Dancing with the Stars All Stars Live Recap: A Semifinals Tribute to the King of Pop (11/19/12)

The celebrity teams of Dancing with the Stars All Stars pay tribute to Michael Jackson with their interpretations of songs from the King of Pop’s “Bad” album.

With the season finale looming in the horizon, the five remaining teams battle it out in the semi-finals by performing two routines: one based on a theme chosen last week and another from Jackson’s album.

Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani start the competition with their performance of the “Caveman Hustle”, a theme that makes a debut in the show tonight. Len enjoyed the performance, noting that Melissa never fails to impress him. Bruno calls it a good performance despite some missed steps from Melissa. Carrie Ann finds the caveman performance better than the hustle especially since the timing for such was off.  The judges give the pair 27.5 points.

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough spice up the night with their interpretation of the “Knight Rider” Banghra. Ever wondered how it would look if a leather-clad David Hasselhoff takes on an Indian dance? Well, Shawn and Derek show us how. All the judges are impressed, with comments ranging from mega-hit and fantastic. The judges give the pair a perfect score of 30!

Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff challenge themselves with the tricks of “Big Top” Jazz as inspired by Gwen Stefani’s “What You Waiting For”. Although Carrie Ann admires the concept behind the routine, she doesn’t see any unity between the two themes which resulted to a sloppy performance. Len calls Apolo a champion. Bruno disagrees with Carrie Ann, calling the routine edgy and surreal with a great mixture of jazz. The judges give the pair 27 points.

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke get in the spirit of James Bond via their “Espionage” Lindy Hop routine. For this performance, Cheryl challenges her partner to use his acting chops. Len is a fan of the concept and energy behind the routine although he wishes the couple would have shown more Lindy Hop. Bruno calls it entertaining particularly since it looked like a Looney Tunes version of the famed 007 agent. Carrie Ann calls it the couple’s most animated performance to date; she’s satisfied that the couple pushed their limits. The pair gets 27 points.

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy get loose and fiery with a “Surfer” Flamenco routine. These two can give Shawn and Derek a run for their money tonight. However, the judges have trouble appreciating the routine based on its technical aspect. Bruno and Carrie Ann agree that although the aggression was there, they saw more paso doble vis-a-vis the flamenco. Bruno adds that the Kelly’s arm placement lacked the precision that the flamenco calls for. Len likes the routine, though, noting that it has verve and attack. The pair gets 25.5 points.

The second half of the show honors Michael Jackson as its “Bad” album celebrates its 25th anniversary. Each team performs a ballroom dance based on a song from the album. Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother, graces the show.

Melissa and Tony literally paint the town red with their Argentine Tango set to “Dirty Diana”. Melissa’s flips and turns are looking good! Len and Bruno are both rooting for Melissa to get in the finals, a comment which gets Melissa (and later on, Tony) very emotional. Bruno adds that Melissa’s lifts were extraordinary. Carrie Ann praises Melissa for successfully evoking power and sensuality at the same time; she lauds the celebrity for going beyond anything that the judge could imagine for her. The pair gets a perfect score tonight!

Shawn and Derek go sleek and “Bad” for their Argentine Tango. This couple never ceases to provide a good show. Bruno calls it a breath-taking performance, achieving the demands of the dance genre with perfect style. Although Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno on the technical aspect, she feels that the performance lacks real passion, intimacy and drama. Len lauds the couple for nailing the essence of the dance and effectively executing it. The couple gets 29 points.

Apolo and Karina heat up the stage with their rumba routine set to “Man in the Mirror”. With this performance, the couple aims to finally get their connection get through our TV screens. Carrie Ann calls this a perfect routine, one that exudes passion and impeccable movement (as opposed to Shawn and Derek’s routine); she adds that the couple’s performance has emotionally tugged her. Len likes the fact that he saw wave after wave of emotion with a good blend of subtlety that captivated him. Bruno praises Apolo for owning the dance and showing a perfect mix of sensuality and romance. The couple gets their first perfect score of 30 points.  

Emmitt and Cheryl swish their way across the dance floor as they tango to “Leave Me Alone”. Emmitt’s competitive nature oozes on screen, kudos to Chery’s masterful direction. All the judges agree that Emmitt’s footwork didn’t meet the demands of the tango. However, the judges praise him for going beyond his limits, considering that he practically had to take on three separate dance genre.  They like the elegance and power infused in the routine. The couple gets 27 points.

Kelly and Val close the show with the rumba on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” Val calls the song an appropriate tribute  to their “inner love” for each other. Bruno loves the chemistry between the two, calling it a smoldering dance driven by desire. Carrie Ann and Len agree with Bruno. The judges give the pair 28.5 points.

Tomorrow, two pairs will be eliminated. Don’t forget to vote for your favorites!

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