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TV Column
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 05/15/2012

‘Dancing With the Stars’ 2012: William Levy, Katherine Jenkins, Maria Menounos and Donald Driver compete

It’s the final four on “Dancing With the Stars,” and the last performance show before next week’s championship. Unlike some years, there’s not a weak dancer in the bunch, so here’s hoping someone has a Maks Chmerkovskiy-esque meltdown.

Actor William Levy and Cheryl Burke

Dance #1: Tango

“You can’t be good. You have to be excellent. Because if you do good, you go home,” William tells the camera during rehearsal. Cheryl is pretty surprised that they nabbed a perfect score last week (has she heard the screams in the ballroom when William appears shirtless?) but is determined to push him harder than ever.

They move sharply through the tango for the first dance, but William is fully dressed, so that’s not going to win him any points.

Len is already psyched for the best semi-finals ever, which means he’s going to be more critical than ever — criticism apparently puts him in a great mood. He calls William “terrific.” Bruno decides William is full of animal magnetism, and William looks a bit frightened. “You’re so much more than just a pretty face,” Carrie Ann coos, but says he lost control in the beginning. She still gets booed.

Time for another Brook Burke Charvet Serious Question in the Celebriquarium. “How do you make sure you’re not just good, but excellent?” she ponders. William says: practice and focus. Riveting! Scores: 9, 9, 10 for a total of 28 points.

Dance #2: Samba

The second round features the celebs sharing stories that made them into who they are today. Basically, it’s Tragic Backstory Night, part two. William’s family talks about his tough childhood, and how strong he is, and how he always wanted to come to the United States. And then when he got here, he struggled without knowing any English or having any money. It’s also an excuse to show lots of shirtless pictures of William, as the interviews feature people who knew him when he first started to model.

After a steamy samba, the judges are thrilled. “You lived up to every expectation,” Carrie Ann exclaims. Len is especially impressed with the rhythm. Scores: 10, 10, 10 for a total of 30 points, and 58 for the night.

Classical singer Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas

Dance #1: Quickstep

Katherine had some struggles last week, notably when her outfit got caught around her foot. But now she’s talking about what a learning and growth opportunity the show has been — in the beginning, she wanted dresses with lots of material, and now, she’ll get more scandalous with a belly dance. More confidence = less clothing, apparently?

Anyway, Katherine starts out her quickstep in a cage, and is so elated when she escapes that she starts to dance with Mark, a.k.a. a guy in the top hat. They move flawlessly through the speedy routine, and while it’s not her most riveting dance, the judges will likely be pleased.

Sure enough: “Outstanding! Picture perfect,” Bruno roars. Carrie Ann throws a curveball when she says Katherine didn’t bring her A game…she brought her A-plus game. Oh snap! “Best dance ever, that might have been the best dance I’ve ever seen on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’” Carrie Ann gushes. Len also loved it, though can’t resist bringing up one mistake. Scores: 10, 9, 10 for a total of 29 points.

Dance #2: Salsa

Katherine’s backstory: She grew up in a small town outside of Wales, and started singing when she was four years old. Andrew Lloyd Weber shows up to chime in about Katherine’s impressive singing background. So does Piers Morgan, who compares her to Marilyn Monroe. But the sad music starts when Katherine’s mother appears to talk about Katherine’s broken engagement, as she broke up with her fiancé last year.

They speed through a breathless salsa, Katherine is wearing the aforementioned belly dancer costume. She trips a bit at the end, and buries her head in her hands. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she says over and over, appearing to be in pain. Carrie Ann is sympathetic. “That was fantastic,” she assures her. “I love seeing you push your boundaries…so bummed about the end, but you carried on.” Bruno also tells her not to worry about the ending. In the Celebriquarium, Katherine says she did something to her back, and Brooke assures us doctors will check her out right away. Scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points, and 56 for the night.

NFL player Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd

Dance #1: Waltz

Donald is not a fan of the samba, as he has to move his hips in a very unnatural way. “It’s not right for a man to be like this,” he gripes. “I have to be more on the feminine side.” Peta raves about Donald’s emotional side, however. “I’ve never seen four people in the semi-finals that can dance this well,” Donald says, smoothly complimenting his own skills while talking about the competition.

Donald floats through the tango with a very intense look, to prove that he feels all of that emotion that the judges always love.

Carrie Ann approves of the emotional element to the dance, but thinks there were a few technical errors. Len calls it “absolutely charming” and loved the elegance. Bruno thinks Donald had a gentle, soft quality to the tango that was very impressive. Scores: 9, 9, 10 for a total of 28 points.

Dance #2: Samba

Donald’s story: He grew up in a tough neighborhood in Houston, and was raised by his mother while his father was in jail. They lived in a U-Haul under a bridge, until she sent Donald and his brother to live with their grandparents. After getting into drugs and theft, Donald’s family realized that sports could be his way out. He says he stayed “troubled” until college, when he met his future wife, and gave up selling drugs. His football teammates also chime in about his football skills. Why hasn’t his life story been made into a movie yet? And if Len doesn’t give him a 10 now, he will look more heartless than usual.

After Donald and Peta’s energetic samba, Len is muted with his praise, saying he likes it, and Bruno thinks it worked beautifully. Carrie Ann calls it A-plus game. Scores: 10, 9, 10 for a total of 29, and 57 for the night. Come on, Len!

TV host Maria Menounos and Derek Hough

Dance #1: Argentine Tango

Derek is feeling the pressure this week, since he has to choreograph the right routine for Maria — especially in light of Len’s negative comments last week. He growls and throws a water bottle in rehearsal, then storms out. Is he the new Maks? Not quite — he doesn’t get bleeped as much, and Maria gives him a nice pep talk.

Derek and Maria start behind a curtain, and then Derek carries Maria all the way down the stairs as she’s wrapped around his legs. They smoothly move through the steps, throwing in a fancy lift, but they look very nervous at the end.

Len was wrapped up through the whole dance, and Bruno goes with “enticing, titillating.” Carrie Ann talks about Maria’s transformation through the season, while Maria is shaking and on the verge of tears the entire time, and then all the judges start talking over each other. After talking about all the injuries they have between the two of them, Derek and Maria hear their scores: 10, 10, 10 for a total of 30 points.

Dance #2: Jive

Maria’s story: She was raised outside of Boston by her parents who were immigrants from Greece. She worked with her parents, who were janitors at a nightclub in Boston, and couldn’t afford babysitters. Both Maria and her father break down in sobs during the interviews. Then, we see Maria back in the day as a journalist traveling the globe while in college, and how she rose through the ranks to become the co-host of “Extra.”

Points for Derek for coming up with a creative routine — the jive kicks off with him bringing Maria back to life through electric shock. Bruno enjoys the quirky details, while Carrie Ann thinks it was stunning. Len was a fan, even though it wasn’t a traditional jive. Scores: 10, 9, 10 for a total of 29 points, and 59 for the night.

Update on Katherine: Tom Bergeron says she’ll get medical attention after the show for her lower back, and then tomorrow…one more goes home before the final performance night.

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 05/15/2012

 
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