Cave men, clowns and Michael Jackson.
Our five all-stars did their semifinal best on Monday's Dancing With the Stars.
With Michael's mother, Katherine, watching from the audience, the celebs had to be as Bad as they could in a Jackson tribute for one round, and they had to combine a dance style with a theme picked for them last week for their second "offbeat challenge" number.
Each was trying desperately for good scores from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli to land a spot in next week's finals.
Here's how they did:
Shawn Johnson had to meld a 1980s TV show with an Indian dance — Knight Rider and Banghra. "I would rather have mustard on ice cream as a combination of things," said pro Derek Hough, "because those two do not go together." Derek brought in an outside choreographer to show them Banghra moves. Did it help? He sported a black leather jacket to pull off the Knight Rider part, while Shawn covered the sparkly Bollywood belly-baring look. The dance included lots of flailing and twirling and ended with Shawn doing a headstand on Derek's leg. It was impressive, and they must have burned 1,000 calories in the 90 seconds they were on the floor. The crowd went nuts for it. Bruno gave Shawn a hug, saying they went "Banghra style" (a nod to Gangnam Style). Carrie Ann praised it, recognizing it was a "really challenging routine. Finally, Shawn is out of breath." Len raved that it was "fantastic." Said Derek afterward, "Forget Zumba. Banghra." Scores: 10, 10, 10 = 30.
Shawn and Derek danced a precise and sexy Argentine Tango to Bad. Bruno said, "It was breathtaking. Stylistically, it was perfect. ... Is there anything you can't do?" Carrie Ann said, "Every line was perfect." Then, obviously looking for a nit to pick, she said she thought Shawn "lacked a little drama, passion and intimacy." (The crowd booed.) Len said Shawn "nailed" it. While talking to Brooke Burke-Charvet, Shawn admitted, "These dances are exhausting." Scores: 9, 10, 10 = 29. Total: 59.
Melissa Rycroft is the only one left in the competition who's not a previous champion, so she's fighting hard, she said during rehearsals. The reality star and pro Tony Dovolani first had to dance the "Caveman Hustle," a challenge to pull off. Then on Sunday afternoon, Tony hurt his back. "Next thing I knew he was on the ground," explained Melissa. Host Tom Bergeron said doctors cleared him, however, to dance. So out he came on stage in a caveman outfit, with Melissa looking similar to Shawn Johnson during threesome week. Tony didn't show signs of a back problem as he lifted and twirled the animal-skin-clad Melissa above his head. Said Len: "Melissa, you never disappoint. ... Tony had the hustle and you had the muscle." Tony appreciated their costumes, but noticed a little miss in her turns. Carrie Ann "loved it," although she thought Melissa's feet during the hustle were a "little off." While waiting for their scores, Tony told Brooke Burke-Charvet of his injury, "I have a lot of injections in my body. But there was no way I'd let Melissa down ... I was never going to quit on her." Cracked Tom Bergeron, "Tony, don't feel bad. You're not the only one in Hollywood with a lot of injections in their body." Scores: 9, 9.5, 9 = 27.5
They danced an Argentine Tango to Dirty Diana for their second dance, and Melissa's legs have never looked longer or leaner as she slithered around Tony, with steam pipes blowing in the background and red lights glowing. The audience loved it and so did the judges. Len said he would be "really disappointed" if she's not in the finals next week. Bruno called her a "nasty devil of a woman! You were possessed out there!" He said the lifts were "extraordinary." Carrie Ann said it was "beyond anything I could have imagined for you." Melissa got emotional about it all, saying she was "so proud" of the routine. Scores: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Total: 57.5.
Apolo Anton Ohno said in rehearsals that his "Big Top Jazz" was "really hard. ... It's just not sticking in the brain." He and partner Karina Smirnoff looked frustrated and exhausted. "It's like this relentless pursuit of perfection that is seemingly unattainable," he said. So did it seem that way on the dance floor? Apolo slipped a little on his way onto the floor and there were other slip-ups in the routine that turned out to be a weird interpretation of mime with ballroom and jazz. Carrie Ann said it was "disjointed," the dismounts were "sloppy" and it never quite all "came together." Len said there were "a couple of awkward moments in there," but praised Apolo's fighter mentality. Bruno thought it was "edgy" — a blend of Cirque du Soleil and A Clockwork Orange — and said they did an "excellent" job with the jazz moves. Scores: 8.5, 9, 9.5 = 27.
Apolo recapped his journey on the show, saying, "We've had the greats, the middles and the lows." He danced a romantic and beautiful rumba to Man in the Mirror. Carrie Ann said, "You reached into my heart and melted it." Len likened it to the sea with "wave after wave of effortless motion. ... It was fabulous." Bruno said, "The flow of movement was perfection." Scores: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Total: 57.
Kelly Monaco was worked hard by sweetie Val Chmerkovskiy during rehearsals for their Surfer Flamenco dance. With palm trees and surfboards in the ballroom, the two danced a fierce Flamenco. Val threw his shirt off, revealing his cut torso. Then he took his pants off and danced in a Speedo - woo! - and Val threw off her dress (down to a one-piece bathing suit) and they danced on a watery platform. It was tough and fierce and the two kissed tenderly when it was over. Kelly wrapped up in a skirt. Val stayed in his swimsuit. Bruno said it had a "lot of aggression and fire," but lacked proper placement. "It was erotic," but not precise enough. Carrie Ann said she agreed. "It was all paso" and not enough Flamenco. Len said, "If this dance was poker, you went all in." He thought it had "verve and attack," and that was "fantastic." Scores: 8, 9, 8.5 = 25.5. "I think that's pretty unfair," said Val. "But I think she's incredible and I want to thank you for an amazing season," he added, turning to Val.
Before Kelly and Val hit the dance floor for their rumba, we saw more of their love story. They kissed in rehearsals so deeply at one point that pro Louis Van Amstel muttered, "Get a room!" Val told Kelly they would be dancing to I Can't Stop Loving You. "We can really relate to the song, I think," Val told her. "It's Week 9 already and I still can't stop loving you, Kelly." Awww... On the dance floor, they put their intimacy on display. Bruno said it was "smoldering, driven by desire, consumed by lust!" Carrie Ann said it was "beautiful." Len liked her "control" and said it was "wonderful." Scores: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5 Total: 54.
Emmitt Smith and pro Cheryl Burke had to dance an Espionage Lindy Hop, which meant they had to be campy spies doing a high-energy dance. "They're trying to wear us completely out," complained Emmitt in rehearsals. "And all this cartoonish stuff is going to be challenging, but the whole show has been challenging." To Secret Agent Man, Cheryl stripped down to her bra, and Emmitt flipped her over his shoulder. The crowd gave them a standing ovation. Len liked the "concept, the energy, the lifts." He wanted a "little more Lindy in there." Bruno said it "was the most fun performance." Carrie Ann, rambling on until she couldn't talk anymore, said it was Emmitt's "most animated performance ever." Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27.
Emmitt did an aggressive tango to Leave Me Alone for his second dance. He spun partner Cheryl Burke around the ballroom floor. Len praised it, noting that it was harder than the Argentine tango. "Well done." Bruno liked his "predatory power" but felt his footwork could have been "more exact." Carrie Ann said he "really brought his A-game" but quibbled about his hold. Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27. Total: 54.
On Tuesday, two celebs will be sent home. Paula Abdul and The Wanted perform. So, which three celebs deserve a spot in next week's finals?