On the next-to-last performance show, the four remaining celebrities mostly fail to bring it in their two randomly selected dances
Marissa Jaret Winokur, Dancing With the Stars

”Dancing With the Stars” recap: So-so semifinals

Finally, the underwhelming season 6 of Dancing With the Stars is almost over. Wait. No, I can’t say that. What I meant was, finally, we got our first and probably only glimpse of DANCMSTR, the greatest vanity plate in the whole world, all season! The Man With the Golden Ten delivered by far the most entertaining segment of the night, cuddling with Cristián while dancing as ”the girl,” getting inappropriately felt up by Marissa, and canoodling with Kym in the back of his stretch limo. Actually, speaking of high-intensity TV segments featuring limos, Tom Bergeron ripping on that silly bloke Bachelor Matt was pretty awesome, too. ”So she gets a diamond ring, and you get a green card? That’s how that works?” Guess so!

For the semifinals, Kristi, Cristián, Jason, and Marissa each performed one standard ballroom dance and one Latin one, but this week fate determined which dances those would be. Ha. ”Fate.” The idea of the producers assuming I’d actually believe those choices were truly random is completely laughable, but not as funny as the dance-drawing method itself. Everyone pulled a mini disco ball (which then separated into halves, like a plastic egg full of jelly beans) from a super-duper giant disco ball. (We have at long last been let in on the secret of what disco balls look like inside. Red.) Here’s how the final four’s performances turned out:

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark: 57 out of a possible 60 points Kristi continues to dance way, way better than anyone else but still land within one point of the others on the useless judges’ useless leaderboard. DANCMSTR gave her two dances — the ”too hectic” tango and the ”little bit stiff” jive — the same scores he gave Jason, Marissa, and Cristián for much lesser routines. Carrie Ann pointed out Mark’s difficult choreography for the jive but said the partners were ”just a hair out of sync.” I wonder if Mark did tone down the choreo, would Kristi be able to relax and add that performance element the judges always say is lacking? Or should she dance the most complicated routines she can, because she’s that capable? Hmmm. Discuss.

One area in which Mark did show some restraint was in fish-face making during the tango. The mouth popped open, but never as widely as in the glory guppy days of weeks 4 and 5. He was trying so hard! I think he should have made an exception during the pair’s jive, when a lock of Kristi’s hair got stuck on her lip gloss for at least a minute. Mark could have brushed that distraction aside with his nimble mouth, and that imaginary guppy finally would have intercepted a snack. Everyone wins! By the way, Mark’s jive costume — which, if you inspect it closely, was even more of a fascinating monstrosity than Kristi’s pink hologrammed dress — definitely should have been included in today’s DWTS photo gallery: Season 6 Fashion Misfires. Oh, well!

NEXT: Booty and the beat

Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl: 56/60 Add Cheryl’s silver, wearable-art Viennese waltz dress to that list as well — she literally looked like the ”satellite” their song was supposed to be about. The tasty, one-armed Chilean sea bass of a man scored straight 9s for the waltz, which Bruno insisted had a ”wow factor.” This was definitely the term of the night, which made me feel confused and like a bit of a party pooper because I barely ever thought ”wow” to myself except when the camera panned backstage and I saw that Samantha Harris is still being allowed to interview humans, liiiiiiiiive!

Anyway, I recall the C&C Ballroom Factory’s samba much better, because it was so much fun and so well choreographed that I almost forgot he had a bum arm. But you and I both know the main reason I enjoyed and remembered the samba better was C&C’s side-by-side booty-shaking sequence at the top of the platform. I know it’s not complicated choreography and pretty much the definition of dumbing a dance down, but this type of crowd-pleasing junk is one of many elements lacking from season 6. After the samba failed to rupture a tendon in Cristián’s good arm, Carrie Ann likened him to Emmitt ”Twinkle Toes” Smith (in da house!) and DANCMSTR whipped out the rare food simile: ”That was hotter than a chili pepper, my Chilean friend.” He was the only judge not to score Cristián a 10 for the samba. I think it was really because during the DANCMSTR teaching segment, Cristián hilariously scored Len and Cheryl a 7 but didn’t say it with Len’s signature ”seh-ven!” inflection.

