Wow. Best semifinal show I’ve seen thus far.
While none of it was truly shocking for me (as usual, the judges threw out every paddle lower than 8, and even Tom’s announcement about the voting wasn’t that earth-shattering), I was entertained at every moment – even Chad brought his A-game tonight! I think it was John who said it earlier, but I’m gonna agree – this is the strongest season of DWTS yet. It will definitely be interesting to see who comes out on top. I don’t think all’s said & done yet…it very well could come down to the freestyle, with as close as some of the scoring has been, and the quality of the dancing. But on with the predictions of who will make the final and who will fall short!
1.) Evan & Anna – I honestly vacillated between Nicole & Derek and these two for the top spot, but when it comes down to it, I think Evan’s slide into 2nd last week (and the rallying of his fans) and the power of the money spot this week will give him a slight edge over Nicole. It was definitely nice to see him finally open up this week, without losing any of the technical value of the performance…he’s finally managed to strike a balance. I did, however, notice that there was an awful lot of open work in his foxtrot – I’m a little surprised Len didn’t chide him a bit more for it. I think he definitely had the strongest solo work of the contestants tonight; that paso solo was right in his wheelhouse, and really showcased his skating spins & jumps, and I think they lucked out getting such a dramatic (and popular) song for their paso. I’m calling these two as a shoo-in for the finale, with Nicole & Derek close behind.
2.) Nicole & Derek – Is there any dance this girl CAN’T do? Each week, I’m just astounded at how FLUID she is – it was especially noticeable in her Argentine tango. Every move just flows effortlessly into the next, which is what I think takes her a step above the other contestants, who seem to struggle with continuity. And I’ve got a confession to make: I’m a HUGE Purple Rain fan. Definitely one of my top 10 favorite movies – so of course I adored the cha-cha homage to Prince. Agreed with Len – thought Nicole’s solo was a little less cha-cha and a little more fluff & fun – but all in all it was a fun, entertaining little ditty nonetheless. And I agree with Heidi about their eerie sense of synchronization – they never seem to fall out of step, even if Nicole loses balance a bit. If these two aren’t in the finale, it will be a huge, huge tragedy, and I’m pretty sure Heidi will send the producers some road kill in a box or something, hehe But I’m confident they’ll make it through, although I could see it coming down to them being in a faux “bottom 2” with Chad to create suspense.
3.) Erin & Maks – I think their paso tonight was the strongest I’ve seen Erin all season – no nerves, all attitude, high energy…I even enjoyed her solo work, despite what the judges said. The unfortunate thing is that I think she’d be in a 3-way tie with Evan & Nicole if she could overcome 2 things: her nerves, and her balance. I still see a certain “stutter” in her movements, like we did in her rumba last week, and I feel like she’s still getting incredibly nervous – which was really noticeable in her Viennese waltz. I almost feel as though the two are connected – she gets jerky and stutter-y when she gets really nervous. Thought the waltz choreo was pretty, but thought the whole walk to the stage and sit-down at the end took up too much time. I’m gonna call these two good for the finale, for the simple reason that, despite my disdain for Maks, I do think Erin deserves to be there – she’s progressed more than Chad in both ability and performance quality.
4.) Chad & Cheryl – I gotta hand it to Chad: he stepped up his game this week. It may not have been as noticeable as with the other 3 couples, but it was there. I found his waltz charming – it took me back to Michael Irvin’s waltz last season, which was a major turning point for me since I hadn’t been particularly fond of him up until that point – and Chad’s waltz had the same effect. Maybe not the most technically perfect or challenging, but it moved nicely, and had a soft, genuine feel to it. His samba could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse too – he gave it a pretty damn good try, considering that it is the hardest of the Latin dances. He actually moved, and did more than just let Cheryl dance around him…wasn’t crazy about his solo, but hey, it’s pretty hard to do a samba solo anyway. While I just don’t think he has the juice to overcome Erin (let alone Nicole or Evan) and make it to the finale, I am glad he will at least get to leave on a high note, rather than being booted off unceremoniously after two incredibly weak dances.
Can you believe there’s only one performance show left??? It feel like just yesterday I was in shock that Shannen got the boot so early and was praying for Kate to sent packing. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’m actually gonna miss Chad a bit – he may have annoyed me with his lazy dancing and hushed practice voice, but there was something strangely redeeming about him in the end. Oh well…at least football season is only a few months away, and for once I might actually be kinda excited to see my boys in blue square off against ol’ Ochocinco