At the start of the semi-final round of "Dancing With The Stars," we weren't really focused so much on who danced what and how well they did it. All eyes were on Kym Johnson after her terrifying fall last week during rehearsals with her partner Hines Ward. They showed the accident during their pre-tape segment and it's something I only ever want to see once. It looked horribly painful, and sounded even worse. When we heard her say "I can't feel my arms," my heart sank. But that Kym is a trouper, and somehow she rebounded enough to perform not one, not two, but three dances for this round. So bravo to Ms. Johnson!
Now back to the competition: each couple performed two full dance routines, and then took part in some sort of "Cha Cha dance off." I'm not really sure why this third round of dancing was added to the competition, but it did mean we got to see a whole lot of fancy footwork and happy hips on the dance floor tonight. Here's a rundown, from highest score to lowest. SPOILER ALERT
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas - 73 points out of 60
Chelsea and Mark Ballas had a great score of 58 out of 60 after their solo dances. The couple went on to win the "cha cha off," so they got to add 15 "bonus" points to their score.
Chelsea's first dance was the Argentine Tango, and even though the judges gave them 28 points, both Len Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba felt the young star wasn't quite giving it her all. She rebounded with dance number two, a Rumba that earned a perfect 30 from the judges.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson - 60 points out of 60
Hines and Kym received perfect 30's for both their Tango and their Salsa. There was a scary little bit of foreshadowing during their first pre-taped piece, with Kym telling Hines she wanted to do things she's never done, and that it's all about taking risks. Then the big crash (the one we shall never speak of again but that landed Kym in an ambulance and a neck brace).
Scary moments for all involved, but after they took the dance floor, performed a perfect Tango, and received a standing ovation, Hines couldn't hold back the emotion and the tears flowed. And once he was crying, everybody was crying. Best moment of the night.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy - 54 points out of 60
Kirstie and Maksim Chmerkovskiy received 27 points for each of their dances, the Viennese Waltz and the Paso Doble.
Len told Kirstie she drew the short straw because she had to learn two of the toughest dances on the card. But the two received praise all the way around and have to be pleased with both their performance and their scores.
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff - 48 points out of 60
So I'm thinking this "Cha Cha off" was initially invented to help guys like Ralph... contestants who are right on the edge of success, and fan favorites, who could benefit from a little boost. Tom Bergeron tried to explain just why we needed this new segment; I guess to help appease people who thought Brandy and Sabrina Bryan were gone too soon in past seasons.
Anyway, it didn't help Ralph because he was at the bottom of this round, too. His Argentine Tango and Salsa were perfectly acceptable, but at this stage of the competition, you have to be great. At least his knee is better!
Who goes home and which three couples make it to the finals next week? We'll find out Tuesday night!