Dancing with the Stars 24: Fast Forward to the Finals
The show must go on... again.
So maybe Heather Morris in Week 6 was just a prelude to the real shocker. With such an excellent cast, there was bound to be some surprising eliminations, but this Semi-Final elimination may be of the Jennifer Hudson/American Idol variety.
Here's what happened.
Normani Kordei & Val
Week 9 Dance #1: Waltz
Normani and Val chose a Waltz by Rihanna for their first Week 9 Semi-Final performance. Interestingly enough, Kordei's style this season seems to match well with Rihanna - Talented, a little edgy, a bold point of view, and beautiful.
They are sweeping through the competition, and this Waltz (Viennese Waltz) added plenty of style points and tender moments to complement what they've shown so far this season.
Week 9 Dance #2: Jazz
In a touching tribute to her childhood in New Orleans, Normani and Val turned in a tour de force performance that should remove any doubt as to her place in this season's finale.
Val has been refining Kordei's dance skills throughout the season, and this Jazz performance was a composite of so much of the poise, character, and quality movement we've seen throughout.
Makes us all want to grab a cafe au lait, a beignet, and watch it all over again.
There's nothing stopping Normani and Val from winning the Mirrorball trophy.
David Ross & Lindsay
Week 9 Dance #1: Foxtrot
David Ross has show us some Hip Hop, a little Magic Mike, and a Futuristic Salsa... so, seeing him in a top hat dancing a Foxtrot seemed a little jarring. Nevertheless, he and Lindsay displayed a great topline complemented by solid footwork.
While the top hat and kick line seemed like a bit of a "look we can be sophisticated" over-correction, Ross has still had an incredible season thus far, and the public is now able to see just how versatile and dynamic Lindsay is as a teacher.
Week 9 Dance #2: Tango
This Tango had a slow build up. What started as a "nice Tango" eventually developed into something a little more dynamic. While the Ed Sheeran song is popular, and has a great message, it didn't quite send the menacing and powerful vibes their way.
That being said, the routine finished strong with some excellent picture lines and very synchronized transitions.
David Ross' season has been a strategic masterstroke. By emphasizing the fun, character-driven dance performances early, Lindsay was able to capitalize on Ross' personality early. Had these two performances in the Semi-Finals been in weeks one and two, there's a good chance Ross wouldn't have made it this far.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater
Week 9 Dance #1: Rumba
You've got to hand it to Rashad Jennings. He doesn't look like a guy who is still clinging to his comfort zone. He has given maximum effort and it has paid off. As much as his dancing has improved, it's his effort and willingness that truly stand out.
His Rumba featured some very challenging leg lines. Getting picky, there were times when he could have shifted his torso over his standing leg more, but that's a lot to ask for a guy in less that a week. That being said, this Rumba is perfect evidence why he will be the last man standing on Season 24.
Week 9 Dance #2: Quickstep
Rashad left it all on the floor with this Quickstep. What he may have been lacking in his dance frame, he more than made up for in his performance. He and Emma are a formidable tandem and they ticked all the boxes of what a Pro/Am Quickstep should look like.
Rashad and Emma have taken a very football-like mentality to this season - "put your head down and grind". While many of the other celebrities may have been garnering the attention based on their pre-DWTS resume, this assembled an audience based on their resume on the show, and it has continued to grow. Look for Jennings in the runner up spot in the Finals.
Simone Biles & Sasha
Week 9 Dance #1: Jive
Simone and Sasha turned in another high flying performance with their Arcade-inspired Jive. She showed even more personality and enthusiasm, while Sasha showed more of his acrobatic dance moves. By any other standard, this would be a fantastic routine, but this didn't seem to have the same impact as their Charleston in Week 7.
Week 9 Dance #2: Rumba
A touching story, to a wonderful song, set this up as an absolute win for Simone and Sasha. Unfortunately, it didn't strike the emotional chords that were intended. If this were a movie, there needed to be a slow and steady closeup to capture the weight of the moment, not a fast and furious action sequence.
Simone's performance was impressive, but it missed the chance of really tugging at the heartstrings.
Simone Biles was eliminated in Week 9, to the shock and alarm of everyone watching. This was just another example of an unexpected plot twist in the unpredictable nature of viewer voting. She was clearly a favorite to win it all, but where she was excelling in skill, the viewers always seem to favor a great before and after.
For Biles, the before (Gold Medalist Athlete) and after (Gold Medalist athlete turned dancer) didn't prompt viewers to call or click for her. We will be exploring this further this week leading up to the finals.
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