Welcome to week nine of season twenty-four of Dancing with the Stars. Tonight is the semi-finals. We are down to the final four couples and by the time the episode concludes, we will know who the three finalists are. In terms of what the couples are tasked with tonight, it is once again two rounds of competition. The usual round one individual routine will be followed by the “Judges Challenge.” Each judge has been paired with one couple and will give them a challenge they must conquer during their routines. Calum Scott will be on hand to perform two of his songs (one during a dance by Artem & Witney) and Cheryl Burke returns to the ballroom to perform a routine from her tour. It is another jam packed episode folks!
Last Monday night, Bonner Bolton and his partner Sharna were eliminated. It was a long overdo exit, a sentiment that was even noted by head judge Len Goodman. It may have been something many were thinking, but people are feeling as though Len went over the top in being nasty in his critique of Bonner. Joining Bonner in jeopardy was Rashad & Emma. Hmm. Was that a real “in jeopardy” situation? Maybe. But again, with this show, I find that very difficult to believe. Regardless, it may have lit a big fire for Rashad fans to vote hard. It seems like the obvious choice to not make the finale is David but he has proven to have a big fanbase and even though his scores last week were on the low side, he could be a surprise finale participant, resulting in yet another surprising elimination tonight. We shall see.
Let’s take a look at last week’s poll results to see where MJ readers stand heading into tonight. It is very tight for favorite partnership with Normani & Val taking the lead with 39% and Rashad & Emma with 34%. Both David & Lindsay and Simone & Sasha have 13%. 50% of you loved Normani & Val‘s contemporary routine, with Rashad & Emma‘s jive earning 22%, David & Lindsay‘s waltz with 16%, and Simone & Sasha‘s foxtrot with 12%. How about for least favorite? 35% to David & Lindsay,32% to Simone & Sasha. With 24%, Normani & Val.
In round two (the trio round), Rashad & Emma‘s (w/Witney) argentine tango was the favorite with 42%. Normani & Val‘s (w/Alan) jive scored 41%. Simone & Sasha‘s (w/Brittany) paso doble took 13%. For least favorite, 60% voted for David & Lindsay‘s (w/Hayley) paso doble. 19% to Simone & Sasha and 18% to Normani. It is interesting to note that Rashad & Emma were the only couple not to earn double digit votes in either round for being the least favorite routine.
Last week’s episode earned a “B” grade. Now, onto your predictions for tonight’s elimination. 74% of you think David & Lindsay will be eliminated. 14% of you think it will be Simone & Sasha who just miss out on the finale. I am quite torn on this one because it looks like the hardest elimination to predict. My heart tells me to go with the majority and say David but my brain says his fanbase could result in the possible exit of any of the other three. I feel like in a situation where David is safe, Rashad is the safest to stay and it would be between Simone and Normani– though losing either one before the finale would be a huge shame. Suffice it to say, the final moments of tonight’s show will be quite interesting to watch unfold.
Tom and Erin welcome us to the show and introduce the semi-finalists, with an assist from our professionals. The judges challenge round is up first.
Judges Challenge Round
Normani & Val (Len Goodman) – Viennese Waltz
Len’s challenge- he wants twelve bars in hold in the viennese waltz.
What an odd song choice for that. But I did love the black and white shooting style we saw at home, minus Normani’s lovely red dress. It added to the feel of a very sultry dance. I think Len’s challenge was definitely met here. There was plenty of hold (for sure twelve bars) and the dance flowed and glided as a proper viennese waltz. I thought Normani looked gorgeous doing those twirls and everything seemed and looked right on point. It should be a stellar review from the judges. Looking forward to hearing Len’s critique. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Len loved the sweeping movement. He mentioned a little incident but says she did exactly what he asked for. Julianne calls it gorgeous and loved the concept. She saw the same little stumble as Len though. Bruno loved how sultry it was. He also mentioned the incident. Carrie Ann says that Normani is so good that a tiny mishap is something they all see. But she loves how Normani dances with no stopping- the movement continues.
