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Emmys 2017
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Dancing with the Stars recap: Latin King

Gilles scores big with the judges as the final four couples take on Latin and ballroom dances

Posted on

DWTS Burke Marini
Craig Sjodin/ABC

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

Gilles Marini topped the judges’ leaderboard after season 8’s semifinal performance round of Dancing With the Stars. Was he really that perfect or was it just his butt? This unsolved mystery and more, provided you read on! Here’s how the final four sparkle-mongers ranked after one round each of ballroom and Latin…

Gilles Marini and Cheryl: 60 out of possible 60 The male contestants always have such profound ”Aha! Moments” when a pro who wears pants swoops in to help them out during rehearsal that I’m surprised it doesn’t happen sooner, and more often. Gilles needed to trade in sexiness for sophistication so…obviously, bring in Jonathan! The gentle hero who put up with Marie Osmond for months outlined the waltz in layman’s terms, much to Gilles’ (and my, and probably your) delight: ”Cheryl’s the picture. You’re gonna invite her to come into the frame.” The song choice for Gilles’ ballroom round, Norah Jones’ ”Come Away With Me,” at first seemed a bit sleepy and lacking in beat, but Cheryl somehow choreographed a routine that made it work. A lot of their movements alternated between great flourishes and moments of stillness, so that the dance ended up mirroring the song. It was different, but good, like Arby’s. DANCMSTR claimed to be in the act of giving Gilles ”a sitting-down standing ovation,” which is something I’ll be telling everyone who enters my office from now on. Even before the judges spoke, Gilles had turned on the waterworks and couldn’t stop, even by the time they reached Samantha and her rather stunning Crayola Metallic FX Crayons dress.

I dug the subtitled hometown visit to Cannes for Gilles, especially the sections about his father working around the clock at his independent bakery (this was the ”authentic” counterpart to that one time they made Gilles stereotypically hold up a baguette and look sexy, a.k.a. normal) and his best friend Eric’s testimonial about how he used to do the Moonwalk back when Michael Jackson was trendy. Gilles and Shawn both showed dangerous levels of delusion about DWTS‘ first-place prize: Shawn said it was ”big” and Gilles called it ”the biggest trophy on national TV in America.” I would generously label that knob of hardened glitter as a solid ”medium,” maybe even ”S/M” or ”petit” if things got slightly cryptic and/or French.

Gilles’ second dance pretty much epitomized what makes a successful Dancing With the Stars performance. Purple sequined shirt, check. Indigo pants, check. Zoom-in on four beats of Gilles’ ass (inhabited by Lil’ Kim, according to Bruno) that will appear in every promo and in-show montage for the rest of the season? Check. Perhaps you found Gilles’ salsa a bit too queso-y and over-the-top, but you have to at least hand it to Cheryl for orchestrating that booty shake. I’m sure to a very discerning eye, this salsa wasn’t technically perfect (and may not have deserved DANCMSTR’s hypothetical ”11 paddle”), but I do believe it was perfect in the setting of the semifinals of a reality show about celebrities attempting to ballroom-dance. When Gilles spun around on his knees really fast before reaching out with one meaty limb for Cheryl towards the beginning, Gilles looked like one of ”our pros.” He’s just able to ”sell it” like no one else this season, and for the first time in weeks, he sold us precisely the correct amount. Of baguettes.

NEXT: Shawn and her awful shoes