(LOS ANGELES) — The five stars remaining on Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars danced two routines in Monday night’s semifinals, and their second sets were performed to songs from Michael Jackson’s Bad to commemorate the iconic album’s 25th anniversary.
The stars pushed themselves and delivered outstanding routines that earned three of them perfect scores. At the end of the night, Shawn Johnson was at the head of the pack with a total of 59 out of a possible 60 points, while Emmitt Smith and Kelly Monaco each had 54 points, tying them for the night’s lowest totals.
The first round required dancers to create a coherent routine featuring an unusual mix of styles and themes. Among the styles were the surfer flamenco, knight rider bhangra, and big top jazz.
Two dancers will go home Tuesday ahead of next week’s finale. Elimination is based on a combination of judges’ scores plus audience votes. The stars with the lowest overall totals will go home.
Kirstie Alley and Gilles Marini were voted off the show last week.
Also on Tuesday’s show, Paula Abdul will return to the ballroom to perform her new single “Dream Medley.” She served as a guest judge earlier this season.
Melissa Rycroft: Even though Rycroft’s pro partner Tony Dovolani was dancing with a back injury, he easily performed the lifts in an athletic routine that presented the hustle with a prehistoric flavor.
“Melissa, you never disappoint. … I thought Tony had the muscle and you had the hustle and I really enjoyed watching it. Well done,” head judge Len Goodman told Rycroft. Total score: 27.5 out of a possible 30 points.
Shawn Johnson: The Olympian danced a Bhangra – an Indian folkdance – to an Indian version of the theme of Knight Rider, the hit 1980s TV show. The ballroom audience surged to its feet and roared its approval of the frenetic routine, and the judges loved it, too.
Judge Bruno Tonioli gave Johnson and her David Hasselhoff-styled pro dance partner Derek Hough a standing ovation. “Another mega hit for Shawn and the Hoff – and this time – they’re doing it Bhangra style,” he proclaimed. Total score: 30/30, the first perfect score of the night.
Apolo Anton Ohno: Ohno’s big top jazz routine featured ambitious jazz choreography with a circus theme that drew mixed feedback from judges.
Ohno slipped at the beginning of the routine, and judge Carrie Ann Inaba said that may have thrown him off. She also called the routine “disjointed.”
Tonioli strongly disagreed, saying he appreciated the routine’s creativity.
“That was edgy, surreal, it was like a blend of Cirque du Soleil and Clockwork Orange,” he said. Total score: 27/30.
Emmitt Smith: His lindy hop was a comical take on an espionage story, and Tonoli called it fun. “It was like a Looney Tunes version of James Bond,” he said.
Goodman said he would have liked a little more lindy hop content, but approved of the concept, the energy, the lifts and the overall package. Total score: 27/30.
Kelly Monaco: The soap opera star’s surfer-themed flamenco was aggressive and passionate, and when Monaco and her pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy stripped off their costumes to reveal swimsuits, ending the routine on a wet platform, the crowd went wild.
Judges appreciated the energy, but told Monaco that the routine didn’t have enough flamenco content. “It was all paso (doble), it really didn’t have the arms,” Inaba said, mentioning a unique feature of the dance. Total score: 25.5/30.
Each second-round dance was performed to a song from Michael Jackson’s Bad.
Melissa Rycroft: Rycroft’s sensuous Argentine tango was set to “Dirty Diana,” and the routine was filled with intricate lifts that Rycroft and Dovolani performed without a hitch.
“Dirty Diana, I would like to introduce you to magnificent Melissa,” Inaba said, praising the performance. Tonioli told Rycroft she had exceeded all expectations and deserved a spot in the final. He ended with a plea to America to support Rycroft. Total score: 30/30.
Shawn Johnson: Johnson’s Argentine tango was set to Bad, the title track from the album. The crisp, passionate performance drew rave reviews from Tonioli and Goodman.
“It was breathtaking…stylistically it was perfect. Is there anything you can’t do?” Tonioli asked. Inaba agreed that Johnson’s performance was beautiful, but said it lacked the drama that such a dance required. Total score: 29/30.
Apolo Anton Ohno: Ohno’s fluid rumba to “Man in the Mirror” drew praise from all three judges.
Tonioli said the performance was the “perfect pitch between sensuality and romance.” Inaba said the routine touched her with its passion and emotion, while Goodman added: “It had a subtlety to it. There was a calmness. It was captivating. It was fabulous.” Total score: 30/30.
Emmitt Smith: The NFL legend’s tango had judges praising his commitment even as they pointed out the flaws in his technique.
Tonioli commended Smith’s “almost criminal and predatory power” but added “the footwork could have been more exact.” Inaba agreed, saying the hold was “a bit broad,” but adding that the performance would please fans. Total score: 27/30.
Kelly Monaco: Monaco’s sultry rumba wowed judges. Tonioli commented on the chemistry between Monaco and her partner, with whom she had shared a kiss at the end of the routine.
“Well, that was smoldering, driven by desire,” Tonioli said of the performance. Goodman told Monaco she had done well in showing emotion with control. Total score: 28.5/30.
The Scores (First Round; Second Round: Night’s Total)
Shawn Johnson: 30; 29: Total: 59
Melissa Rycroft: 27.5; 30. Total: 57.5
Apolo Anton Ohno: 27; 30. Total: 57
Kelly Monaco: 25.5; 28.5. Total: 54
Emmitt Smith: 27; 27. Total: 54
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