Carrie Ann- 9
David & Lindsay (Julianne Hough) – Foxtrot
Julianne’s challenge- she wants his booty to not stick out.
Wow. Great job! He did the challenge- kept that bum nice and tucked through most of it with the exception of one little part but I doubt it made a different to Julianne. What I liked most about this was David’s confidence. He really seemed to shine with Lindsay’s choreography here. It was a fun, cheeky, old-school foxtrot and fit David perfectly. He should be proud because that was one of his better dances this season. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Julianne is proud. Bruno thought it was a joy. He says David isn’t the best dancer but he could watch him daily. Carrie Ann says the frame and posture was improved. Len says David is the boy that brings joy. He admired the footwork tonight. He can’t mark it great as a dance but his heart is telling him something different.
Carrie Ann- 9
Calum Scott is out to perform his song “Dancing On My Own” with a dancing assist from Artem and Witney. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Simone & Sasha (Carrie Ann Inaba) – Jive
Carrie Ann’s challenge- she wants four counts of eight in a solo.
That was a fun and well choreographed jive. Carrie Ann got her solo section as well. The kicks and flicks were strong and Simone was smiling (this time, it works) throughout. I have finally found my overall issue with Simone though. Because she is a gymnast, I always feel like the routines are just well choreographed pieces of homework for her. I never feel like they are really coming from an organic place. It is hard to describe but I would really like to see some of the emotion they show in her rehearsal packages come out in the dancing. Make no mistake, she is a brilliant dancer but that little something extra will really give her a fighting chance in the finale should she make it. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Bruno loved how Simone let herself go and nailed it. Carrie Ann says it warms her heart to see her tap into freedom during the dance. Len says it was sharp, precise, and her personality came out. Julianne agrees and wants Simone to embody another person while dancing and let Simone rest.
Carrie Ann- 10
Rashad & Emma (Bruno Tonioli) – Rumba
Bruno’s challenge- he wants Rashad’s hands and feet to be more controlled.
Lovely! Every couple really brought it in round one. Rashad was so masculine and strong here- really playing the dominating man in a rumba. It was romantic, sexy, and he had loads of hip action. I’ve never been one to really see what the judges harp on about with his feet and hands but they looked great to me tonight. Everything about that was played wonderfully- from the content to the dancing to the performance quality. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Carrie Ann loved the refinement. She felt it was passionate and artistic. Len enjoyed the light and shade of it. He compliments the fluidity. He mentions a few funny foot movement but Len says Rashad has tremendous dance talent. Julianne agrees with Carrie Ann. She loved Rashad’s partnering. Bruno says Rashad exceeded his expectations. He is all compliments on that one.
Carrie Ann- 9
Cheryl Burke is live in the ballroom to perform a sneak preview of a routine from her tour. I’ve missed Cheryl this season. She was a breath of fresh air last season, doing wonders with Ryan Lochte and I was really disappointed that she didn’t return for this go. But being on tour and putting together this show she has is the reason and it is understandable. A fab routine from one of the best dancers this show has had since day one. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Normani & Val – Jazz
As a poster mentioned last week, this show has such an odd relationship with the genre of jazz. But it is what it is. Anyways, this was a stellar routine for Normani. She was basically able to give a tour de force performance. She had moments with Val, a solo routine, it was fast, fun, energetic, it had a theme, and she looked and performed with confidence and pizzazz. One of my favorite pieces of Val choreography even though I would never label it an official jazz routine if I was one of those strict folks in the dance community. Let’s see how the judges speak on it. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Len gives Normani a standing ovation and says it was buckets of fun. Julianne calls Normani an absolute star. She loves Normani’s humility as well. Bruno called it hot, vibrant, and colorful. He loved it. Carrie Ann compliments the choreography and says Normani polishes it into a diamond.
You can vote for Normani by calling 1 800 868 3410 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 8PM Eastern the following day.
