.
Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy also danced an Argentine Tango. It was a sultry routine reminiscent of the movie “Black Swan,” with striking costumes and makeup. When in hold it was razor sharp and beautiful. It was worthy of 38 points.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas continued her impressive comeback with an effervescent Foxtrot, perfectly in character for her. She seems to have a new confidence and it has improved her performance. She was rewarded with 36 points.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd danced a Viennese Waltz and while there were postive aspects, as with his routine last week, his feet were still awkward and he sticks his backside out too far, which was noted by the judges. Abby Miller gushed over hunky James. She crushed on him with 10 points, but the total was a sane 36 points.
The second routine for the stars this week was a new twist in the show: the “duel” (or is that “duo”) dances. Couples drew names and were paired together. As part of the routine, the two stars danced a middle section together; the routines started and ended with the couples side by side.
Two of the teams pleased the judges. Charlie White and Candace Cameron Bure made a surprisingly appealing couple, dancing a Contemporary routine that took advantage of Candace’s strength in executing lifts. The judges gave them 39 points.
The team featuring Amy Purdy and James Maslow also turned out to be a great match. Amy is the Queen of the Jive. She danced side by side with James in perfect sync; she also held her own side by side with Peta Murgatroyd. Once again, Derek Hough’s choreography was first rate. They scored 38 points.
Far less successful was the Samba patnership of Meryl Davis and Danica McKellar. For whatever reason whether lukewarm choreography, Danica’s injury, or perhaps overconfidence, the routine lacked the proper Samba bounce and flair. It scored 34 points
Left standing in jeopardy at the end were Danica and Val, James and Peta, and Cameron and Mark. All three have been there before and their scores were close. It was up to the fans, and the fans sent Danica and Val home.
The Week 8 Leaderboard:
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Argentine Tango, 40 points plus Jive duo, 39 points = 79 points
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Quickstep, 40 points plus Contemporary duo, 38 points = 78 points
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Viennese Waltz, 36 points plus Jive duo, 39 points = 75 points
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Foxtrot, 36 points plus) 35 point plus Contemporary duo, 38 points = 73 points
Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango, 38 points plus Samba Duo, 34 points = 72 points (ELIMINATED)
Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Rumba 36 points plus Samba Duo, 34 points = 70 points
“Dancing With the Stars” returns with “American Icons” theme week and choreographer Kenny Ortega as guest judge for the semifinals on Monday, May 12, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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