Dancing with the Stars: Season 29 Semi-Finals – Redemption Never Smelled So Sweet

The final six contestants danced their hearts out in the Semi-Finals this week, showing the audience how much they really want to compete in the finals. I was so amazed by how much each of the remaining celebrities had improved throughout the competition. This week’s episode of Dancing with the Stars was one that I enjoyed watching. I was also impressed with the opening of the show where the remaining contestants were talking to the viewers that have voted as if they were in a call center. It was so funny for the viewers to find out they were talking to the real celebrity. I wasn’t a fan of Tyra’s outfit this week; it was a little too extra for me.

Now the moment you have been waiting for. The final six’s dances of the night:

Redemption Dance

Skai Jackson (partner: Alan Bersten)

Judge: Bruno

Dance: Cha Cha to “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior

Score: 27

Thoughts: I thought that Skai did much better this time around dancing the Cha Cha. She seemed like she was more into it and she had smoother movements. I still felt like her arm was stiff, though.

Justina Machado (partner: Sasha Farber)

Judge: Derek Hough

Dance: Tango to “El Tango de Roxanne” by Jose Feliciano, Ewan McGregor, and Jacek Koman  

Score: 28

Thoughts: I thought that Derek gave Justina and Sasha some great pointers for their redemption dance. They took his advice to heart regarding how hoppy she was last time. I did think she was hurrying a little bit throughout the dance, but that could have also been the choreography. Otherwise, it was good. I was excited to see her finally get a 10.

Johnny Weir (partner: Britt Stewart)

Judge: Carrie Ann Inaba

Dance: Salsa to “X” by Jonas Brothers

Score: 27

Thoughts: I was expecting this caliber of dancing from Johnny all season since he was a figure skater and should have a certain amount of poise. I finally got it with this dance. He redeemed himself from the last time he danced Salsa. He was on point and in control of Britt this time. It also didn’t seem as hokey as before.

Nelly (partner: Daniella Karagach)

Judge: Bruno

Dance: Paso Doble to “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid

Score: 26

Thoughts: I was so glad that Nelly got Bruno as the judge to help him improve upon his dance. I’m pretty sure that Bruno may have a slight crush on Nelly, but I digress. I thought that Nelly improved from the last time he danced the Paso, but it seemed like his footwork was off. Derek wanted to see attack from him, which I thought he had, but hey, I’m not the dancer.

Nev Schulmann (partner: Jenna Johnson)

Judge: Derek Hough

Dance: Foxtrot to “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles  

Score: 30

Thoughts: I love that Derek pointed out that the last time Nev did the foxtrot “his tush was in a different area code”. Nev’s redemption dance was just that. His posture was much better, and his butt was not sticking out. He is a much better dancer technically than he was at the beginning of the season (yes, I know he has experience, but it is a different kind of dancing).

Kaitlyn Bristowe (partner: Artem Chigvintsev)

Judge: Carrie Ann Inaba

Dance: Paso Doble to “Hanuman” by Rodrigo y Gabriela

Score: 30

Thoughts: I can appreciate that Carrie Ann wanted to clear up that her criticisms towards Kaitlyn were nothing personal, which she knew (the media blew their relationship out of proportion…shocker). Kaitlyn had more power and attack dancing the Paso Doble this time. Weirdly enough, there was also a classiness to it that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a Paso Doble before. Derek described it best, saying that she was like the “silent attacker”.

New Dances

Justina Machado (partner: Sasha Farber)

Dance: Contemporary to “Holding Out for a Hero” by Ella Mae Bowen and Bonnie Tyler

Score: 30

Thoughts: This dance was a clear symbol of the partnership that Justina and Sasha have had throughout the season, which has been one of my favorites. Justina was graceful and she made the choreography of the dance look effortless.

