It’s American Icons Night (is that a thing?) and also The Semi Finals! Renowned choreographer Kenny Ortega, known for his work with Michael Jackson, and on movies like Dirty Dancing, and High School Musical, is in the house, and Bruno is much happier than he was with his neighbor last week. Erin asks him what his standard is for the dances? He just wants everyone to surrender to one another, enjoy themselves, and take him to a place he’s never been. Jinkies! That was oddly specific.
There was a weird vibe in the air all night as our three Olympians spent the episode In Jeopardy–Amy and Derek, Charlie and Sharna and Meryl and Maks have been favored all season, but it’s come to this. Oh, and the Macy’s Stars of Dance Tribute to Hollywood was amazing, but don’t ask me for a written description, because all I can come up with is “twirly!” and “spins and flips!” I’m not very good at this. Each pair had two full dances tonight, as well as the chance to meet with or speak to their personal icon. You won’t be surprised at the one who did not put in any actual facetime.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas Her personal icon is Angela Thomas, a bible teacher and author. They sort of gush over each other and conclude that Candace is always performing for an audience of one. In other news this week, Mark is British. It happens every once in a while with him.
Viennese Waltz (34) It’s clear he’s coaching her through the whole thing, even more so after a stumble. Her acting isn’t bad, but her dancing was just so-so, like she was a little lost throughout. Len brings up pressure, and says there were one or two mistakes, but he liked her footwork on the reverse turns and thought it was great. Kenny says she’s been blowing him away with her determination every week, and admires her trust in Mark even when she was lost. Bruno urges her to cover her mistakes better on her face. Carrie Ann thinks the error is inspiration to come back in her second routine.
Jazz (38) to “Nasty” by Janet Jackson. Their synchronization is strong, very Fosse. Len calls it crisp, clean, tight and together as well as unexpected. Kenny says it reminded him of great Broadway Ladies of days past. Bruno gives them credit for mixing styles. Carrie Ann wanted a bit more attitude, but was blown away all around.
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess
His personal icon is Scott Hamilton. Man, he’d be fun on this show. He urges versatility and for Charlie to try to create laughter and emotion.
Foxtrot (40) to “New York New York”, is very Fred and Ginger, It also marks the return of Charlie’s cane, which is perilously close to getting its own twitter. There are also hankies as props, and a big skating sequence at the end to showcase the gold medalist. Kenny calls it indescribably delightful. Bruno says it went from Astaire to Barishnikov. Carrie Ann calls it brilliant in between smacking herself. Len gets to the point: “Just right tonight, Charlie White.”
Samba (36) to “Mo Money Mo Problems” (complete with hilarious white guy pronunciation during practice). I never thought it would work as a samba, but it really does. And the samba rolls were epic. Kenny thought it was clean, precide and committed but lacking in funk. Bruno agrees with Kenny. Carrie Ann calls it flat footed. Len says he deserves to be in the finals.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough
Her icon is Oprah, who calls during rehearsal and says she’s been calling in her votes for Amy. Isn’t that just downright quaint of her! I think we all know that someone’s entire job is calling in all of Oprah’s reality show voting preferences. It can take hours.
Quickstep–(39) Amy wears running feet for this one. It’s impressive, as all her dances are, but it doesn’t blow me away. Bruno says his jaw was dropping on the desk. He loved the speed, variety and something called “floorcraft”. Carrie Ann mentions Amy’s athlete status. Len thought it was light and bubbly, but calls out for more body contact and better posture. Kenny simply talks about his mother’s birthday. Seriously.
Jazz (39) to “Too Darn Hot”. It’s cool and innovative, but relys a lot on a desk. Bruno calls it too darn good. He’s stunned by their creativity. Carrie Ann gets booed for pointing out a timing issue. Len salutes them both with a standing O. Kenny Ortega says Derek has redefined choreography for this generation, avoiding saying anything about Amy’s dancing for a second time.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd
His icon is Michael Jackson, but since he’s dead, L.A. Reid stops by to chat.
Cha cha (40) to “Love Never Felt So Good”. It was kind of mesmerizing, probably at least partially because I’m a little obsessed with the song right now. Paul Anka, another American Icon, is in the audience as the song’s co-writer. Carrie Ann says it is hard to pull off an MJ homage, but he did it just right. Len calls it a fantastic blend of MJ influence and cha cha content. Kenny calls it electrifying. Bruno calls it effortlessly cool, then does a “Bad” crotch grab, as only he can.
Rumba (36) to “Islands in the Stream”. It’s kind of hot, especially given the song. Carrie Ann compliments his hip motion and extension and thanks him for listening to their comments each week. Len says his hands aren’t expressive enough, but says his legs were straigher and stronger than last week. Kenny calls it stylish and sexy. Bruno agrees on the fine details and extension.
Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy
Kristy Yamaguchi is her icon. Try to contain your shock and surprise.
Jive (40) to “Hounddog” is strong as ever, but there seems to be a little less joy, knowing they might get tossed. Len calls it fantastic. Kenny says everything from kicks and flicks to synchronization were perfect. Bruno calls it sylistically impeccable. Carrie Ann says it didn’t need an ornate costume to create movement, since hers are so strong. Maks kisses everybody, then dances around like Elvis all hopped up on peanut better and nanner sandwiches.
Viennese Waltz (40) Incredible and lyrical. She’s just stunning to watch. Len says there’s was no playing safe, and he loves that. Kenny says it was full of power, grace and syncronization. Bruno calls it grand and cinematic, namechecking the movie Giant, which Maks seems to get but Meryl has no idea. Carrie Ann says they were fantastic and they better not go home.
After Amy and Derek are saved, It’s Charlie versus Meryl to go to next week. Charlie and Sharna are sent home and everyone’s shocked. So much for my redemption theory, huh? EJ and I will both be back to tackle the two night finale next week! See you then!