I think we can all agree that American Icons isn't much of a theme, right? Personally, I didn't feel like there was much consistency throughout the semifinals, which didn't bother me all that much, but I just sort of felt like there didn't even need to be a theme. The theme was that it was the semifinals, and everyone was "Under Pressure." Get it? My American Icons would be Queen! OK, that's precisely why this night didn't work.
Tonight's guest judge was director/choreographer Kenny Ortega, who has more credit in the dance world than just about any guest judge we've seen. Sure, he didn't have Ricky Martin's pants or Redfoo's hair, but at least he didn't have Abby Lee Miller's anything, am I right?
All in all, I thought Kenny was a tad bland, but I will say that his comment about what he was looking for threw me for a loop. I had barely opened my Diet Pepsi for the evening when I had to write this down: "I'm looking to see you surrender to one another, enjoy yourselves, and take me to a place I've never been." I'm not sure what show you think you signed up for Kenny, but we keep things PG over here on DWTS.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 34/40 First up, we went into rehearsals with Candace and Mark, who actually sort of stole my heart in their discussion about dancing to Janet Jackson's "Nasty." Candace admitted she wasn't nasty; Mark creeped her out. It was an all-around good time. And no, there's not a dance where she can just go "Heyyyyy." But suddenly, I really wish there was.
This week, contestants also got to meet with a personal icon, and for Candace, that was Angela Thomas, a Bible teacher and author. Thomas helped Candace realize that her dances are less for millions of people and more for an "audience of one." And no, she wasn't talking about her Aunt Becky, Lori Loughlin, who was in the house -- the full house, if you will. (I'm here all night!)
First, Candace and Mark had a waltz that was just plain painful. My only good note happened at the very beginning and consisted of two words: "Good walking." Good walking, guys. Honestly. But this dance fell apart quickly after Candace messed up and basically crumbled before our eyes. Mark had to physically move her arm at one point in the routine. Had she literally stopped moving?!
Also, I found it fitting how the dance ended with him walking away with a suitcase, presumably going to pick up another partner. OK, that was harsh, but as Carrie Ann would say, "It's my job!"
The judges recognized that the pressure got to her, but they cheered her on for her second number. Bruno mentioned how she needed to watch her face, because her mistake was apparent in her panicked expression. As my American Icon would say, "The show must go on!"
And in case you were wondering, Mark was whispering steps into her ear trying to get her through. Also, somehow -- no thanks to me -- Candace was safe. As bad as that dance was, I will say that celebration was pretty epic. Mark could barely hold her back. Why can't she move like that when it counts?
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 40/40 After talking to his idol, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, Charlie prepared for a samba to "Mo Money, Mo Problems" -- yes, you read that correctly. As Sharna put it, "Hip-hop doesn't really sit well on Charlie's body." As if we couldn't tell from the way he said, "More Money, More Problems." Although, he had no problem saying, "Welcome to New York, b---h," which I found endlessly fascinating and oddly charming.
First up, Charlie and Sharn's foxtrot marked the return of that freakin' cane! Thankfully, Sharna threw it away before he could drop it, but then he dropped his handkerchief. Stop it with the props already! As my roommate put it, "Why does she keep doing this to him?" And as I put it (in my head), "Why does she keep doing this to me?!" Thankfully, the number recovered and ended with Charlie doing twirls on twirls on twirls, being all "Welcome to the Olympics, b---h!" At least that's what he was saying in my head.
Kenny wanted to pop some champagne and called Charlie the toast of New York. Bruno loved the sophistication, and Carrie Ann -- whose hair looked really full and awesome tonight -- gave it a brilliant times-3. Len? "Just right tonight, Charlie White. End of story." Oh, Len.
And in my weekly relationship with Erin, I think I'm officially on board. She both hated on the cane and said the phrase "Make it rain." It's official: I can't hate that woman.
NEXT: Who's Oprah Winfrey?