Skai Jackson (partner: Alan Bersten)

Dance: Viennese Waltz to “Lonely” by Noah Cyrus

Score: 30

Thoughts: I didn’t connect with what Skai had to say about how lonely she felt working as a child actor. I also think that her story in the video package wasn’t relatable to the viewing audience either. However, her dance was great. She had a great hold and was light on her feet.

Johnny Weir (partner: Britt Stewart)

Dance: Jazz to “I Lived” by OneRepublic

Score: 30

Thoughts: This dance felt like it was a little bit of jazz and a little bit of contemporary, but it worked. There was grace and passion with this dance. I thought that this was Johnny’s best dance of the season.

Nev Schulmann (partner: Jenna Johnson)

Dance: Contemporary to “If the World Was Ending” by JP Saxe and Julia Michaels

Score: 30

Thoughts: Nev talked about how appropriate this song was for this year as it felt like the world was ending throughout this pandemic, which spoke to me. His dance was one of the best Contemporary dances that I have seen on this show as well. It was difficult to see who the pro was and who the celebrity was. Jenna’s choreography is one of the best that I have seen on the show. It was so precise, and the dance made me a little emotional.

Nelly (partner: Daniella Karagach)

Dance: Jive to “Jump, Jive and Wail” by Brian Setzer Orchestra  

Score: 30 (what?!)

Thoughts: You could tell how much Nelly wanted to improve and get this dance right based on the frustration he was feeling. However, I didn’t feel like he was as good as everyone was saying. I thought he didn’t have the flicks and kicks that they talk about the jive having and it felt like he was trying to keep up with Daniella. I didn’t think his Jive deserved 10’s all around. There was something about the dance that reminded me of Rashad and Emma’s Jive in season 24 and I distinctly remember that dance not getting a perfect score. Keep it consistent.

Kaitlyn Bristowe (partner: Artem Chigvintsev)

Dance: Contemporary to “Cowboy Take Me Away” by The Chicks

Score: 30

Thoughts: Kaitlyn dedicated her dance to her best friend in high school, who died in a car accident. Her best friend had asked that this song be played at her funeral. Kaitlyn was effortless in the way she moved, and I was just blown away by how good this dance was.

Now for the moment of truth. I said before that everyone’s dances were good, and it was hard to see someone go. The first elimination occurred based on the least amount of viewer votes, which ended up being Johnny and Britt. I was upset that they did not make it to the finals. He has vastly improved throughout the season and I would have loved to have seen a freestyle between him and Britt. I also think that the quality of talent among the final four would have been at another level if he made it to the finals.  

The second elimination contained the Judge’s Save. Justina and Sasha and Skai and Alan ended up in the bottom two. It was clear that Justina has been more consistent and scoring better throughout the season, thus having the judges save her and eliminate Skai and Alan.

Our finalists for season 29 of Dancing with the Stars are Nelly and Daniella, Nev and Jenna, Kaitlyn and Artem and Justina and Sasha. I’m disappointed to see Nelly in the finals. I didn’t think that he had improved enough to end up in the finals. My fear this season is that we will have a situation like one with Bobby Bones in season 27. I like Nelly, don’t get me wrong, but the other three finalists are much stronger dancers and much more deserving of hoisting that Mirrorball over their heads. I say this with some variation every season, but if he ends up winning, I don’t believe I will watch this show much longer. I have said before that I have had a love-hate relationship with this show since it seems like since season 24 or so that this is a popularity contest. If this ends up being the case that season 29 is also a popularity contest, sorry, ABC, but you may have lost a viewer.

I’m hoping to see Kaitlyn and Artem or Justina and Sasha win this whole thing. Neither of their pros have won before (well, Artem has won a Glitterball on Strictly Come Dancing, which is the U.K.’s version of Dancing with the Stars and the mothership of the U.S. version) and both of their partners have the talent to get them to the top. However, I would also be happy to see Jenna win her second Mirrorball. We’ll have to tune in next week to find out who will be the victor.

(Picture courtesy of ABC/Disney)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s