Jason Taylor and Edyta: 55/60 Huge pancake hands down, the best part of Jason and Edyta’s performance last night was their adorable ”game-plan strategy” segment, involving Edyta laying down the law as a naughty schoolteacher/coach with a penchant for leg warmers. Re: Kristi: ”Picture her as a quarterback.” Re: Cristián, Jason’s boy: ”There is no time for friendship.” The pair lucked out with the fox-trot and the paso doble — perfect for Jason, who’s had trouble with the quicker-paced Latin dances that involve more dancing out of hold. I really liked their fox-trot, or maybe I was just in a hazy, dreamlike state after noting that more than 30 percent of Edyta’s skin was swathed in pretty pastel fabric. Jason even sort of got into character, straightening his tie and acting all uppity when Edyta suddenly faced away from him. I know: I’m stretching here, but it’s something!

I wasn’t wild about Jason’s paso, which did earn a 27; considering the inflated scores across the board, a 27 is pretty much akin to ”average” at this point. I don’t personally care when there are illegal floor-spinning lifts because I find them less impressive than when they’re executed correctly, but this dance definitely had one. And aside from some unexpectedly quick hip swiveling for a few beats, I didn’t think we saw anything new from the star Bruno said has ”the strength and momentum of Iron Man.” Ooh, topical! But that’s not all: DANCMSTR joked that Jason was ”a bit like the price of gas — you’re going up!” Ha! Current affairs! And then Jason took it even further, promising Samantha that if people voted for him, he’d lower taxes, provide free health care to everyone, and bring home the troops (adding that he really wishes he could do the last one). Then he said, word for word, ”I get to dance, which I didn’t really want to do. But I’m here now, so I’m doing it.” And there you have it: This candidate’s ringing endorsement for Marissa and Cristián.

NEXT: The judges’ rumba rumble

Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony: 52/60 Marissa is nowhere near the skill level of the other three, which means she got scored two very, very scary…[shudder]…8s. Breathe; it’s okay. During a taped visit from Stacy Keibler, the girls ganged up on Tony and his asexuality for no apparent reason (Marissa later expressed concern to Samantha that she should have seen when they ”made so much fun of him,” and everyone watching or listening, including Sam, was like, ”We did.”) The quickstep was the pair’s better dance, even though Marissa’s long red-violet dress rivaled last week’s pewter nightmare and Sabrina’s season 5 Grimace gown for the most unflattering garment ever. The judges acknowledged the difficulty of the dance but took points away for a missed jeté. (I know the word jeté!)

Marissa’s rumba was slow and boring (except for a fun wardrobe malfunction at the end), but even more painful was its gruesome aftermath. The judges engaged in a collective hissy fit debating the ”wow factor” of the rumba — after Carrie Ann started out with a dreadful ”Ohhhhhhh, Marissa…” and said the dance did nothing for her, DANCMSTR condescended to Carrie Ann by using her name while sitting right next to her. (This is very effective, and annoying.) Bruno lobbed a halfhearted compliment about how Marissa ”sustained a lovely backbend,” a comment so ridiculous that C.A. had to snap, ”It’s not exciting enough at this stage! Come on, you guys have high standards for everybody else.” Now, the judges criticizing each other for their questionable and constantly shifting ”standards” is ludicrous, but C.A.’s definitely right — at least in my opinion, the rumba is barely ever exciting on this show. Off with its head, I say! And I kind of wanted to lop off Marissa’s head, Queen of Hearts-style, when she pleaded with the audience: ”Keep voting for us because we deserve to be here!” If only Super Mario, equipped with Fire Flower balls, was lurking behind the poo-colored trains of Sam’s ill-conceived dress. Wow, Annie, awesome visual all around. What better way to end the column?

How about this? Doesn’t it look like they’re standing effortlessly atop a body of liquid, à la Jesus and/or Peter Sellers in Being There (and/or, by that extension, Charlize Theron in Arrested Development)? You heard it here first: The C&C Ballroom Factory will save us all!

What do you think? Does Marissa deserve to be there? In what universe? Should the judges have scored some of the dancers lower than an 8? And which stars do you think will make the most entertaining final three?

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