The trick to season 17 of Dancing with the Stars is to suspend logic, throw out the scores and just enjoy the spectacle.
And by that standard, Monday night’s semifinals were a joy, in no small part because of the smooth performance of Maksim Chmerkovskiy (“The Bad Boy of the Ballroom”) as the guest judge.
The format was plugged/unplugged, as the couples danced to two radically rearranged versions of the same song. That lead to elaborate showmanship like the video (below) which features Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff doing a turbo-tango to Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up).”
I think I enjoyed this more than the judges did, perhaps because the pyrography reminded me of how eagerly I’m awaiting the new Hunger Games movie. Ah, Katniss, the Girl on Fire!
And here come the results. (Now’s the time to look away if you’ve got the show DVRed for future enjoyment.)
The couple sent home: Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani.
That means your final four are Amber Riley and Derek Hough, Bleu and Smirnoff, Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke and – I can’t believe I’m typing this – Bill Engvall and Emma Slater. Yes, they survived again despite having the week’s lowest score. Again. I’m beginning to think Slater must be either the greatest or the luckiest dancer of all time to carry this crash-test dummy into the finals.
Well, if you believe Maksim, their luck is about to run off. Last night Maks virtually guaranteed that Amber will walk away with the Mirror Ball, noting that when her partner, Derek, makes the finals, he always softshoes his way to victory.
What do you think? Can Engvall defy reason and physics and go all the way?