After the jump, some notes, including some belated honor for Lance Bass, and the realization that the Lift Police went out for doughnuts ...
For weeks and weeks I have been complaining that Lance Bass was getting an unduly hard time from the judges, especially Len. No such complaint tonight, when Lance and Lacey ended up at the top of the leader board and deservedly so. I won't pretend that they were on the level of, say, Kristi and Mark last season. But in comparison to other dancers tonight, Lance and Lacey were definitely at the top of the heap.
My cynicism about the show's favoring Brooke is sufficiently strong that, even as she and Derek had what looked like an off-kilter dance to open the show, I felt the judges were going to give Brooke a free pass. Amazingly, they did not. I don't know if they decided that, after she got a pass a week ago (as my colleague Lynne Sherwin has pointed out in our vodcast), it was time to tighten up. Or if they just finally focused on her dancing. In any case, she and then Cody and Julianne both failed to deliver. Warren and Kym were not that good, either, but in the context of what had preceded them, they seemed an improvement. And then Lance and Lacey did an actually good dance.
By the second round, the most noticeable thing was not the judges' resuming their Brooke love, but the way Carrie Ann stopped objecting to lifts after an early reference to their illegality. She mentioned them once more, but it seemed to pay no part in her scoring then or later. It was as if the judges, knowing this was the semifinal, couldn't bring themselves to mark people way down at a point where the contestants are supposed to be peaking.
The fact that most of them are not peaking is just another indication of the overall mediocrity of this season. Again, I like Lance and Lacey. (And how about that shoe bit?) But no one this season is on a level with some of the greats from past seasons.