Carrie Ann- 10
David & Lindsay – Tango
Well, the tuck in the butt challenge worked in the first round, not so much here. Listen, I like David and this was a decent tango but it is so obvious that he is lacking in dance skill compared to the other three semi finalists. I know, I know- many people have made it all the way to the finale with less skill (Bill Engvall is a good example) but I’m not sure the others who are in the competition have ever been as exceedingly good as Simone, Normani, and Rashad. If David’s fans have put him in the finale, fine. But I personally think he should be proud of how far he has come and this should be the end of the line. Sorry for the bluntness. A decent tango though. Nothing amazing but decent. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Julianne says David is meant to be here and is a great dancer. She calls him “the show.” Bruno says David went into it like a torpedo in a tuxedo. Carrie Ann agrees and calls it his best dance yet. LIFT POLICE THOUGH. She calls the team heart and great dancing. Len says there have been better dancers on the show but no one has tried harder, worked harder, or given him more enjoyment than David.
You can vote for David by calling 1 800 868 3404 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 8PM Eastern the following day.
Carrie Ann- 9
Simone & Sasha – Rumba
I loved that. Truly. I saw maturity and organic dancing there that I haven’t seen from Simone. It was a wonderful piece choreographed by Sasha. A simple rumba, with all the right content and Simone nailed it. The hip action, the flowing movements, the extensions, everything was there. I think Simone took Julianne’s advice from round one and channeled another person during that because it was surely not the same Simone we would have seen do the rumba weeks ago. Great. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Bruno says Simone let the dance flow out of her. He calls it real and gorgeous. Carrie Ann says Simone danced with her soul tonight. She says Simone is going for the trophy. Len says there was nothing he didn’t like. Julianne found it beautifully and it was executed great.
You can vote for Simone by calling 1 800 868 3412 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 8PM Eastern the following day.
Carrie Ann- 10
Rashad & Emma – Quickstep
Haha. Great production value on that. I loved the whole “yes I can” with the girls and Rashad’s opening sequence in the boss’ office. What fun. Oh, yeah…the quickstep. LOL. Fast, in-sync, good posture, expressive, good character and performance value. Yep, ticked all the boxes for me. Great way to end the night and the semi finals. – Click to Watch Performance VIDEO
Carrie Ann calls the quickstep and Rashad a match made in heaven. Len thought the frame was lost a bit throughout and took too long to get started. He calls it good but not great. Julianne disagrees and gets into it with Len a bit. She thought it was brilliant. Len tries to chime in to disagree that Rashad was light on his feet but Julianne shuts him up. Bruno loved the sprinting and spring. He loved the sway too. He loved it.
You can vote for Rashad by calling 1 800 868 3411 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 8PM Eastern the following day.
Carrie Ann- 10
One final look at tonight’s leaderboard (Out of a total possible score of 80)
The following couples have made it to the finale: Normani & Val, Rashad & Emma
Eliminated from DWTS tonight:
Simone & Sasha
WOW. The judges all look like they are in unbelievable shock. Simone is smiling but she can tell she is surprised too. She is thankful and says she has matured. She says she will be back next week for the finale. You know, as many posters have said throughout the season, David has a major group voting for him and when it came down to it, Simone got lost in the shuffle. Did fans feel like they already had an Olympian victorious last season, so they opted not to vote hard? Who knows…we can debate it for a long time. Suffice it to say, it will be a shame not seeing Simone compete for the championship. But congrats to David and his fans. This finale is going to be very interesting. An underdog in David Vs. A crowd pleasing star in Rashad Vs. an epic dancing diva in Normani. Oh boy. – Click to Watch Elimination VIDEO
Next week is the two night season finale. A one-hour show on Monday with the freestyles and then a 90 minute grand finale on Tuesday.
A brand new POLLS thread is minutes away from going up (be sure to check it out and vote) and I’ll be back with you guys a week from tonight for night one of the two night season finale.