This is priceless. A must see!!
I’m a happy girl for two reasons – most of you can probably guess the first: Bill & Emma made the finale The second? Leah & Tony did NOT make the finale, which I find myself even more thankful for after witnessing yet another night of Leah dancing like she’s made of glass. Did she do the steps and stay on-time? Sure. But I wasn’t excited or entertained by her dancing, and the choreography she was given wasn’t exactly hard-hitting or particularly challenging…which is funny, because the way she & Tony were acting, you would think they were dancing at a Nicole Scherzinger level of difficulty. But alas, the judges finally seemed to call attention to her cautious performances, and ultimately she got sent home. Darn, guys – I know you are all as disappointed as I am that we won’t get to see J.Lo & Chelsea Handler in the audience again
As for Maks judging – I’d say he was definitely much better than Cher, but maybe not quite as constructive as Julianne. Chalk it up to nervousness or whatnot, but he seemed to ramble a bit – then again, at least the rambling was mostly praise and support for the couple he was critiquing. And much like Julianne & Cher, he tended not to rock the boat a whole lot in terms of scores – there were a couple deviations here and there, but I don’t think they’re going to matter much in the great scheme of things. I know, Amber & Derek fans, you’re pissed about the “9″ he gave them for their jazz – but really, it’s one point amongst 350 that were given out last night, and her score was near-perfect. Was it petty of him? Maybe. But is it going to affect the outcome of the competition? Likely not. I’m big into being selective about what I get upset about these days
On the whole, I think we got the best group of finalists we could ask for – we’ve got a high level of skill (Corbin), a high level of entertainment (Amber), a guy who’s really improved (Jack), and a funny guy that just seems to appeal to the masses (Bill). There’s a little something for everybody, and I feel like all the couples left genuinely like each other and there’s not an ounce of bad blood between any of them, celeb or pro. I’m calling this the “feel-good finale”, because it’s the first time in a long time (possibly EVER) that I don’t really care who wins – I’d be fine with any of the four walking away with the trophy. Sure, I’d love to see Bill hoist that trophy, but I know that it’s not likely to happen, and I’m just thankful that he’s gotten this far
1.) Amber & Derek – I’m giving Amber a slight edge over Corbin this week, simply due to cleanliness – both of her routines were near flawlessly executed, with a lot of synchronization in her jazz in particular. I really enjoyed it, although I knew right off the bat that at least one of the judges (likely Len) was going to bitch about “too much sitting down” – to be fair, the opening section, as cool as it was, was really more of a hip-hop/tutting section than it was jazz, and I think that’s why Len just couldn’t really process it…even if he did think it was as cool and visually stimulating as I found it to be. But it was a clever way for Derek to keep Amber off those injured knees, so I appreciated it, and once they finished it they did move into some more traditional jazz choreography. I thought their Viennese waltz was very pretty, if not a tad repetitive – but then again, I’d rather take well-executed & repetitive over the “barely moving, dancing on eggshells” vibe I got from Leah & Tony. I still think these two will be one of the last two standing with Corbin, but I’m not really sure which direction the odds are going to tip in – I think it could hinge upon the freestyle.
2.) Corbin & Karina – Two potentially perfect routines from these two last night – but the first one seemed to suffer from “excited puppy syndrome” and I think they may have tried to jam-pack a little too much into their tango, as it seemed to get a little hectic & sloppy at times. Loved the theme and mood – but the execution wasn’t quite there. Several frame issues, a couple bobbles on some dips and and trick moves – I’m just hoping that they can resist the urge to pack too much into their freestyle, because I could see them having similar problems…and I think it really could come down to the freestyle this season. Their rumba was much better, and I’m thinking the slower pace allowed Corbin to really focus more on the technique and overall performance, which was beautiful & haunting. I love Karina’s rumbas As I said before, I still think it’s going to come down to these two and Amber & Derek in the final two, and it may come down to who has the better freestyle – Amber may have the edge there by virtue of having Derek, but I think Corbin may have the edge in that he isn’t injured and can do a bit more than Amber. Will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
3.) Jack & Cheryl – As I was watching Jack dance last night, I found myself saying “I’m gonna be really, really disappointed if this guy does not make the finale.” And this is coming from someone that has rooted for Bill all season long – after Jack had danced his 2nd dance, I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably was not going to get both Jack & Bill in the finale, and was ready to forego having Bill if it meant Jack could stay, because he really has had a lovely journey this season. And the best part: Cheryl’s been there with him every step of the way. I seriously think Jack was what the doctor ordered for Cheryl – seeing her in tears last night after dancing with him showed me that she’s got a newfound investment in the show, but also that she does have feelings…feelings that had been hard to see underneath a perceived indifference I saw from her the past few seasons. But all that aside – I think Jack had a pretty good night last night. While his jazz wasn’t my favorite (likely because Jack is just downright MAJESTIC in-hold, and this was predominantly open work), he still looked really invested in it, and I did enjoy some of the lifts. His Argentine tango was the dance of the night for me – once again, Jack comes alive in-hold, and really seems to lead Cheryl; and those lifts were both creative and well-executed. Even his footwork was looking sharp and on-point…and I loved every moment of it I think Corbin & Amber probably have 1st and 2nd place on lock this time, but I’m hoping that Jack really gets the chance to wow us with a freestyle to pull out 3rd place.
