Dancing with the Stars recap: Season 25 Semifinals
Dancing with the Stars Season 25, Semi-Finals
I’d first like to thank IHGB reader and Twitter follower Mallory for pointing out that my site had been hacked this morning. I appreciate that she knew I would never choose to skip a Dancing with the Stars recap in lieu of sharing a post that highlights baseball, constipation, dog toys, and crib sheets.
Mallory totally gets me.
My sweet friends over at Digital Lemonade are heroes. Lindsay was able to clear the problem in minutes. She is so smart and talented. I fear for any hacker who gets in her way. Now, on with the recap!
Tom and Erin open the show with a quick reminder of what viewers can expect in the next 120 minutes. There are five semi-finalists left and each couple will be performing two dances. In the first performance, the pro picks a song that he/she feels best fits his/her partner’s personality. In the second performance, couples will have to recreate an iconic dance that landed a perfect score from a previous season.
Drew and Emma
“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers
The first thing I thought when Emma announced that she felt this song was perfect for Drew was, “Didn’t Victoria already dance to this one?” The answer is no, because ABC producers are smarter than I clearly give them credit for. Also, I used to confuse “I’m Gonna Be” with “Tubthumping” in the late 80s. Some things never change.
My roommate Lara nailed it when she said that choosing a quirky song for Drew was a brilliant choice on Emma’s part. Goofy lyrics and dorky moves translate. Emma knows that Drew isn’t the best dancer and the only way he’s going to reign champion is if he wins the audience over with charm alone. Clunky feet and bouncy steps or not, this guy has pizazz. He believes he’s rocking his kilt, but we all know there’s only one man who looks absolutely breathtaking in a tartan:
For some reason, a line of JV dudes hop onto the scene and they finish the routine together, pulling their kilts up at the end. The audience goes C-R-A-Z-Y. The judges, however, toss a great big bucket of water on that high by simply stating that Drew may have all the enthusiasm in the world, but the lad doesn’t know how to jig. Even the bagpipe Erin tries to make him play in the Glitterdome isn’t cooperating.
Victoria and Val
“To Build a Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra
Val has a really good idea. He wants to create a contemporary piece that tells Victoria’s story through her parents’ eyes. Val is her dad and his real-live girlfriend Jenna (JV dancer) is her mom. The stage is set to resemble Victoria’s living room where her parents set up shop to nurse their daughter back to health. Through dance, Val wants to tell a story about how they did not give up.
And it worked.
Here’s what I liked: Jenna is a gorgeous dancer. You can see the emotion in her eyes. She and Val together helping Victoria “walk” first by physically moving her feet on the floor and then carrying her through the air as her feet glide along is extremely moving. The sentiment is there and the majority of the choreography is lovely.
Here’s what I didn’t like: I think it’s a bit unfair that this was essentially a trio. Yes, I understand that the JV dancers came out in droves this week, but Jenna remains in the spotlight with the other two the majority of the time, excluding that part where she hugs the door.
Victoria embraces her parents after the gut-wrenching dance. They have no idea she was going to do that and the tears are big and real. The judges praise her for digging deep, breathing, being and inspiration, and telling a legitimate story about what it means to persevere. When she receives three 9s, both she and Val looked entirely disappointed that the routine wasn’t perfection in their eyes.
Jordan and Lindsay
“Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE
When Lindsay thinks of Jordan, she thinks about how he’s such a great brother to his younger siblings. Jordan tears up when he tells the story of how his own older brothers weren’t the nicest to him, so he vowed to never be that way to his brother and sister.
Lindsay takes that experience, ignores the pain in her knee, and choreographs the ultimate Argentine Tango (in my opinion) with sharp flicks, kicks, attitude, and swagger. The subject matter and the lyrics of “Brother” make for a joyful experience that I was sure would be rewarded with a perfect score. Boy, was I wrong.
Carrie Ann basically tells Jordan to get off his high horse. Len reprimands Lindsay that the regular tango is a man dancing with his wife, but the Argentine Tango was a man dancing with his mistress. He warns her not to get caught up in the story and to just dance. Bruno loves it, which makes me love Bruno.
I was a bit confused. I suspect the judges are trying to figure out a way to show America that they aren’t all the way TEAM JORDAN, so they have to take him down a few pegs. But Len’s statement makes me pause. I have no idea how the dance picks work. If Lindsay is given Argentine Tango, but she gets to pick a song that represents her partner, is Len saying that is her fault for not choreographing a sultry piece? How is she supposed to “follow the rules” when clearly her storyline is that Jordan is like a brother to her. Should she have picked another sexy song and said in the package, “I just want to win and this will be exactly what Len is looking for…” I don’t know.
Lindsey and Mark
“Head High” by Alexander Jean
Mark tells the camera that he picked this song not because it’s him and his wife singing it and he needs a boost on iTunes, but because he feels Lindsey is resilient and joyful, even though everyone in the world told her “no” back in the day. He arranges for a mattress and disheveled apartment to be thrown on the floor (not sure why). They dance around the apartment until the very end where they flit about as trash blows through the set (not sure why). Shouldn’t we have been primed for what that symbolized?
At the end, Mark tosses her to the corner of the stage and she rolls like she’s exiting a moving vehicle. I liked the part where they danced in sync and I liked her hair. The judges love every other part of the dance.
