Dancing With The Stars Recap: Season 12, Elimination 8

Last night was the semi-final elimination round on “Dancing With The Stars” Season 12. The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio, has been “waxed off” [oof, even I can admit that was a terrible attempt at a pun] and Kirstie Alley, Hines Ward and Chelsea Kane remain to battle it out next week in their final attempt to earn the show’s mirrorball trophy. [See what I did there? I just told you everything you needed to know in less than 10 seconds. I just thought the “DWTS” producers should know that it doesn’t have to take two hours.]

Before they revealed Ralph’s fate, the “DWTS” producers forced us to sit through an hour-long retrospective on freestyle routines from earlier seasons, followed by another hour of traditional results-show performances by professional dancers and various musical artists. The show had some entertaining moments, but for the most part it dragged because all of the good content was padded with boring extras. Here’s what I loved and loathed about last night’s episode.


  • The professional dance performances. The pros and the “DWTS” dance troupe teamed up throughout the show to perform new dances to songs that had previously been used in freestyle routines in other seasons. They also danced whenever the musical guest, Stevie Nicks, performed. We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing better than watching the pros do their thing!
  • Brooke’s dress. She looked beautiful last night, and her ensembles have been so elegant and classy all season. Last season, I considered her getups to be a little too “cougar-chic,” but this time around she’s really stepped up her game!
  • The performance by Tayla Kelly, a 13-year-old dancer who suffers from primary immunodeficiency disease. The disease makes Tayla so susceptible to infection that her mom says she only has a 60 percent chance of living to age 18. In spite of all the odds, Tayla goes to dance class 5-6 days a week and she’s super talented. Last night she performed a special jazz routine to La Roux’s “Bulletproof” with “DWTS” pros Chelsie and Lacey. She was great!


  • The guest commentary by a random collection of former “DWTS” contestants: Warren Sapp (Season 7), Donny Osmond (Season 9), Apolo Anton Ohno (Season 4), and Brooke Burke (Season 7) returned to the ballroom to talk about the strategy behind the freestyle routines they performed on their respective seasons. Basically, they each stood next to Tom Bergeron and rambled as videos of their old routines played. They didn’t add anything to the show (unless I’m mistaken and other people were thrilled to learn that Brooke Burke protected her tailbone from bruising during her tumble by sticking a breast pad down her pants…) and it was all too clear that the entire exercise was a last-minute ploy designed to kill airtime.
  • The video packages featuring random pros giving generic advice to the remaining contestants. “Put it all on the dance floor.” “Lay it all on the line.” “Dance like it’s the last time.” “Give it everything you’ve got.” Blah, blah, blah. Thanks for nothing, professionals! If I were one of the contestants, I’d be much happier to get a few last-minute tips about how to correct my technique. Anyone could tell me to “lay it all on the line.”
  • The segment in which Tom and Brooke interviewed the four semi-finalist couples in an attempt to find out about their strategies for next week’s freestyle routine. Shockingly, the contestants revealed next to nothing. Waste. Of. Time.
  • The return of Drew Lachey and Cheryl. The duo gave a repeat performance of their standard-setting freestyle routine to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” I loved this dance when they first performed it in Season 2, but last night’s version lacked the energy and polish that made it special the first time.

Well, that’s all I have to say about last night’s show. What did you think of it? Were you shocked that Ralph was karate-chopped from the show? [Oof, not much better.] Share your reactions with us on Twitter and Facebook!

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

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Photo by Erin Baiano

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Dear Katie,

When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I'm actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn't my flexibility translate to turnout?


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Dear Katie
Via Twitter

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The dark, deeply personal video is Yang's coming-out moment. We see Yang being rejected by his family, condemned by a preacher, and attacked by a hostile mob after attempting to express himself as a gay man. Though not a professional dancer (as we found out in "The Try Guys Try Ballet"), Yang is a gifted mover; he choreographed the project himself, and gathered a group of talented performers to bring the story to life.

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