It seems like just yesterday we were saying goodbye to Nathan Bracken but tonight, only his wife and three others remain as they battle it out in the semi final! Who will be put through; Haley Bracken, Samantha Armytage, Manu Feildel or Damien Leith? I reckon I know who it will be!
Dan & Sonia join us on the dance floor tonight (I really think they should come down those lovely stairs). They quickly introduce the four remaining celebrities.
They are all glammed up; boy stars on one side, girl stars on the other. The hosts faulter in getting the audience excited at first about the looming final (Maybe because they keep bloody mentioning it!) with Sonia reminding us yet again about tonight’s ‘winner takes all dance off’. She mentions having the contestants needing to learn three dances tonight. The hosts have a quick word with the contestants before introducing the judges.
First up with their first dance, Manu Feildel! They are doing the samba AND the tango this week. Is that combined?! I guess we’ll find out soon.
Onto the dance floor and it seems that they are only dancing the samba, meaning the tango comes later. It is very camp with a lot of colours. I just laugh at the lip syncing Manu and his maracas. It is very fun and it’s very easy to get involved in. I just want to dance!
Overall, it is very hard to deny Feildel’s passion in the dance and I definitely think this will get him through to the final!
To the judges and Todd loves Manu’s ‘set of maracas’ calling it hilarious and perfect, thanking Manu for taking all their criticism on board.
Helen thinks they played it start, calling it ‘full on’ and exactly what she wanted to see. Josh however thinks it too forever to get started. The audience, as instructed by Todd, boos. Josh calls it an ‘OK’ routine. And yay, break time!
In the green room, Sonia notices the judges like his wardrobe this week! The judges score it a 24. No tens; I was expecting a bigger score.
With that, Manu has done his first dance with Haley Bracken up next. This week, she will be performing both a Paso Doble and a waltz on the back of her 30/30 dance last week. Can she pull it off (TWICE!) again this week?!
With her first dance (waltz), I actually feel ‘well, we see this every week!’ I don’t know if it is her constant dress colour (pale white and sparkly). The dance itself was spectacular with a brilliant lift and spin scoring a huge reaction from the crowd. Haley is embracing her emotions and while many stars faulter on the Paso Doble, she may have pulled it off!
Josh calls them focused and calls the performance strong and stunning, telling Haley that she is ‘extremely deserving’ of a place in the finals.
Todd tells her she has met their expectations and thanks her so much for her commitment and effort, calling her gorgeous.
Helen thought her working on the floor was brilliant and congratulates the two of them, telling them they used all the elements presented to them.
Haley nearly tears up at the wonderful comments and back in the green room, I would expect Haley is waiting for another perfect ten. Sonia mentions the next season of this show, calling it ‘possible’. Yeah, I think it’s happening.
For the second time, Haley gets a perfect score and she begins to cry. Very strong display of emotions!
After the break, Damien Leith is up for his first dance and after last week’s disastrous performance (according to Todd); he would hope to regain some of that good advice. He will be performing a rumba and a waltz. Can he pull off the latter?
Their first dance is a rumba and they will perform to a score by The Fray. Damien has a lot of emotion in his face and can he pull off those dreaded ‘figure of eight’ hip movements? I think he did a good job.
Not much to say about the dance, it was great, I enjoyed it, but at the end, the dress kind of got caught around his head. There are a few people in the audience that seem to stand up against their will!!
Helen thinks it is fantastic that they are not showing pain considering the tough rumba they had to perform. She liked the figure of eight but said it was a little uncoordinated.
Todd thought that with the epic music, he was swamped, not expressing the movements as much as he should have.
Josh agrees with the judges, but loves his commitment to the dance. Josh loves the fact that he’s a bit of a softie.
In the green room, they grab the scores for Damien, who seems happy to do some Lady GaGa in his new album! To the scores and he gets a 21, in last place, but a great result.
Now for this season’s wildcard, Samantha Armytage, who will be dancing the difficult Paso Doble & Waltz. She has her work cut out for her.
With the waltz first, and she starts off a little awkward. I think it is really impossible for her to move too fast, just due to her large bones. Her foot work is brilliant but I don’t think it is any different to other dances she has done, which is why I am nervous for the judge’s comments.
