How did we get to the end of another season of Dancing with the Stars so quickly? It was Semi-Finals Night with the five remaining couples duking it out for a spot in the two-night finale next week. Each couple was tasked with two dances for the week, with the second dance being the recreation of an iconic dance from the past 24 seasons of DWTS. No pressure. We were also given an exclusive sneak peek at Dancing with the Stars‘ “Light Up the Night, Live!” Tour, coming soon to a city near you. Let’s see how your favorites did on this ninth week of competition:
Drew Scott and Emma Slater, Tango
Nobody has worked harder and improved more to deserve a spot in the Semi-Finals. I love that Emma picked a song to represent Drew’s Scottish roots and fierce determination to remain in the competition. Drew dancing a Tango to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers while wearing a kilt? Be still, my beating heart! It was a quirky way to start the show and I loved it. Len called him Braveheart and told him he came out full on with attack and fun, but he lost his posture and technique. Bruno called him “The Flying Scotsman” and doesn’t think the band will ever be able to put that ending out of their minds, though he didn’t like seeing him hop in character. Carrie Ann admired his entertainment value, but she thought his Tango lacked a bit of artistry and nuance. Not his best effort perhaps, but it was a lot of spirited fun!
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy, Contemporary
Val chose the song “Build a Home” by Cinematic Orchestra to recreate Victoria’s story from the unique perspective of her parents for their Contemporary piece. It was a smart, emotionally powerful choice to make her shine in the Semi-Finals. Bruno called it poignant and an uplifting message very well put together with amazing choreography, while Carrie Ann said it was a simple routine but they dug deep emotionally to make it inspiring and fantastic. Len liked that it was her life story of perseverance told through dance, and he was especially taken with the “walking in air” moment.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, Argentine Tango
All day America wondered if dance pro Lindsay Arnold would be able to dance since her knee injury during rehearsal. She was able to dance – which was awesome because she’s been working so hard towards her first Mirror Ball Trophy. She aptly chose the song “Brother” by Need To Breathe because Jordan is so proud to be a big brother and positive role model. It was a beautiful Argentine Tango from start to finish, and nobody could ever tell she was injured. Carrie Ann told Jordan that he set the standard extremely high all season, but she felt a disconnect during their dance this week. Len didn’t think it elicited the feel enough to be classified as an Argentine Tango. Oddly enough, he felt they got too lost in the big brother/feel good story (usually Len tells competitors he didn’t like their sexiness). Bruno strongly disagreed, saying it was Jordan’s most mature performance to date, calling it strong, stylish and focused – and worthy of a 10.
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas, Contemporary
Mark chose a song from Alexander Jean (his band with his talented wife BC Jean) called “Head High” to represent how Lindsey should feel about herself, her music and about how she performed throughout the competition. It was beautiful with a stripped down, raw energy that I love to see in Contemporary pieces. Len told Lindsey she’s a beautiful dancer with wonderful extensions and it was a fabulous performance. Bruno called it dynamic and said it really captured the feeling of being oneself and letting it all hang out. Carrie Ann loved the quality of movement and how much she has grown in the competition, saying it possessed a primal, powerful energy. A 9, Len? Really?
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, Salsa
All week long America has been wondering whether or not Frankie would have the guts to take off his shirt this week, after teasing that he would should he be around long enough to make it to the Semi-Finals. Dancing a Salsa to “Shake” by the Ying Yang Twins, Witney picked the song to inspire Frankie to shake off his self-doubts and shyness because he belongs in this competition. Frankie looked notably more confident, especially when he took off his shirt and when he had some assistance with a slam dunk – he owned it. Bruno said his street cred just went up, saying he loved the originality and spirit of it though he noticed a tiny misstep. Carrie Ann didn’t think the song choice matched Frankie, but she admired how he gave it his all and went for it though he wasn’t in the beat the entire time. Len loved his enthusiasm, though he felt it was too much hip-hop and not enough hip action for a Salsa.
Drew Scott & Emma Slater, Jazz
Recreating Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff’s memorable Jazz routine to “Yeah!” by Usher, Lil’ Jon and Ludacris (such a guilty pleasure of mine), I thought Drew gave it all he had and made it his own. Emma gave him loads of good advice about not comparing himself too closely to Corbin because Corbin’s a completely different dancer. Host Tom Bergeron said he’s never been more nervous in his life than he was watching Drew’s lifts with Emma. Len compared the dance to a pizza, saying it was a bit crusty at the bottom and more fun at the top. Bruno said Emma was spinning more than Sandra Bullock in Gravity, but he liked the spirit of the dance, though he admitted that the timing and sharpness weren’t quite there. Carrie Ann liked how gracefully he approached it, but it didn’t quite match up to Corbin. That’s a bit of an unfair statement, Carrie Ann. He did the best he could!
Victoria Arlen & Val Chmerkovskiy, Charleston
Recreating Amber Riley and Derek Hough’s iconic Charleston to Will I. Am’s “Bang Bang” is no easy task, and yet Victoria and Val rose to the challenge spectacularly with a funky Charleston flair all their own. Bruno exclaimed it was incredible, praising her for being an entertaining powerhouse with spot-on timing and acting that was right on the money. Carrie Ann said it was so good that she forgot all about Amber and Derek’s dance. Len said it put a smile on his face, and he loved the razzmatazz. It was a 10 from Len! Carrie Ann ended up being the only hold-out giving them a 9.
Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold, Jive
Recreating Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas’ high-octane Jive set to “Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner was a unique creative challenge for Jordan and Lindsay. Those two are so mesmerizing together – I couldn’t take my eyes off them! Carrie Ann made a bunch of interesting noises (I think that translates into a 10), finally formulating the words to call it the marathon of all Jives. Len looked like he might cry because he was so overcome with joy, saying it was the yardstick to measure all Jives going forward on the program. Bruno called it a triumph, saying it was the rare remake that actually managed to surpass the original in terms of content. It was easily my favorite dance of the season. Absolute perfection.
Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas, Tango
Recreating Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s iconic Tango set to “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris, Lindsey and Mark have never sizzled together more. Len said it had plenty of snap, crackle and pop, calling it sharp, fierce and crisp overall. Bruno told them they raised their game at just the right time in the competition, calling them perfect mirror images. Carrie Ann liked their powerful chemistry, but she felt like the turns lost a little of the flow. It wasn’t my favorite of theirs, but it was worthy of the Finals. Haha, I loved the 10 snuck in by Bruno, and Maks’ comments about how you can’t compare art to art. Well said!
Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson, Paso Doble
Recreating Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough’s infamous Paso Doble set to “Carnival de Paris” by Dario G, I thought Frankie and Witney were phenomenal this week. Bruno commended Frankie’s attitude and stance, but he cautioned him to work on his shoulders. Carrie Ann said there were moments that were absolutely amazing, but there were other moments in-between that were a bit too small. Len understood why the audience loved it, saying there’s always an innocence and charm to Frankie that he didn’t really want to talk about the lack of shaping in his Paso Doble.
It came down to Frankie & Witney and Victoria & Val in jeopardy of elimination, with Victoria & Val being the ones cut loose just a week before the finale. At least she went out on a high note, as her Contemporary and Charleston routines were among the best of the evening. I felt so bad for her, as you could tell how much she wanted to make it to the Finale and really she probably deserved to be there over Drew based on ability, but somebody had to go home and I’m happy to say all my favorites remain. Who do you think will take home the Mirror Ball Trophy next week? Vote, vote, vote!
Did the right star fall short of the Finale? Who are you rooting for to win? Tell us in the comments below!