Dancing With the Stars Week 9 Performance Recap: Semis? Sweet!

Over the last couple of months, we’ve seen eight charming couples lose their grips on the coveted Mirrorball Trophy — I can still see the tracks of Sherri Shepherd’s tears in my mind — but with the Season 14 semifinals upon us — and one couple about to fall short of the finale (and the freestyle round) — the potential for even greater heartbreak was downright palpable.

For my money, any of the four remaining celebs could easily land in the confetti-covered winner’s circle next week. Yet one teeny-tiny misstep, wardrobe malfunction or semi-bungled lift (or even a cranky judge) could erase an entire season’s worth of heroics and a coveted spot in the Finals. Here’s everything you need to know about the ninth week of DWTS:

A Perfect Final Four? | Was the the strongest semifinal lineup in DWTS history? Like millions of other rabid ballroom watchers, I find it hard to imagine the finals without the manly charms of William Levy and Donald Driver, or the elegant beauty of Katherine Jenkins and Maria Menounos. But one of them has to go, right? The 10 paddles were put to work right from the get-go, and justifiably so! For me, the chills-o-meter registered loudest during Maria’s eye-popping tango and William’s sexy, celebratory samba. But Carrie Ann seemed determined to be the tough cookie, throwing verbal cold water on William’s opening Tango (but then giving him a 9) and Donald’s waltz, until she changed course and ran out of breathless adjectives for Maria’s sizzling Argentine tango.

Live and Unedited | I haven’t seen this many tearful, heart-tugging anecdotes and candid confessions since the last time I watched a Barbara Walters special. I know the DWTS producers had 90 long minutes to fill — and only eight dances to showcase — but a few of the pre-performance packages straddled the border of genuinely moving and surprisingly irksome. After all, carefully edited clips will never have the drama or impact of a live, unplanned moment like Katherine’s shocking stumble, and the gallantry and grace of her recovery. Stay strong, Ms. Jenkins!

Quotes of the Night | “I’ve not been this excited since my mother put me in long trousers.” –Len, anticipating the semifinals

“That might have been the best dance I’ve ever seen on Dancing With the Stars.” –Carrie Ann, on Katherine’s opening Quick Step.

“You’re like a big rough tough cream puff.” –Len to Donald, after his emotional waltz

“From Len, a 10!” –Len after Maria’s exquisite Argentine tango

“I’ve never looked at a man’s bum for so long in my life. Talk about the hunk with the junk in his trunk!” –Len to William, after his bootylicious Samba

“I’m gonna die with bum envy.” –Bruno after William’s samba

“I got you. I got you. I got you.” –Mark to a distraught Katherine, after she lost her balance at the end of an otherwise stunning salsa

“I’m so sorry if I’ve let you down, Mark.” –a devastated Katherine

Judges’ Leaderboard (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total)
Round One Dance:
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 10, 10, 10: 30
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 10, 9, 10: 29
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 9, 9, 10: 28
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 9, 9, 10: 28

Round Two Dance:
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 10, 10, 10: 30
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 10, 9, 10: 29
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 10, 9, 10: 29
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 9, 9, 9: 27

Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 59
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 58
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 57
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 56

Now it’s your turn. Will Katherine’s shocking stumble cost her a shot at the finals? Were the judges actually overscoring the dances tonight, or were those endless streams of 10s totally justified? Beyond her nearly-perfect scores, will Maria’s endearing, clearly authentic layers of raw emotion — both live and in the rehearsal footage — nudge her closer to not just the Finals, but to the Mirrorball Trophy? Leave your comments below! —Mitch Rustad

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Sure Marija is going to win–you know the scores. Some people will do anything to get the ball.

  2. Margaret says:

    good grief what does donald have to do to get a 10 from Len? stand on his head & sing God Save the Queen? sheesh!

  3. chistosa says:

    Neither of Donald’s performances merited a 10 tonight. His waltz lacked rise and fall and and the samba lacked definition. While he was very good, he was not 10 worthy.

    • Angela says:

      I rather enjoyed his second dance, I thought it was very cute and fun. But yes, looking at whom he’s up against…I get the feeling he may find himself in danger of going home. Which is a shame, ’cause I do like him (and his backstory, WOW. Good for him for turning his life around so spectacularly).
      I felt so bad for Katherine at the end of her second dance. Poor girl-she was doing so well, too! I hope she’ll stick around-I’d be totally fine with her being one of the remaining two to battle it out, William being the other one (his dances were fantastic tonight).
      I know many here aren’t fans of Maria and Derek, but eh, I quite liked their dances, too. Really, I didn’t have a problem with anyone tonight, I thought every couple was quite impressive. They are definitely down to their best this season, that’s for sure.
      (Also, man, I completely forgot about Sherri. That seems like a long time ago now.)

    • Kim R says:

      I agree. Seeing the 4 couples dance twice, it stood out to me that while all are so good, Donald should be the one to go home. Sorry Donald. Katherine and Maria are amazing and William, well…is lovely to watch. ;)
      We’ll see what happens tonight. :)

    • Rachel Starr says:

      I think Donald did a amazing job! Way to go Donald and Peta! I love you keep going!