She is very puffed as we go to the judges.
Todd first and foremost, tells Sam quite cheekily that they are as surprised as she is at making it to week nine. It was a comment that just sounded immature and wrong. Todd thinks Brendan just wants to put lifts in his performances but as Brendan tells him he isn’t, Todd tells him it wasn’t a good lift and it wasn’t necessary. Todd doesn’t like the ‘beautiful’ back bend.
Josh likes how she looks safe with Brendan but says she has sagginess in her arms as she holds on to Brendan. He congratulates her however, calling it her best performance but says it was too late.
Helen thought she started off quite well but lost it in the middle. She acknowledges that she is improving but also condemns the lift.
Back in the green room, Samantha gets a 17 but Sonia tells her she got a lot of positive comments as well. Looking at the leaderboard (after an awkward moment where Sonia passes back to Dan:
Daniel welcomes us to round 2 and before Manu goes for his second dance, Daniel interviews him, noticing his change of pants. Manu funnily calls it Dan’s fault that he changed out of his yellow pants.
It’s tango time now and I much preferred the last dance. This one was a little too slow for my liking. I do however like Manu’s continued emotion! Loving it, Manu!
To the judges and Todd tells him he is rising to the challenge at the right time, calling him relaxed!
Helen says she can see his love for music, saying he feels it. She tells him not too lose this.
Josh loved the dance and the attention to detail! Another brilliant comment for Manu and he is off!
Back in the green room, and Manu scores an extra 25 points for the second routine- 49 points!
Sonia reads out some tweets before we head straight into Haley Bracken’s dance.
This time, it is the Paso Doble and might I say, it is very interesting. Firstly, the dance starts after an awkward pause (probably the show and the band’s fault) but the dance itself is full of movement, rhythm and colour. Definitely another standout performance from the stellar Haley Bracken! Kudos also for the brilliant band and that wonderful song!
Straight to the judges and Josh gives them another ‘wow’ before he tells Haley that her leg kick could be much better. Otherwise, Josh seemed to really enjoy it, calling it hot!
After Josh’s comments, which were quite animated, Todd says ‘I can’t wait for the promos’. Josh then gracefully (NOT) says ‘at least it’s me!’ before mimicking a spoilt child. I don’t know whether this is a dig at the promo hogging Todd or just a bit of comedy, but it got the audience laughing, Todd cringing and me smiling!
Todd congratulates her for being the first person to actually put clothes on her partner. He does have a point, calling it a wonderful element.
Helen also loved the dance, but calls it an unusual music choice. I actually quite liked it.
We go to the judge’s scores and I think this is the first time EVER that we have seen two simultaneous dances complete with scores and all in between TWO ad breaks! WOW. She gets a 28 giving her an overall 58! Well done!
Back after the break, and Damien is now going up for his second dance, the waltz. After a quick interview by Dan, they get into it!
Damien seems to like fast dances better, but I find watching him in this dance is more enjoyable. He looks more calm and his emotions come across less cheesy. There’s yet another lift in the dance before it ends quite dramatically! Loved the dance and the crowds reaction is quite vocal!
To the judges and Helen thought the dance ‘suited him’ saying she could have found fault in the dance but didn’t as she enjoyed it so much.
Todd says the slow stuff suits him (I agree) and wants him to stay in the game for next week! He tells him to ‘drink the music!’
Josh thought it was beautiful, calling Damien committed. He can still see Damien thinking, which is quite noticeable, but he does deserve a spot in the final. In the green room and Damien scores an extra 27 with a ten coming from Helen (Josh gave a 10 to Haley in her dance beforehand). He now sits on 48 if my maths is correct.
Time for Samantha Armytage and she is vying to impress the judges despite the fact she doesn’t think her Paso Doble will be a success.
The Paso Doble is hard but will she pull it off? Brendan starts the dance off quite well and Samantha has all the nice emotions but it is a stiff performance. The good news is, nothing disastrous happened, it was faced pace, and it was elegant. Gotta give her that! It ends up with Samantha lying on the floor on her back, spinning around! The best ending I’ve seen ever!
