It came as no surprise that midway through the Week 8 results show, Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were kindly asked to perform their final psychedelic dance of the season and then float off into Planet Mirrorballus' outer atmosphere like Wendy and Peter Pan. It's what they were dressed for! Plus, despite an amusing rapport with her sturdy-buttocked partner, Kirstie was the least talented dancer of the bunch. Bon voyage, dear sparkaliens! Enjoy the trip.
But that second of Tuesday's eliminations was REALLY TENSE. Either Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff or Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd, two of the strongest couples, would head home. Neither would have been a complete shock because we still have no idea how people are voting, and clearly the judges' scores mean nothing. In the end I'm sure I'd have been more upset if Apolo and Karina had to skate away. But I teared up for Gilles anyway, even though he hasn't been my fave (contrary to what I predicted months ago) this season.
Something was different with Gilles as an All-Star compared to his run on season 8. It wasn't that he became smug or arrogant, nothing like that. He just seemed to lose the sense of fun and absurdity that should be a prerequisite for entry into DWTS' alternate universe. I think loyal EW.com hidden gem hunter Wiltasaurus might have put it best: "I'm really not liking Gilles' 'I must be perfect!' attitude. Seriously, you're on Mirrorballus. It's the center of all ridiculata in the cosmos. You either get with the program and embrace the cheese, or take the next spaceship back to Earth." An anonymous dinosaur has read my mind!
Tonight I was working on hidden gems up until the final moments of the results show (didn't it used to be on at 9 instead of 8? What gives?) so I knew the results by the time I watched all the segments leading up to Gilles' tragedy. I admit I lost my breath a little when Gilles -- high on his two "From Len, a 10!"s and whatever other fumes circulate the planet's jewel-studded crust -- enthused, "I'm warmed up! I'm ready for the semifinals" during his post-trio confessional. It was like watching someone's home videos, recorded just before he died. Not recommended. Sorry that got way dark for a minute!
Meanwhile, the semifinal dance selections gave us a chance to see once again how the contestants rank cumulatively. Melissa's on top -- then Shawn, formerly Gilles (sniff!), Apolo, Emmitt, and finally Kelly. So we might have expected Emmitt or Kelly to head home this week. But football and soap opera fan bases are some powerful things. And based on history, the judges aren't about to get harsh with Emmitt, who's great at hip-swiveling and smiling, but not necessarily dancing. During Monday's Viennese waltz, we saw a DANCMSTR subtitle in line with the sort of comments Len has been giving Emmitt all season. Bruno melodramatically flopped all over the table re: an Emmitt flaw, and Len curtly replied "Just a little slip -- I don't care."
I'm not complaining, though! This will be a tremendously strong semifinals -- five couples this time instead of four -- and I'm super psyched. Here's your SEMIFINALS DANCE CARD, with bizarre dance/theme combos chosen by the couples for the other couples in another "game show" setting (this one not nearly as fun).
Melissa and Tony: "Caveman" Hustle
Shawn and Derek: "Knight Rider" Bhangra
Apolo and Karina: "Big Top" Jazz ("like circus scatting or something," offered Tom)
Emmitt and Cheryl: "Espionage" Lindy Hop
Kelly and Val: "Surfer" Flamenco
"I don't know what the producers were smoking -- I'm sure it was medicinal," quipped Tom. Isn't California the best?
NEXT: The Top 7 ("seh-vehhhhhn!") moments of the results show