Well, I was on a train late last night and missed watching the Dancing With the Stars semis on TV. Now I realize how hard the show makes it for you to catch re-runs. Geesh. Rickey doesn’t have everything posted, so I went to YouTube, and they have most of the competition routines, but the sound quality is crap and subtitles (in, for example, Gilles’s visit to his hometown, Cannes, with the French interviews with his mother and friends) are cut off. And they didn’t have the full episode. The YouTube clips re-direct you to this website, but once there, they just keep making you take these ridiculous quizzes, telling you, eventually the site will be unlocked. Well, it never unlocked for me — instead they redirected me to more and more quiz websites. I hope that site’s not a scam that unleashes some kind of virus or something. Anyway, people beware: don’t try to watch re-runs on watchdancingwithstars.com.
Anyway, I at least saw the routines. I only saw the bio on Gilles. Were there bios on the rest of the competitors? If not, that’s kind of silly, interesting as his little trip to Cannes was.
So, semis consisted of: Mark and Shawn dancing Jive and Argentine Tango; Melissa and Tony Quickstep and Cha Cha; Ty and Chelsie Samba and Viennese Waltz; and Gilles and Cheryl Salsa and Waltz (although one YouTube clip called it a Quickstep).
My favorites were Mark and Shawn’s Argentine Tango and both dances by Melissa and Tony.
In the intro to the semifinalists, the show’s announcer referred to Melissa as “the girl next door,” but to me, she looked just like a Hollywood movie star out there, in both dances — like Rita Hayworth. Seriously. She actually outshone Tony. You don’t see many amateurs outshine the pros. The Quickstep was downright breathtaking and that Cha Cha, from the opening splits to the quick swiveling cha chas to the sassy walks circling around him, was just so glamorous. It wasn’t a booty-shaking sexy Cha Cha the kind Lil Kim would have done, but it was pure glamour, like a Carmen Miranda kind of Latin, or how Ginger or Rita would have danced Latin with Fred. I’ve never felt so much like the judges had their heads shoved completely up their anusus. I’m sorry, but seriously. Unless YouTube makes things look radically different than TV…
And my other favorite was Mark and Shawn’s Argentine Tango. Shawn did so well. Funny, I would have thought with her being a gymnast, she’d be better at Jive and Samba and the bouncier dances, but she excels at those dramatic dances that require all the high-armed shaping and long extensions and passionate acting, like Paso and A. Tango. In her Jive, Mark again outshone her, and although she did very well, there just wasn’t sufficient spark, but she came through on her A. Tango. Those lifts were gorgeous. She looked like a balletic Argentine Tanguera. Like Guillermina Quiroga. And of course Mark as always is all character … I don’t know how I was ever truly entertained by this show before he was on.
I thought Ty, surprisingly, looked stiff and nervous in the Viennese Waltz. I say surprisingly because he usually does well in Standard. He held his neck and head very awkwardly and he just looked scared out there. It wasn’t smooth and soft. But his Samba, equally surprisingly, I thought was much better. His voltas were all wrong — way way too much bounce; it looked like he was actually hopping — but once he was in close handhold with Chelsie, he was actually pretty good. Most men are the opposite: they’re better dancing solo. The promenade runs and the Samba rolls were very good. Whatever dance he’s doing — and however wrong his hip action, etc. might be — he is always a very strong, solid partner. And that says a lot about a male ballroom dancer.
It seems Gilles is definitely the crowd favorite — although Melissa did get two standing ovations as well. Gilles really brought it all out this week in the Waltz, but I thought the Salsa was lacking. Unlike Ty, Gilles did well on his own, with the shoulder shakes and booty rolls. But when he connected with Cheryl he seemed to be dancing too low down, with knees too bent (maybe to make his size more akin to hers) and his movement seemed to lack spark. I have no idea what the judges were going on about. Len said he needed a paddle with “11” written on it and Carrie Ann acted like a school girl spending what seemed to be minutes hooting and howling. Their Waltz was gorgeous though. Cheryl looked like a bride in that beautiful ivory ballgown and Gilles was her perfect gentleman. He emanated sophistication and polish, but somehow he was also sexy, but in a high-backed prim and proper tux and tails kind of way.
Still, Melissa’s overall my favorite to win the show. Judging by audience reaction and by what people are saying online, I think next week’s finale is going to be a showdown between Gilles and her, though of course you never know.