4.) Bill & Emma – What can I say about Bill & Emma that I haven’t already been saying all season? He just makes me smile when he dances It’s not about technique or rhythm when I watch him dance – it’s all about how invested in the dance he is, despite any difficulties he’s having with the technical aspects of the dance. Was his cha-cha off-time? Sure. But it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it. I actually thought his Argentine tango was kinda impressive, though – he had some nice leg lines and handled the lifts and the character of the dance well, and I have to commend Emma for some Derek-esque cleverness in choreographing a good portion of the dance around a chair, since Bill was fighting with a groin injury. I’m both shocked and thankful that they made the finale (even though I know the Rioters are a force to be reckoned with ;-)), and I’m actually really looking forward to what Emma pulls out for a freestyle. I think I read somewhere on Twitter last night that this is the first time since Lacey in season 7 that a first-time pro has made the finale – cool to see some new blood showing off their freestyle skills. I doubt Bill & Emma can hope for much more than 4th place, but at least we get to see them dance one last time and they get to say they’re finalists
So what did you guys think of last night’s show? Did the right people make it into the finale?
Maks Chmerkovskiy flew to New York last night so he could talk about judging Dancing With The Stars on Good Morning America. He comments how judging wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be, but, he tried to be fair and as true to himself as he could be. You can also watch Leah and Tony in this interview talking on their departure….
Also, People.com is featuring a new article with Karina Smirnoff talking of his judging. Below is a little take for what she said at Mixology last night for how he did a “superb job”.
“He did a superb job,” Smirnoff, 35, raved to PEOPLE at an after party for the show at Mixology 101 in L.A., right after learning she’d be in next week’s finals. “He’s been on our side as a dancer. He knows how much work we put in and how many hours of rehearsals it takes. I was looking forward to him being the Maks that we all know who doesn’t have a lot of filter, but he was actually very nice. I don’t know [why he was being nice], but I liked it. I’ll take that Maks over the other Maks any day.”
Added Bleu, 24, “He ended up giving constructive criticism and yet he also ended up telling everybody an incredible compliment about themselves.”
So, for fun, let’s get your thoughts and some numbers. In the new Polls below, grade how you think Maks did as a judge on Dancing With The Stars last night! Also, would you like to see him judge Dancing With The Stars again? Let us know how you voted in comments.
As always, let’s go straight to the interviews after dance night. First up, JC Rubio of Afterbuzz TV asks the the finalists some great questions. There is a special magic in the air!! Let’s just say the four finalists are excited to say the least. Some of them also give hints for their dances next week. Derek says Amber had the idea for their freestyle. Both say it will be fun. Jack jokes that he is going to be a Chippendale dancer. Bill says they are just going to continue to do what they have been doing. Lots more in detail below as well as more finale hints in other interviews. So, keep scrolling down and “reading more”…
Afterbuzz TV also interviewed Elizabeth, Sasha, and Emma after the show… Read more..
I’m very interested to see which Maks we get tonight. I have a feeling he really wants to do a good job. The question is…does he have it in him to be fair and constructive? Or will the wacko juice from the judges on either side of him infect his brain?? Right now, I have some confidence. Check back here every few minutes to see if I lose it completely.
First dance down and Leah finally gets called out. Not only was that dance simple as hell (more simple than anything Amber does while injured) but she stumbled more than once.
I’m liking Maks so far as a judge…but we’re only one dance in. Not entirely sure that being called a “technician” is particularly flattering in this context though.
Almost forgot – that opening dance was FANTASTIC!! Who was responsible for that? It looked like a Mandy Moore – particularly with Derek out in front for half of it.
Bill and Leah were in jeopardy and Leah FINALLY goes home.
In other news, Maks was rather hilarious as a judge. Love that they put him next to Bruno – that added a whole other level of amusement.
Another interview with Maks! This time he talks with People.com on how he plans to judge tonight. More at the link including his thoughts on Kate Upton and more.
Chmerkovskiy, 33, says he was only passionate about protecting his teammate against the judges when he “felt that some things weren’t very just.” And now that he’s joining Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli on the panel, the pressure is on “to avoid being a hypocrite” after slamming their judging style.
“I have to be the person that I thought they should have been at the times I disagreed with their remarks,” he says. “It will be interesting for me to see, ‘Now you are in a position that you criticized before. Let’s see you do better.’”