Witney and Frankie
“Shake” by Yin Yang Twins
Frankie is taking Len’s advice seriously. Remember last week when the old guy told Frankie that he didn’t want to hear this “nonsense” about how Frankie isn’t confident? The guy goes overboard during the pre-package, claiming that “he’s got this” and “I’m so good at dancing” in an endearing tongue-in-cheek way.
Witney puts him on a basketball court, which makes me super nervous. Props are unreliable. Just look at the JV dancer who almost dropped the ball!
Witney saunters onto the court in a sparkly little number, as you do, and chooses Frankie to salsa with her. They boogie for a minute, but then the JV dudes pick Frankie up to execute a slow motion Matrix-inspired slam dunk of the ball. The routine ends with Witney yanking off Frankie’s shirt to reveal a freshly waxed chest — the consistency of veal. The judges think Frankie is “great” and “does not mess around” which is code for “meh.” His numbers show it.
Drew and Emma
Iconic Dance: Jazz by Karina and Corbin, Season 17
“Yeah” by Usher
Y’all can probably guess that I have a huge problem with this iconic dance thing, right? Carrie Ann hit the nail on the head when she admits that this is going to be a very, very hard routine to perform because we have a PERFECT version of it already in our heads. For some of you, that’s not the case because you haven’t been a Dancing with the Stars fan for 25 seasons. I get that.
So to make you understand what people like me are going through, I’m going to include the original dance so you can compare it to last night’s performances.
Drew is already sweating the fact that he has to be like Corbin. He’s not even worried that this was originally a trio. Instead, he’s concerned that he always trips over his own two feet (holla!) and that the pressure is getting to him. Emma reminds Drew that it’s the dance that is iconic. He needs to make it his own. Otherwise, what are we even doing here? YOU ARE NOT AND NEVER WILL BE CORBIN. Turn on that charm, buddy, and own that gold lame jacket without a shirt!
Drew’s face looks terrified most of the dance, which confuses me, until he busts out “The Pamchenko.” Emma crawls up on his shoulders, flings herself back, and lets Drew swing her in a death-defying fashion just like Doug flung Kate on The Cutting Edge.
Instead of tossing her into the air and catching her, Drew sort of slides Emma on the floor, picks her up, and flips his personality switch. He fake taps, smiles with all his teeth, and gives it whatever he has left, which isn’t much. He’s adorable. The judges think so, too. Yet the fact still remains that he can’t dance.
Val and Victoria
Iconic Dance: Charleston by Derek and Amber, Season 17
“Bang, Bang” by will.i.am
Val tells Victoria, the girl who can’t feel her legs, that it’s time to stop worrying about her legs. She dances looking down, which makes perfect sense, yet Val encourages her to trust that he AND her legs will be there for her. Stop overthinking.
Victoria does stop overthinking. Even though I don’t love this song, the choreography is fun, lively, and Victoria performs it with a thousand JV dancers beautifully. To quote Len, she had a lot of razzamatazz, which is a word I don’t use enough on a daily basis. Why Carrie Ann gave her a 9 is confusing to me, but I’m glad she got a 10 from Len!
Jordan and Lindsay
Iconic Dance: Jive by Paige and Mark, Season 22
“Proud Mary” by Tina Turner
I remember loving this dance. It is the moment Paige VanZant (UFC fighter) lets all of her inhibitions go and owns the fact that she is a pretty cool girl in a fabulous red outfit. It is also the fastest jive I’ve ever seen in my life.
Jordan is enthusiastic to channel Mark’s energy. He and Lindsay have stamina, personality, talent, double cartwheels, ariels, and in a matter of minutes, this dance becomes the jive by which all other jives will be measured. Of course it receives a perfect score.
Lindsay and Mark
Iconic Dance: Tango by Meryl and Maks, Season 18
“Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris
Poor Mark. Not only did he have to perform right after his protege Lindsay just received perfect marks, praising her performance as the best jive known to hit the ballroom, but now he has to recreate Meryl and Maks’ tango. That particular season is the first and only season Maks wins. And it’s because of Meryl.
I think Lindsay is incredibly flexible and equally sharp. The movements are precise, clear, and there’s a certain chemistry that is palpable with these two. But it lacks something. And that something’s name is Meryl.
Frankie and Witney
Iconic Dance: Paso Doble by Julianne and Apolo, Season 4
“Carnaval de Paris” by Dario G
I think it’s awesome that the producers go so far back into the vault to pull Julianne and Apolo’s dance from season 4. I sound like a broken record, but this is one I kept on my DVR for ages. It is that good.
Frankie is nervous about another prop, which is understandable. Not only does he have to remove Witney’s skirt, but he has to put it back on again! Velcro is hard, y’all. So are knee slides and a running split slide. But the pair are willing to give it a go to try their best to be the best Julianne and Apolo they know how to be. That ended up being about seventy-five-percent. Huge “E” for effort.
Once Lindsey, Drew, and Jordan are safe, Frankie and Victoria stand with their breath held, knowing that it’s about to be over for one of them. That one is Victoria. She begins to cry and I don’t think they are tears of sadness. They are tears of bitterness. Athletes have a hard time understanding how “the best” aren’t standing at the end. She wants to be beaten by the best dancer out there and it’s clear that neither Frankie nor Drew fit that category.
Tom does a great job reminding her that she has been an amazing contestant who has inspired many. What she has done is incredible and she needs to hold on to that truth.
But the fact remains that we have four left who will duke it out in the finals. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I want Lindsay to win her first mirrorball. Who’s with me?