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DWTS recap: The American icon episode

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American icons night found an icon sitting at the judges’ table in the form of Kenny Ortega. The final five contestants each danced twice in this the semi-finals of the competition. All the stars also spoke to inspirational figures seeking advice and encouragement in the last show before the finale.

The Scores:

  1. Meryl and Maks – 80
  2. Amy and Derek – 78
  3. Charlie and Sharna – 76
  4. James and Peta – 76
  5. Candace and Mark – 72

The Highlights:

Charlie met up with legendary skater Scott Hamilton for some advice during rehearsal week. Despite being in jeopardy this week, Charlie really showed his skills in the Foxtrot. It was as though a renewed energy had come over him. The dance was upbeat, dynamic and never predictable. Sharna also brilliantly gave Charlie a solo at the end for him to do what he does best with a series of spins.

Amy and Derek received a call from one of their biggest fans-Oprah Winfrey-during rehearsal. (She promised to take them to dinner if they win!) They danced the Quick Step after finding out they were also in jeopardy. Amy had the pleasure of bouncing and gliding around the floor with a set of running legs. This was such a great performance that it is worth a second watch. Amy was so energetic and appeared to be having a lot of fun as she did not require so much support from her partner.

L.A. Reed popped in on James at the rehearsal space to give him some pointers. It also happens that James and Peta would be dancing the Cha-cha-cha to a new track from Michael Jackson’s final album. (Song co-author Paul Anka was also in the audience) Theirs was the most exciting choreography of the evening. The balance between the actual ballroom technique and pop dance (James can moonwalk!) was just perfect. If you only watch (or re-watch) one performance of the evening, the Cha-cha-cha would be a great choice.

Meryl had the opportunity to speak with Olympian and Season 6 winner Kristi Yamaguchi. Then she took to the floor in a Jive with Maks who was channeling Elvis Presley. As usual, Meryl looked like she could have been a pro. Or at least have a career in ballroom once she retires from skating. She was so precise and in sync with Maks that it was almost boring. Almost.

Choreographers Christopher Scott and Derek Hough collaborated for the final Macy’s Stars of Dance performance. This tribute to old Hollywood was fun and visually exciting with a large cast and little nods to classic film dance scenes.

For their second performance, Candace and Mark danced in the Jazz style with Candace looking like the epitome of a Fosse heroine. Jazz is a perfect style for Candace. Not only was she so in sync with Mark, she also managed a good dose of attitude required to make the dance believable.

The other memorable Jazz performance in the second half of the show came from Amy and Derek. With the exception of one little bit of the dance, their unison was brilliant as they used a table as a third partner. The dance looked like a huge dose of fun and Amy’s musicality is really spectacular.

All three Olympians (Charlie, Amy and Meryl) were in jeopardy this week and danced very well despite that news hanging over their heads for most of the evening. Charlie and Sharna were the ones eliminated-to everyone’s surprise.

Be sure to watch next week for the season finale to find out who takes home the mirror ball. Albuquerque viewers can catch DWTS on ABC channel 7 Monday at 7 p.m. (MST).

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