To the judges and Todd tells her it doesn’t feel like she’s giving 100% and he has nothing else to say to her. His comment garners a few boos from the audience. Sam just shrugs it off and shoves it in the pile of negative comments.
Josh calls it another personal best but there are many places she can improve, saying she probably won’t go through to the final.
Helen tells her that there’s not much communication in the dance despite the fact Samantha is a newsreader. Dan gives her a few words of support before she heads into the green room.
Sonia tells her she could pull a ‘Pauline Hanson’ and make it through to the finals with little talent.
She ends up with an 18 giving her a 35! She’s still in last place, but it’s all over with that now. Next up is another dance off and I think it’s the same as what they did a couple of weeks back with the ‘tap on the shoulder and you’re out’ dance off (although this time with no progressively increasing point amount due to the ‘winner takes all’ aspect.
Now for the winner takes all dance off where the winner can win an extra 15 points! The dancers will face off back to back with the top two couples going on to the ‘final’ where the best team will win an extra 15 points. Wow, a little different, definitely sounds interesting!
We see some BTS rehearsal scenes before we get into it with Manu Feildel up first. His dance is very quirky and fun as usual (seems to be a theme tonight) and as soon as he’s done, Samantha comes on wearing a wonderful coloured dress. It’s a bit too slow for the music but I love those hip movements and the twirl at the end.
Next up is Haley Bracken wearing a very colourful green dress and boy can she move! Bloody hell she is very good! It ends with her in an upside down lift and it just looks sooooooo professional!
To Damien Leith and I love the grey and black theme to the dance, it’s catchy on the eye and looks very modern.
Very swift dance and with that, round one is over. FYI, it was a rapid fire Cha-Cha-Cha that they danced.
Josh loved what he saw calling it beautiful. Helen tells them they have agreed to agree (the judges). With that, Todd announces that Haley Bracken will be progressing into their fourth dance in the final round of the winner takes all decider. The second dancer going through is predictably Manu Feildel. With that, Haley & Manu will be competing for those extra 15 points.
Back after the break, Haley Bracken takes to the stage in the winner takes all dance off finale and do I dare comment on the dance? She’s probably already won it! It was a fleeting dance before Manu returns for his dance. It’s the same song! Ok, well I would have liked more originality but at least this way it is fair! They’ve both done brilliantly and on top of both of them basically through to the final, who really cares about the winner!
To the judges and Todd reveals after a bit of time milking, that the winner is Manu Feildel. Wow, Haley didn’t win. Well, at least we know this show isn’t COMPLETELY biased.
Manu is happy with the 15 points, boosting him up to 64, beating Haley on 58, Damien on 48 and Samantha on 35. Sonia has calculated this on a sparkling calculator (wow, I wonder how much Seven spent on that).
Before the elimination, we get a glimpse of that wonderful trophy and a look at the viewer numbers. Now it is time, who will be going through?
The four contestants and their partners are standing in front of that silver veil for what will be the most important announcement thus far in the competition. Oh, it kills to watch.
Dan then announces the two safe contestants. The first contestant safe and through to the final next week is Damien Leith. The second star through to the grand final is Manu Feildel. That leaves Haley Bracken and Samantha Armytage in the bottom two. Only one more can go through with the other going home.
The last celebrity to be eliminated from Dancing with the Stars 2011 is of course Samantha Armytage.
With that, Haley Bracken joins the boys and Samantha tells us she is happy with her placing but as Gough Whitlam said ‘it’s time!’ She notices the judges beaming before she is waved off with a lovely dance.
So with that, the three contestants going through to the grand finale are Haley, Damien & Manu and I’ve left out their last names as if you don’t know who they are now, you obviously don’t like this show much.
Next week, all eleven dancers will be reunited for a stunning conclusion but before all that, how did this episode go? First off, ad placement was much better as was many other features. The show still can’t shake the ‘cheap’ feel though as it tries to doll itself up with dresses and pieces of sparkling cloth which just don’t help.
Either way, lovely episode compared to what we have seen, and I just cannot wait to blog my first grand finale!
Courtney’s Verdict: 8.0/10