Chmerkovskiy, who appeared on 13 seasons of Dancing with the Stars, says viewers shouldn’t be expecting him to take his hot-headed attitude to his judge’s chair.
“I’m not going to be as critical because someone’s kicks aren’t as crisp as they should be because I know who I am looking at and I see what their potential is,” he says. “I will do my best with constructive criticism and with giving positive reinforcement.”
And while he acknowledges that fan favorite comedian Bill Engvall “isn’t the best dancer this season” Chmerkovskiy says “there’s something to be said about how much effort he puts into his performances.”
ETA: And below you can watch Maks on Good Morning America. He sounds like he will be a fair judge, but, we will see??
ETA2: Below is Maks with Access Hollywood talking about judging:
TV Guide has a new interview posted with Karina Smirnoff. She goes over last week’s dances on Dancing With The Stars and why the judges hold Corbin to a higher standard. Below she talks of this week’s theme and dances, how she feels going into the semi-finals, and how she feels about Maks being a guest judge.
What can you tell us about this week’s theme?
Smirnoff: This week, they’re doing something really cool on the show. They have never done this before, and I really like this idea. Everybody does two individual dances, and the dances are to the same song. One is the original and the other one is a one is a stripped-down cover of the original.
Sounds cool! What do you and Corbin have planned?
Smirnoff: [The] first dance is the main story, and it’s quite passionate and dark and mysterious. And the second dance becomes the prequel to the first dance. The first dance is a traditional international tango, and the second one is a rumba. In the tango, we both have become creatures of darkness in a way, but he is like the mastermind of darkness and he obviously has dangerous agendas in his game plan. And I decide in the tango that I don’t want to be a part of that, but I can’t stop him anymore. So then in the rumba, it’s him finding me and seducing me to be part of his darkness, part of his world. It’s pretty awesome. I was telling Corbin, our dances remind me of little movies. It’s so exciting and entertaining and creative. I love it. I love every second of it.
How do you feel you’re positioned going into the semifinals?
Smirnoff: We were talking about it yesterday, and the last four eliminations were relatively shocking to me. They were the strongest dancers [who] went out, so that’s not the best sign for us, because we do tend to be closer to the top of the leader board. … So, we are nervous about Monday, but at the end of the day this is something that we can’t control. And our main goal is to make sure that we come up with routines that are exciting and entertaining, and hopefully the audience will love it and vote us into the final. That’s the only thing that we can control, and we’re going to work hard on that. Everything else, whether we worry or not about it, there’s nothing we can do.
What do you think about Maks coming back to guest-judge?
Smirnoff: I think it’s actually going to be a lot of fun. Maks is known to not be friends with a filter. … I think he will say it as it is. It won’t be the typical response that we might be accustomed to hearing … so I’m kind of looking forward to that. And he’s an active dancer, so he literally went off the dance floor in Dancing with the Stars and now is going to judge, so he has a fresh perspective of being on both sides of the coin. I think it’ll be interesting. I’m kind of excited to see him go at it with Len or Carrie Ann or any one of them.
Interesting perspective on Maks and I’d like to see him go at it with Len and Carrie Ann too. More at TV Guide.
ETA: Karina has posted her new blog at People.com. Not only that, there is a rehearsal teaser VIDEO with she and Corbin as well. Be sure to see everything at the link. Below are her thoughts about Maks…
I don’t think having Maks [Chmerkovskiy] guest judge this week is going to be any more weird or less weird than having any other people guest judge. On the contrary, I think it will be interesting because he comes from being in our shoes. He comes from knowing what we need to do. Maks is known to have no filter, so I’m quite looking forward to what he has to say.
I think if he wants to be a fair judge and do a great job, he has to be fair. At this point, he has no agenda. His brother isn’t in the cast anymore. I can’t imagine him being subjective. If I were to judge, I would have to be objective, simply for the fact that I know how much work we all put in every single week. Out of respect for that, it only would be fair for the judging to be fair.
ETA2: Corbin Bleu has written his new blog for People.com. Below is what he writes and he and Karina’s new dances. More at the link on Maks as a guest judge.
Our first dance, a rumba, is a very stripped down version of the other dance. It’s slow and melodic and a completely different song. Our dances are connected, story-wise. I play a dark and sinister villain – very devil-like almost. I end up seducing Karina in the rumba and she’s very reluctant. And by the end, she gives in. I take her as my queen of darkness. That’s our prequel.
Then we have our tango, which is Karina as my queen. She’s now trying to get away from me. She decides she doesn’t want to be a part of this darkness anymore. I am obviously not having any of it, and there’s this very epic battle of fire. We’re going to have fire everywhere. We’ll have fire all over the stage, and at the end, I pretty much set the entire ballroom on fire. It’s really dark and twisted. I’m in love with it.
