Monday night marked one of the strangest semifinals showdowns in the history of "Dancing With the Stars" as the all-star cast battled it out with bizarrely bad routines, a big "Bad" tribute and a protest from ballroom's newest bad boy.
Yes, it seems that now-ousted pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who was remarkably well-behaved this season compared to his much moodier "Dancing" days of yore, has officially passed his bad-boy-of-the-ballroom torch to its rightful heir -- his little brother, Val.
That became evident a little while after Val and his all-star partner, Kelly Monaco, took the floor for their offbeat routine of the night -- a surfer flamenco.
To properly set the stage for the drama, it's important to note that Val and Kelly performed their mashup only after all of the competition had put on their own odd numbers. From Melissa Rycroft's unfortunate caveman hustle to Apolo Anton Ohno's awful big-top jazz effort, regardless of any raves from the panel, the truth is each and every one of the out-there routines suffered from major flaws -- beyond just the ill-conceived concepts.
Even host Tom Bergeron quipped that "I'm on a lot of cold medicine and even that doesn't explain tonight."
But it looked as though the off trend might change when Val and Kelly started to move to the music. Compared to the competition, their dance was packed with strong fusion moves, good timing and few flaws. It also had plenty of sex appeal, with Kelly stripped down to a swimsuit and Val revealing his own barely there Speedo.
It's safe to say Val wasn't expecting to hear harsh reviews for the dance when it was all over. But that's just what he and Kelly got.
Judge Bruno Tonioli said the whole routine was upstaged by the aforementioned Speedo, and it's just as well, since Bruno thought it was more of a paso doble than flamenco anyway. Carrie Ann Inaba agreed, and noted that the arm lines were all off for a traditional flamenco.
Given that it was a surfer flamenco -- a mishmash dance that doesn't actually exist in ballroom -- those nitpicks seemed out of place, just as the bottom of the pack scores (8, 8.5 and 9) did.
When co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet asked the pair about the scores, Kelly played it off as simply something they could overcome, but Val had had enough of playing along.
"I think that's pretty politically correct," he said, still wearing his tiny costume. And as for the scores? "I think that's pretty unfair. But that's just my opinion."
It was also the opinion of his big brother.
Maks took to Twitter and questioned whether or not the judges even know what flamenco is before reacting to the numbers.
"WTH ARE THOSE SCORES!?!?!?!? I'm almost sorry that Val's last name is #Chmerkovskiy!" he ranted.
But Maks wasn’t only member of the family upset by the showing. In another tweet, he explained just how far it went.
"The hardest thing about being on this show is explaining to a crying grandma why @iamValC and @kellymonaco1 get bad scores..." Maks wrote.
The semifinals maintained the bad theme, or rather the "Bad" theme, as all of the dancers returned for another round of routines -- inspired by the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's "Bad" album.
At least in this case, "Bad" was good.
Melissa redeemed herself after the caveman catastrophe with a strong Argentine tango set to Jackson's "Dirty Diana." The dance was filled with complex lifts, wraparounds and transitions worthy of the semifinals. It earned her a 30 and gave partner Tony Dovolani reason to hope for a shot in the finals.
A rumba to "Man in the Mirror" also turned the night around for Apolo, who out danced his earlier effort by not over dancing the romantic routine. Head judge Len Goodman and the gang raised their perfect 10 paddles again.
Shawn Johnson's Argentine tango trailed Melissa and Apolo's tributes by a point, but the "Bad" dance was great.
As for Emmitt Smith's "Leave Me Alone" tango, it was better than he's managed in recent weeks, but still nowhere near the potential he showed early in the game. It earned him 27 points.
And Val and Kelly's last dance of the night? Well, the rumba, set to "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," was every bit as good as Melissa and Apolo's dances (and some could argue it was better than the latter) but it didn't inspire the same scores. Instead, each judge gave them a 9.5.
For that, the judges earned a head shake and a get-out-here hand gesture from Val.
With a double-elimination coming on Tuesday night, Val had better hope his late-game balking doesn't turn out to be risky business.
What did you think of the scoring and Val's comments? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page. And be sure to join us on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 ET to chat about who you think might be going home!
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