Louis Van Amstel’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 14 Dish: Semi-Finals

By ABC News

May 15, 2012 9:12am

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Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis van Amstel blogs on season 14 of “DWTS.” The three-time world dance champion and creator of LaBlast fitness-based dance DVD workouts starred on seven seasons of the hit ABC show and weighs in on the dances, the judges scores and who will be eliminated. You can find him on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel.

This week is the hardest week of the season. Between who’s going to be in the final three and the two full solo dances, the pressure is at an all-time high. The dances are also longer, which gives the celebs more material to memorize. Let’s see how the couples did!

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William Levy and Cheryl Burke’s Tango.  Very good and competent.  Great frame, great close hold. Definitely a “9.” For a “10″ it needed more energy and more charisma and more fighting spirit. Looking at William’s tango, I saw nothing wrong, but something was missing. I’m glad the judges were positive.  From a dancing point of view, it wasn’t a “10.”  The “9s” were good and deserved.

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas’ Quick Step.  Very good job, but it was a shame that Katherine missed and got her feet tangled in the beginning. Overall it was a little too timid and careful, in my opinion. I do not agree with Carrie Ann; it was not her best dance by far. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Len. I do love Katherine and I think she deserves a spot in the final because of all of her brilliant performances throughout the season. Scores were not a “10,” but a worthy of a “9.” How can it be a “10″ with a boo-boo? A few weeks ago she deserved a “10,” but did not get it.  Not tonight, in my opinion.

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Waltz.  What I love about Donald is that he even pays attention to the rise and fall, and he even makes heel leads when stepping forward. Is it important on “DWTS?” Not really.  But if you do it, it should really be commended. Like William and Katherine, Donald does a great job but I think everyone is tentative tonight.  Maybe because of the double dances. It was beautiful, but it was not Donald’s best dance.   His frame wasn’t as clean as I have seen it before.  I totally agree with what Bruno said in the beginning.  I just wish Bruno would be consistent in other weeks when it is the Jive against the Foxtrot or the Tango versus the Paso Doble!  I like the fact the judges are being nice tonight but they are over-scoring. It wasn’t a “10″ level dance. As diplomatic as I sound, so far I would have given every couple so far “9s,” not a “10.”

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough’s Tango. Upper body great and very sophisticated. I love Maria’s determination.  She will not give up. I have said this before, but I believe that’s the reason why everyone has grown to love Maria. She looks gorgeous, but her legs were not always finished. Her legs could have been stronger, especially in her lines. Overall, it was great. Again, she held back. No one has really taken the trophy yet. I would love to give her “10s” for her determination, but her legs were not finished at times. As much as I love her, it is a dance show as well.  Her score was high.

William Levy and Cheryl Burke’s Samba. I am happy to see a Samba, a dance with such high energy, at this stage of the competition. But, in this dance, William also held back. He shows pretty good technique and a solid physical performance but I’d like to see William show more emotional enthusiasm. All couples have put in a lot of work but the night can be won by anybody at this point. I am glad the judges are enthusiastic but I wish the energy of the Samba would live up to that. As happy I am that William got three “10s,” in my book, that was deserving of, yet again, three “9s.”

In weeks where I feel couples deserve “10s,”  they get “8s” and “9s,” but in weeks when the dances lack energy and the performances have mistakes the judges are too liberal with their “10s.”  Tonight, no one deserved  a “10,” but there were other weeks where couples deserved “10s” but didn’t get them. Sometimes that’s so frustrating for the viewers and the couples.

Katherine Jenkins and Mark  Ballas’ Salsa. I agree with Carrie Ann that this is much better than the first round.  What a shame that Katherine fell. What I do appreciate about Katherine is that she keeps pushing her personal boundaries. She looks more daring and feisty in her Salsa. I hope Katherine is OK. This was the first score of the night that, in my opinion, was scored correctly, with three “9s.”

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Samba. I think this was way better than the first round. Donald’s  energy is back. Good overall technique. This week, in both dances, I feel the performance level is not as outgoing and fresh as in weeks before. Again, I thought it was great, but not a “10.” Call me negative, but tonight was not as good as previous weeks where his performance deserved three “10s” (like his Viennese Waltz). For once I agree with Bruno, especially after seeing his package. It is nice to see Donald live up to his energy on the dance floor. Still, he held back, but, then again, no one has lived up to their other performances. In one respect it’s disappointing but, in another respect, it is rewarding because it means that the game is open for everyone.

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough’s Jive.  Clever opening and very promising sailor shuffles. Great performance that was very theatrical. As promising as I thought the beginning was, this Jive had a lot of gimmicks by Derek. I would have liked to see more Maria dancing Jive patterns and kicks.

Overall:  Even though I appreciate Len’s words tonight about this Jive lacking content yet him loving it anyway, in past weeks when people were entertaining but lacked content he would tear them part. That is not fair. I’ve never said this before but tonight all performances were “9s,” in my opinion. Everyone did a good job tonight, but no “10s” for me tonight. The video packages are so heartfelt that it is difficult to criticize the celebrities knowing how much hard work they put into tonight. But honestly it was no one’s best performance. BUT it is fun to know that the mirrorball trophy can be anyone’s this season. And your votes really count this season! With all of these “9s” and “10s,” the viewers’ votes will make the decision.

Please share your opinions with me on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel. If you agree or disagree I’m ready to hear all about it! Visit www.lablastfitness.com for more info about Louis Van Amstel, LaBlast or to find out how to get his DVD workout series.

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