On the heels of the new “Could Maks Chmerkovskiy’s Guest Judging DWTS Lead To A Full Time Job Next Season?” post, now we have a new article from The Daily Star with talk of Len Goodman quitting the US version of Dancing With The Stars. Here is more….
A source close to Len said last night: “He wants to quit Dancing With The Stars because he finds the travelling so tough.
“His time zones change dramatically every few days and when he does want to spend time off with his family he’s too tired to really enjoy it.”
Len married long-time partner Sue Barrett, 47, in a surprise ceremony in December.
He has judged on Dancing With The Stars since it launched in 2005 and it has made him a massive star across the pond.
Leaving will mean giving up the annual £250,000 pay cheque he gets for appearing on the show, which regularly tops 12million viewers for the ABC network.
But insiders say Len is determined to put his health first – and wants to ensure he can continue working on Strictly for years to come.
I don’t blame him at all if he wants to quit. As Heidi has posted (and I’ve experienced it too), that commute from England to the States can be a bear. How he (and Bruno) do it every week is a mystery. Be sure to read more at The Daily Star.
Adding: As much as I complain over his judging sometimes, this is making me sad if it comes true.
Sean, a friend of John’s, sent us a new interview he did with Maks Chmerkovskiy for his site The TV Page. Sean asks Maks all kinds of cool questions about guest judging Dancing With The Stars, if he misses dancing, what kind of judge he will make, etc. Sean also explores the possibility of Maks taking on judging Dancing With The Stars as a full time gig. This is such a great interview. Below are a couple of takes.
“It’s kind of cool that this has happened now,” he tells TheTVPage.com. “For the past two seasons there has been a lot of talk that maybe [the show and I] were on bad terms and whatever. So it was awesome to get this call and hopefully put all the rumors to rest.”
The controversial — and sometimes hot-tempered — dancer left the ballroom after the show’s “all star” season in 2012. In 13 tries, he reached the final round four times and was runner-up twice.
“I honestly never thought that I would have such a hard time letting go of dancing,” Maks admits. “But that is what happened. I may have sounded a certain way while I was [on the show], but then when some time passed and things calmed down and I got the time to do some other things that I was never able to do before because I never had the time, all of a sudden I started missing it. Now the show is coming in and asking me to try myself at the next logical stage of my career. And this is the next logical step. I am excited just for the opportunity to prove to myself that I can do it.”
During his thirteen seasons on the show, Maks, 33, often clashed with judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba.
“We all know how I was critical sometimes of the way they work and the things they say and how they were saying it,” he says. “This is an opportunity for me to sit in that spot and try to do, not necessarily better — because I am not saying they are doing a bad job — but to be the type of judge that I have wanted them to be. I am not a hypocrite. I have got to do what I criticized them for…and do it better.”
What kind of judge will you be?
In acting they tell you not to try to mimic somebody else’s voice and intonations, but to be you and try to find the best version of you. It is the same way here. I am just going be me — but older and wiser. And remembering that this is the semifinal and at this point everyone is exhausted and really going on fumes energy-wise. So maybe Bill Engvall isn’t the best dancer that is left out there, but he puts so much effort into what he does that it has to be recognized. At the same time, I gotta also understand that for me, I want to see the best dancer win. So there are people who are left who are in amazing hands whose pros have won it — some of them multiple times. I am just excited to see what the couples bring and I will pretty much decide on the spot. I have never been fake and I have never been scripted, so that is one thing you can expect: genuine me. My opinions and honest in everything that I say.
The obvious question now is “Will this lead to a full time judging job next year?
To be honest with you, I am focused on just Monday. I am trying to do the best job I can and we will go from there. I will continue to do the things I have already been doing. Whether it leads to full time anything is not up to me and it is not the conversation for right now because there is literally no conversation like that happening. Maybe the powers that be are thinking something, but I don’t know.
You can read much more of this new fascinating interview at this link. Let us know what you think and THANKS SEAN for sending this our way!
Maks Chmerkovskiy was a guest on VH1′s Big Morning Buzz Live show With Carrie Keagan this morning to talk about guest judging the Dancing With The Stars Semi-Finals. First, he told Carrie he was relieved he wouldn’t have to judge his brother Val as he is “toughest on the people he loves the most”.
On what kind of judge he will make, Maks said he’s excited and he never thought he’d be a part of this foursome (judging with Carrie Anne Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli). He said he’s been a hypocrite when he danced on the show. Maks can be critical, but, he hopes to be fair as a judge. He also hopes everything he says will come out right and he will try and be on his best behavior. He knows how tired the dancers are at this point in the competition.
On who Maks thinks is the front runner, he names Corbin Bleu and praises Karina Smirnoff as being one of the best choreographers. He also gives Derek Hough big props too. He said Derek is a champion and says he always knows what to do to win during a finale.
Be watching VH1 as they may post video footage a little later.
ETA: Below is some video coverage: