Sunday, March 12, 2017

DWTS Season 23, Semifinals: Handstands, Tears and a Sad Goodbye

Ladies and gentlemen: The semifinalists of Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars
When last we left our lovely couples, these are the ones remaining standing at the Semifinal round of Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars: Lindsay and Calvin, Sharna (now back in the lineup after an injury sidelined her) and James, Jana and Gleb, Laurie and Val, and the always wondrous Terra and Sasha (whom I'm still rooting for). The semifinals includes the favorite Trios round.

I'm sure it must've been killing Sharna to see Jenna dancing with James instead of her. So she returns with a vengeance (also, I'm sure knowing that one has to up their game in the Semis to move forward). She dances a delicious Argentine tango blindfolded with James. Stunning. (Let me also note that Peta was acclaimed for performing a blindfolded number a few seasons back with Nile, but she only did it for part of the dance, then removed it. Sharna's was only removed right at the very end. She performed the whole dance with it.)


And just when you're thinking: WOW! Sharna! James does this at the end:


Absolutely incredible.

Judge Julianne says it well: "We've seen a lot of Argentine tango this season. It's been hard, it's been fast--but THIS, this is what an Argentine tango is: Controlled. Sexy."


At this point in the competition, I am rooting with all of my heart and soul for Terra and Sasha to win. There have been many competitors with special obstacles in their lives, and usually much is made of that, as they go on to then win the Mirror Ball. For my money, Terra Jole has, in each and every dance, been an inspiration to everyone that if you want something, go for it. This song, with the lyric, "you're beautiful, just the way you are," encapsulates the message that Team Terra has tried to put forth in every dance.

She and Sasha knock me out each and every time. Even though this was a rumba, and it wasn't the normal sexy rumba, it was very much about owning one's own power, and walking through life with confidence. It was beautiful and fluid, and I loved it. I love them.

Carrie Ann, in tears at the judges' table, says: "Every movement was executed with the utmost perfection and quality and care. The quality of your movement is like the quality of you. It is untouchable."

Julianne: "I, 100%, thought this was going to be a very difficult dance for you. You, 100%, proved me wrong."

PERFECT SCORE for Sasha and Terra.


OTOH, if I had to pick a couple from these five that I would eliminate going forward, it would be this one. I've never liked them all along, and I would easily drop them now. I dislike their song choices, their set, their concepts. Just everything.

So all I'll say about their quickstep is that, boy, aren't these costumes great this episode?


And here we have one of those "fast and hard" tangos they were talking about earlier. But, it's to The White Stripes' "Seven-Nation Army" (as opposed to that wimpy bad song we just heard), so it's OK. I also love Calvin and Lindsay and if you take Jana and Gleb out of the mix, I'd be happy with each of those four couples winning the Mirror Ball, for different reasons. They are truly the creme de la creme.


Sixteen-year-old Laurie has just lost her grandmother. Despite this, she's a trouper, who not only carries on, but does an amazing foxtrot with Val. PERFECT SCORE, of course.


Tom Bergeron, who had his own bout with death in his family not long ago, shares Laurie's pain.

MICHE'S FAVORITES OF SEMIFINALS WEEK
1. James and Sharna's Argentine tango (blindfolded!)
2. Laurie and Val's tango
3. Terra and Sasha's rumba
4. Calvin and Lindsay's tango

And now! It's on to the Trio round.


James starts off the package with: "Welcome to our Threesome," which causes both Sharna and Jenna to laugh. Ah yes, let your mind linger there for a moment... Ahem...

I am pretty convinced that to really excel on this show you have to not only have a great dance, but also great music. Those who understand this distinction go far.

The song is an old Motown classic, "Gimme Some Lovin' " (Spencer Davis Group) but as James jumps out over the actual car in which he had his major accident, and there's Sharna, now recovered from her leg injury, with Jenna who helped them both out, the chorus of "So glad we made it" resonates more than a little. And I love love love watching this Canadian racecar driver dance almost as much as I love watching Sharna and Jenna dance (almost).

Carrie Ann: "The best thing was the unison. Nobody beats you, matching the girls perfectly." (So true.)

Julianne: "That was one hot pit crew."

James just seems in his element, and dancing this jive to a song which his dad used to play for him all the time, you could tell the movement of the music is in his soul. I just can't get enough of this one.

PERFECT SCORE from the judges.


Terra goes into this whole thing in the package about how Sasha is her little brother and Artem is actually sexy, but excuse me, Sasha Farber is plenty sexy. (As he has proven this season.) But either way, after being sent off by a really nice Three's Company homage in the package, this tango is steamy! And I loved it.


Me, I just can't get enough of the star that is Terra Jole. This was just wondrous to watch.

PERFECT SCORE from the judges.


Jana, Gleb and Alan are up next, with a nice tango trio.

Thankfully, the concept they talk about in the package (where the two guys are both policemen) didn't last until the final dance. This arrangement is much better, and serves the song better, to just have them be two dudes. Rather like her being a black widow spider, and they are her prey.

Carrie Ann talks about it being a work of art, but I surely don't think that this came out of the minds of Gleb or Jana (so congrats to the producer who came up with this beauty).

Jana, in comments, is obsessed about "making the finals." OK.

PERFECT SCORE from the judges.


Well, of course, among the crowd of semifinalists, there is always one salsa. And it makes sense that this would be the one, with Witney (Lindsay's BFF) added to the mix. You kinda know all that going in. What you are NOT prepared for are the acrobatics that they perform in this trio.


Cause WOW, they do some crazy acrobatics in this dance.

Erin calls them "Calvin and the Doublemint Twins." Crazy, fun salsa.

PERFECT SCORE from the judges.


I'm a sucker for the dances which harken back to this show's roots, when some of the early competitors actually competed in ballroom dancing competitions. Too bad Len isn't here judging this week.

The concept of this one is that Maks is teaching Val and Laurie how to dance (to compete). It's really wonderful.

Except that, as far as the trios go (this one a samba), all the other ones really had the third person in there and dancing through the whole thing, and Maks only comes in at the beginning and end, compared to the other competitors. But it was ok. It's always fun to watch Val and Laurie dance. And the story was awesome.

PERFECT SCORE from the judges.

I, like the judges, really can't rank these five competitors. They were all fantastic, in their way, and they ALL deserved to be in the finals.



Sadly, one of my favorites to win ended up going home on this night. I am so completely bummed about that, I can't even tell you. Personally, I would've sent home Jana and Gleb. But it is what it is. Thank goodness we had such amazing incredible dances from Terra and Sasha all season long.


What a blessing and a joy your dances were. THANK YOU, Terra Jole and Sasha Farber. Tom Bergeron talked about how when people ask him who his favorite people were on the show, he would mention Terra. I so agree. The combination of Terra and Sasha was really a very special mix that won't soon be forgotten. She may not have won, but she really showed how this TV show can really bring magic sometimes. We shall miss you.

POST-SHOW NOTE: Notice how at the intro, every competitor is holding the Mirror Ball, EXCEPT the person who actually wins it the following week? Hmmm.
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