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Why finals of 'Dancing with the Stars' disappointed

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It wasn't too hard to figure out early on in the proceedings on Monday night's "Dancing with the Stars" finals, that the judges --- Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba ---- were already setting the stage for a Chelsea Kane-Hines Ward finale Tuesday night.

In the beginning it was all about two of the favorites on Tuesday's "Dancing with the Stars" semi-finals results show. And they were saved early on: Hines Ward and Chelsea Kane.

Then it was down to two of the most popular contenders: Ralph Macchio and Kirstie Alley.

And when the "elimination music" was over, the Karate Kid was sent packing. The decision was not entirely unexpected, as Macchio had a rough go of things all season long in terms of judges' scores, regardless of how good he danced.

So it's on to the finals next week, including the freestyle round that generally separates the dancers from those who just perform choreography. With Kirstie, Hines and Chelsea all competing for that mirror ball trophy, this will be one of the most difficult finals in the show's history.

At the end of tonight's semi-finals round, there were few surprises,leaving Chelsea and Mark at the top of the leaderboard heading into Tuesday's elimination round. Their final scores: Chelsea Kane, 73; Hines Ward, 60; Kirstie Alley, 54; Ralph Macchio, 48. Unless there's a huge voter turnout, Macchio is pretty much leaving the competition Tuesday night. Viewers: it's al up to you.

Of course, how could I let tonight's show go by without mentioning one of the rudest moments of the night, courtesy of judge Bruno Tonioli who quipped, "Are you wearing extra-large diapers?" to Ralph Macchio, who donned "padded booty" underwear for his salsa (his pro partner Karina Smirnoff urged him to do so during rehearsals to give the dance's moves more impact). Just plain uncalled for. The audience showed their disdain with an extraordinary amount of booing and moaning.

On to the competition:

It came down to the "Winner Takes All" cha cha round with 15 extra points up for grabs in tonigh's semi-final round of "Dancing with the Stars."
This competitive dance system is unprecedented for the show. Two couples compete against each other in an instant cha cha for 3 to 5 minutes. Call it an effort to stave off the frequent complaint with the show's scoring system, which saw many a very good dancer go home due to "popularity voting" by viewers.

This time out, the judges will determine who wins the cha cha competition -- period (no viewer votes for this dance). Not quite sure how this eliminates the "popularity contest" aspect to the show's VERY subjective voting system, but hey, it's something different for the show.

First up, Hines vs Ralph: The judges leaned toward Hines overall, ultimately voting Hines and Kym onto the next bracket.

Second heat: Kirstie vs. Chelsea: the judges proclaimed it was hard to pick a winner from the two teams; in the end, they did the expected and went with Chelsea. No surprise there.

So it was on to the faceoff between Hines and Chelsea, who found out their music on the spot and had only a commercial break to figure out their moves. The song? "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga. Too bad hostess Brook Burke had no idea how a coin toss works. Hines was the night's top scorer and called the toss "tails".. when it came up "heads" she asked him for his choice to dance first or second.She was soon "corrected." It could happen to anyone with millions of viewers watching live.

And in the finals of the "winner take all," with only minutes to prepare, Hines headed out to cha cha to Ga Ga. It was fun, lively and precise and proved he has truly earned his place in the finals. And so it was down to Chelsea and Mark, who delivered yet another perfect performance. In the end, the judges thought so, too, awarding the victory to Chelsea. No real surprise.

So it's on to the evening's second dance for the four "Dancing with the Stars" semi-finalists. Ralph Macchio moved on to the salsa with partner Karina Smirnoff just oozing out of her leopard-print cat suit. Of course, his efforts gleaned a mere 23 points from the judges, who found little to praise. This time they were right for the mostpart. The choreography was just too bizarre; and Bruno Tonioli's remark about Ralph's "padded booty" was just rude and uncalled for. A score of 23 for this dance, and 25 for his earlier Argentine tango pretty much means Macchio's going home Tuesday night, unless viewer votes pull out a miracle.

Chelsea Kane just danced a perfect rhumba, earning a 30 for her sultry efforts. Combined with her previous score of 29, Kane is atop the leaderboard at this time. She is the one to beat, and Hines might be her biggest challenger.

Hines just stepped up to the plate, with a fiery salsa. It was playful and fun and happy according to the judges. His score for the dance: a perfect 30, keeping him neck-and-neck with Chelsea.

At the end of the second round, it's pretty clear the stage is set for the finals next week: Unless there's a huge misstep in the winner-takes-all cha cha cha round OR viewer voting, count on Kirstie Alley, Chelsea Kane and Hines Ward to still be standing at the end of the elimination round Tuesday night.

At last, viewers got a look at the rehearsal footage of Kym Johnson's injury last Friday wth partner Hines Ward. While rehearsing some kind of a lift, Kym somehow fell beneath Hines who then fell on top of her backside, pushing her head/neck right into the dance floor. You can hear her remark that she "cannot feel her arms." In the end, she was rushed to the hospital and on this night, she and Hines turned in a positively STUNNING Argentine tango that brought both the season veteran and the pro NFL player to tears.

Bravo Kym!

'Dancing with the Stars' semi-finals Round 1

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The semi-finals of "Dancing with the Stars" got off to a not-so-unexpected start, when it came to the judges' scores. The competitors were required to dance three dances on this night, two individual, and one "winner take all" cha cha cha. It was a wild and crazy night.

