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Dancing with the Stars recap: Thirtysomething

In the semifinals, each of the four contestants gets at least one 10, and Mel B. and Helio are perfect; plus, Len shows them all how it’s done

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Craig Sjodin

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

”Dancing With the Stars” recap: Grade inflation

Ah, the Dancing With the Stars semifinals — where the music is extra awful, the light shows are totally trippy, and any score under a perfect 30 somehow feels insulting. We wouldn’t have it — spoon-fed to us like baby food — any other way. Please, DANCMSTR, I’d like some more. With extra cheese!

Speaking of which, hooray — Len’s DANCMSTR limousine emerged for the first time all season! I’m sure some of you must find my insistence on referring to Len only by his vanity-plate moniker in all my TV Watches bewildering if not super annoying. (It’s also kind of annoying to type. Can I buy a vowel up in here or what?) But now that you’ve been reminded of the name’s origin, you’ll absolutely agree that there’s really nothing else you can call the guy.

Moving on from my Personal Jesus to ”our stars,” here’s how the semis played out:

Scary Spice: 60 out of a possible 60 Mel B. definitely earned her perfect scores last night, if only for those four consecutive ”walking splits” that, if I recall correctly, first came to the judges’ attention when Monique Coleman did them in season 3. They weren’t crazy about them then, but that’s probably because they all hated Monique’s partner, Louis. Mel’s splits fit perfectly with the music, a slightly off version of Queen’s ”Somebody to Love.” She does work hard every day of her life (for this TV show), oh yes — she tries and she tries and she triiiiiies (to be flexible). It worked! M&M’s entire Viennese waltz was gorgeous, quick paced, and as Bruno said, surprisingly sexy.

For their Latin dance, the couple chose the paso doble, which they’d scored a 30 on before. Despite being thrown at the mercy of ”Liiiiiiiiive!” television at the super-rushed beginning of their paso (Mel looked angry, which made her clutching a leather whip even funnier), they cranked out another dominatrix-themed Cape Fear for another 30. As if to balance out the rocky beginning, M&M kind of tumbled over just after the music stopped. None of the judges mentioned it; they were too preoccupied by the Case of Tom Bergeron Holding the Whip. DANCMSTR’s impersonation of Justin Timberlake — he actually sang, ”You can whip me if I misbehave,” with that knowing DANCMSTR ”I’m so raunchy…and current!” twinkle in his eyes — may have been his finest moment all season.

Oh, and the Spice Girls showed up. Again. Why is it that every time they’re all just standing around, all I want to do is focus intently on Posh even though she never, ever does or says anything? Is there like a support group for this? I wouldn’t go to the meetings. I just feel like that group should exist.

Helio Castroneves: 60/60 Okay, so he got the same score as Mel. I think she outdanced him, which is why I listed her first. I have nothing against Helio — he seems like a doll; he does exactly what Julianne tells him to do and says exactly what they write out for him to say. But maybe that’s why I’m still not sold. I’m not getting perfect-score vibes from him, and haven’t all season. That said, there were no glerrors (glaring errors) in either of Helio’s routines last night. I rather liked his and Julianne’s fox-trot, especially the part where they both kicked on the line ”Ain’t that a kick,” because I’m a total loser like that. I thought the green costumes worked, too. By the way, did Helio give Julianne a billion green and white balloons because she finally decided on that color instead of pink and blue for their outfits? Because that’s, like, incredibly supportive of him as a partner. ”Teeeeeeeeeeen!”

Helio supported Julianne during their cha-cha, too — he spent most of the dance with one arm out, as she twirled, lunged, writhed, etc. against it. I did love Julianne’s move where she spun on the ground, then ”swam” out from between Helio’s legs like a goldfish gliding lazily through his bowl’s ”castle.” She even had a wide-eyed, fishlike expression while she did it, and I was disappointed when a single bubble didn’t pop out of her mouth and rise to the top of the ballroom. The music, a murky version of ”Love Rollercoaster,” stunk up the joint — it was way too fluid to showcase such sharp, precise moves. Of course, this didn’t matter. The judges loved Helio. Carrie Ann said, ”I don’t even know what to say,” and then called him both ”mind-boggling” and ”ridiculous” but apparently in a great way. Bruno laid it on thick, insisting Helio ”must be a wizard because it’s impossible to believe you never danced before this.” Really, Bruno? And Len called Helio and Julianne the standout couple of the night. Also: He’s the only guy left, and they really need a testosterone-y celeb in the finals!

NEXT: Of mice and Jen