Veterans Day was the perfect time to peak on “Dancing with the Stars.” Melissa Rycroft and her partner Tony Dovolani did just that on Nov. 12. The two were never truly considered front runners on the highly competitive all-star season, but Melissa and Tony have been slow cooking for weeks and finally reached a boiling point on Monday. The end result was a perfect recipe to advance to next week’s semi-final rounds. The change of tide shifted the focus from Shawn Johnson and Gilles Marini, the season’s early favorites, to Melissa and Tony, who have been on a slow, but steady burn on their quest for the coveted mirror ball trophy.
Due to the presidential election last week, no celebrity was eliminated during Fusion Week on “DWTS.” However, double elimination is in the picture this week, so it was more important than ever for the seven remaining celebrities and their pro partners to turn up the heat on their rivals. Monday night’s competition was a two-part duel. Round one paid tribute to America’s brave veterans. The teams were tasked to perform a meaningful dance to honor the country’s heroes. In this round, Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani were the sole winners for their Quickstep to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Len Goodman said the routine had a lot of quickness and precision steps. Carrie Ann Inaba added, “I salute you. You’re on fire!” The dancing duo received a perfect score of 30 in the first round.
The middle of the pack after the first round was quite crowded. Shawn Johnson, Apolo Ohno and Gilles Marini all received a combined score of 29.5. This is usually a very impressive score, but it fell a tad shy of the top spot on Monday. Kelly Monaco and Emmitt Smith landed next on the leader board with a tied score of 28. Kirstie Alley failed to impress the judges with her Viennese Waltz to “I’ll Be Your Crying Shoulder.” She and Val landed at the bottom of the leader board with a score of 27 from the judges, despite the fact it was one of Kirstie’s best dances of the season. It goes to show just how competitive the all-star season is this fall.
Here’s a look at the (very close) leader board after round one on “DWTS” on Nov. 12.
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 29.5
- Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: 29.5
- Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 29.5
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 28
- Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 28
- Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: 27
Just when you thought Veterans Day on “Dancing with the Stars” was tough enough, the celebrities had to dance a second routine, this time with their regular partner AND a second pro or a member of the “DWTS” troupe. The trio teams had to work together to create a number that wowed the live audience, at-home viewers and the always critical judges.
Shawn and Derek danced a primal Samba with Mark Ballas. Apolo and Karina chose Sasha Farber for their Jive. Kirstie had a ménage a trois with Maks and Tristan MacManus. Kelly and Val mixed it up with Louis van Amstel. Gilles got down and dirty with Peta and Chelsie Hightower. Emmitt and Cheryl chose Kym Johnson and Melissa and Tony picked troupe member Henry Byalikov.
Melissa and Tony once again landed at the top of the leader board after round two, scoring perfect 10s from all three judges. Len Goodman complimented Melissa by saying, “Of all the couples, you impressed me the most.” Bruno Tonioli called Melissa “a cracking queen bee” and Carrie Ann said that she “owned” her Paso. Emmitt Smith also received perfect scores from all three judges for his saucy Salsa with Peta and Kym. Carrie Ann compared his dance to a red, hot Jalapeno pepper. Bruno loved how Emmitt worked his two female partners “like a yo-yo.”
Apolo and Karina, Gilles and Peta tied for second place in the trio round. Shawn Johnson received unusually low scores, especially from Len Goodman. The head judge didn’t like her routine at all and said it lacked any resemblance to a Samba. He quipped to Shawn, while looking irritably at Derek and Mark, “If you go home tomorrow, don’t blame it on me. Blame it on them.” Kirstie and Maks came in last place in the trio round with their uninspired Paso. All three judges liked the theme and angel costumes, but very little else. Bruno said, “It was like watching ‘The Valley of the Dolls.’” Carrie Ann and Len agreed that the dance lacked finesse.
Here’s a look at the leader board after round two on “DWTS” on Nov. 12.
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30
- Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: 29
- Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 29
- Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: 28.5
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 28.5
- Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 30
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 26
After two rounds, here’s how Monday’s leader board played out.
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30 + 30 = 60
- Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: 29.5 + 29 = 58.5
- Apolo Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 29.5 + 29 = 58.5
- Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 28 + 30 = 58
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 28 + 28.5 = 56.5
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 29.5 + 26 = 55.5
- Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: 27 + 24 = 51
This week’s judges’ scores and viewers’ votes will be combined with those from last week to determine which TWO celebrities will be eliminated this week. To review, here’s a look at last week’s leader board. Keep in mind that there were two scores: one for the couples’ individual routines and one score for the swing dance marathon.
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 29 + 10 = 39
- Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas (filling in for injured Derek Hough): 30 + 8 = 38
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 27 + 9 = 36
- Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 27.5 + 7 = 34.5
- Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: 28.5 + 5 = 33.5
- Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 27 + 6 = 33
- Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: 24 = 4 = 28
The new (and somewhat complicated) leader board after two weeks of competition on “Dancing with the Stars” looks like this.
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 29 + 10 + 30 + 30 = 99
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 30 + 8 + 29.5 + 26 = 93.5
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 27 + 9 + 28 + 28.5 = 92.5
- Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke: 27.5 + 7 + 28 + 30 = 92.5
- Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd: 28.5 + 5 + 29.5 + 29 = 92
- Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff: 27 + 6 + 29.5 + 29 = 91.5
- Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy: 24 + 4 + 27 + 24 = 79
It’s clear that Kirstie Alley should be the next celebrity to be sent home on “Dancing with the Stars.” However, this is a week of double elimination. It looked liked Apolo Ohno, who was in jeopardy last week, redeemed himself this week, but he’s still in sixth place on the combined 2-week leader board. Based on scores alone, Kirstie and Apolo should be the next celebrities to hang up their dancing shoes, but there’s just two points separating Ohno and second place finisher, Shawn Johnson. In the crazy world of reality TV, anything can and usually does happen.
Even though Apolo Ohno scored very well this week, he may very well be in jeopardy this week. He doesn’t have as strong of a fan base as sex-on-a-stick Gilles Marini or NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. Kirstie Alley is almost certain to go. Her fans are dedicated, but the competition is just too fierce. She won’t become the Bristol Palin of the all-star season and she has gone about as far as she can go. Kelly Monaco is a dark horse, but her potential real-life romance with Val has fans intrigued. They want to see more of this romantic duo.
These five celebrities that have the best shot at advancing to next week’s semi-final round.
- Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
- Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd
- Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani
- Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
- Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy
If you think these last two weeks were a roller coaster ride, strap in because the stakes are even higher and the ride even bumpier next week when the semi-finalists dance to Michael Jackson. Will Melissa continue her dance floor dominance or will Shawn Johnson and Gilles rebound to reclaim their spots at the top of the leader board? Stay tuned….
“Dancing with the Stars” airs next week at 8/7c on Monday and Tuesday on ABC.