Kym Johnson and Hines Ward just turned in the most gorgeous, exciting, passionate and PERFECT Argentine tango, following an injury during rehearsals last week that could have been devastating for Johnson. A perfect score of 30 was handed out and rightfully so. The dance was just stunning; the choreography difficult intricate and almost impossible to fathom. Prior to the dance, we got a glimpse at the footage of Kym's injury on Friday that sent her to a Los Angeles emergency room. It happened during a very difficult and intricate lift attemp, with Hines somehow falling onto Kym's inverted back, sending her head and neck crashing into the dance floor. Through tears Kym was heard saying "I can't feel my arms." Luckily, she seemed fine tonight, and both she and Kym burst into tears upon finishing their dance. What an emotional moment indeed.

Chelsea Kane got less than stellar remarks from judge Carrie Ann Inaba and rightfully so, forher first dance of the night.. Her Argentine tango with partner Mark Ballas lacked emotion, passion and frankly she was dancing so far away from Ballas that they might as well have been in separate ballrooms. Of, course, Bruno Tonioli -- who has been her champion all season long --- went positively insane with praise for her performance. And Len Goodman sang her praises for her clean, precise moves. Frankly, she looked as stiff as a board (something they earlier chastized Ralph Macchio for earlier on for the very same dance). Granted, Ballas' choreography was filled with beautiful lifts (which required much more on his part). Kane ultimately earned a score of 29 for her efforts. Clearly, Kane has been the judges' favorite for much of the season, pretty much sealing the fate of the rest of the pack.

Ralph Macchio was first up, and as has been the case for most of the season, the judges continued to be very hard on the actor. Though he scored a '9' from Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli voiced there displeasure with both comments and scores, giving Macchio a miserable "8" for his Argentine tango. Though it wasn't a particularly intense dance, that wasn't due to his lack of ability, but choreography from Karina Smirnoff that just wasn't semi-finals worthy.

Kirstie Alley followed Macchio onto the dance floor with a glorious Viennese waltz that was just beautifully executed. She was literally dancing on air, and the judges' gushing praise was truly deserved. She scored 9s from each of them for 27.

ETOnline.com is reporting that Kym Johnson was injured during today's rehearsals with Hines Ward and taken out on a stretcher, with her head/neck immobilized. She was transported by ambulance to a Los Angeles Hospital. Further details are pending. Video from ETOnline is after the jump:

LOS ANGELES -- Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Hines Ward was briefly detained at gunpoint Thursday in a mix-up over a reported stolen car, but he was released without being arrested, police said.

Hines and a woman friend were stopped in her car at about 1:30 a.m. in North Hollywood because she had reported the car stolen on April 19, said Sgt. Maria Morrison.

The two had left a restaurant in North Hollywood, said officer Sara Faden.

Police took Hines out of the car at gunpoint and handcuffed him, Morrison said. Hines and the woman were released after she was able to prove the car was hers.

"She had gone somewhere, misparked it, reported it stolen and found it later" but failed to cancel the police report, Morrison said.

Hines cooperated with police while he was detained, she said.

The woman's name wasn't released, but she isn't Hines' partner on "Dancing With the Stars," Morrison said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Highs, lows and so it goes on 'Dancing with the Stars'

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It was a first for "Dancing with the Stars," and perhaps the lowest point in the show's history: Kendra Wilkinson farted during rehearsals of her team dance. Wow. Glad we got to share that Kodak moment. Thirteen-year-olds everywhere must have been giggling with glee.

Thankfully, the memory of that faded oh so quickly with the emergence of iconic ballroom champion Luca Barrichi who coached several of the pairs on this night of "ballroom greats." Barrichi (much in the same vein as celeb Gilles Marini a few seasons back), proved that elegant lines, crisp, clean footwork, perfect holds and plenty of hair product go a long, long way to making a tango look oh so sexy.

Also in the trainer's seat tonight was Mark Ballas' mom, who showed the team of celebs (and pros) just how to get those intricate moves and steps just right. A champion in her own right she was having none of Chelsea Kane's giggles and smiles during rehearsal of the paso doble, and one point remarking "you're an actress, it's a dramatic part. " In the end, however, Mark's choreography failed to win over the panel of four judges (the usual trio was joined by 16-time world champion dancer Donnie Burns, who brought a wonderfully fresh take on what the dancers were doing right and wrong).

Hines Ward turned in a tango that was nothing if not spirited, proving even he is capable of an off night (though he did score his first 10 from Bruno Tonioli). Romeo seemed a bit out of sorts during his samba, and judge Len Goodman read him the riot act.

Ralph Macchio brought everything he had to the quickstep and he pretty much nailed it (at least in Donnie's eyes who awarded the Karate Kid his first 10 of the competition). It was a spot-on dance.

Kirstie Alley's jive wasn't the best I've ever seen, but it was very spirited and fun. She stumbled through a few passages and Len Goodman cranked out that "6" paddle with plenty of vigor.

At the end of the night it was Ralph Macchio tied with Hines Ward for first place, going into Tuesday's results show that could prove to be an upset. While Kendra or even Romeo should be the ones most likely to be voted off, Kirstie had an off night in the judges' eyes (I thought she did a great job in the cha cha cha).

Should be an interesting Tuesday night.

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