  4. Susan says:

    Without Max I’m not watching, but do think Derek will win. Boring.

    • sam says:

      Max shouldn’t have been there with melissa, i wish he had Sherri because i really wish Sherri was in the finals.

  5. smidnite says:

    I just don’t think Katherine’s breakup is as big a struggle as some of the other have had.

  6. Bette Fletcher says:

    In my opinion, Katherine is the best dancer…I hope that stumble doesn’t cause her to be voted off. I have always thought she was the front-runner from the get-go. She is definitely the classiest one out of the bunch too.

    • Kristi says:

      I agree, I also believe the judges are playing favorites and Derek always wins and it is kind of stupid when the judges go gaga over him.

      • kim says:

        Derek doesn’t always win. He’s an amazing choreographer and i hate the hate directed towards him. having said that, i hope that katherine wins.

        • CM says:

          I agree, he doesn’t always win, and doesn’t deserve the hate. But, I often wonder if it is in his contract to only be paired with thin and young woman. Why doesn’t he ever get paired with one of the older or real bodied stars? I would have liked to have seen him with Cloris, Marie Osmond, etc.

      • chistosa says:

        This is season 14. Derek has won 3 times. That does not come close to “always wins”.

    • katie says:

      I think her stumble could help her; people will be feeling sorry (as they should, I almost cried!) for her and will hopefully be more likely to vote. She’s an amazing dancer and has been the BEST all season! She can’t go home now!

      Also, people who say her breakup wasn’t a struggle; they already used the fact that her dad died unexpectedly when she was a teenager. That seems like a pretty hard struggle and the producers obviously couldn’t use that again.

      • R Cohn says:

        I agree! At first it didn’t seem fair for everyone else to seem like they had these big struggles (which they did and i applaud them for it) while Katherine had a broken heart. But it makes sense about her dad now. They couldn’t use the same thing twice. Really hope she stays. Katherine is in my opinion the best of the four and it suprises me she hasn’t got a 10 yet! I keep waiting!

  7. Leo says:

    Maria & Derek were way overscored.. Their A.T. was too stiff and repetitive, almost as Maria was holding back, scared.. The jive was a joke, with zero content.. No flicks or kicks, with a lazy execution and coreography..

    Katherine’s salsa was, by no means, great. And to be honest, the ending just added a sob feeling in a otherwise subpar dance.. It deserved 8s..

    Donald’s dance were great, but the samba lacked impact, mainly in the ending.. William’s way hotter and louder samba may cost Donald a few votes..

    In the end, I hope Maria gets the boot, cause she is a so so dancer, carried to this point just because she is with Derek, who manages routines where he dances circles around her, which is ridiculous.

    • Isabelle says:

      I agree on all counts. The jive had no jive feel and normally Len is the first to point that out and suddenly he says it didn’t matter when he’s ripped many other dancers for the same thing

    • jen says:

      Agreed! And what the heck happened to all of Maria’s broken bones?? Didn’t she have a new flipping injury every week for the first month of the show? Funny how those all just went away…

  8. Isabelle says:

    I’m sorry but every week not just when there’s emotional taped packages Maria finds a way to boo hoo. Derek I love him but I thought he was seriously injured, if you saw Extra you know what I’m talking about, and then bam trick after trick, if he was injured I weigh 100 pounds and trust; I don’t. I hope William and Katherine make the finale, too bad it couldn’t be a top 4 finally and they all stay. If I had to send one home it’d be Maria but I fear its Donald.

    • chistosa says:

      This post is almost incomprehensible. What are you trying to say? This reads as jumbled stream of consciousness. Organize your thoughts!

      • Isabelle says:

        Way to be rude. I don’t see anything wrong with my post except it reads finally instead of finale, too bad we can’t edit but typing errors are common. I wrote about how I think it was a setup saying Derek was so hurt and then he came out with so many tricks. Then I spoke about my favs and who should go home. Its really not that serious.

  9. Amanda says:

    I found it completely unfair that Maria and Derek got those dances tonight. Argentine Tangos always merit a 10 from a judge, and not a single other person had that dance tonight. The producers are rigging this is in Maria’s favor. She needs to go!

    Katherine deserves to stay.

    • sam says:

      They have never done either of those dances and the rest of them have — if they were voted off, they would not be getting those dances and really at this point the judges don’t matter because the judges scores are so close.

    • chistosa says:

      They all had to dance the dances they had not done yet. It was not rigged. There were some weeks when the pro could pick a dance they had not done yet. So those were the two left, nobody rigged anything.

  10. Tim says:

    Not that this matters, but Donald driver was a drug DEALER?! Didn’t see that coming.

  11. Karla says:

    I think the judges are favoring Maria and l don’t think she’s that great she’s does ok bcuz of the great dancer she has on top of that a drama queen she’s too much on her “emotions” Na!
    looks fake to me …the final should b Maria and William now that kat. Mess up on the last dance ;(..

  12. Roberto says:

    DWTS is produced by the BBC, but why isn’t Kate, a Brit, on the British version? Someone has been trying to make a star out of her since she conveniently subbed for Adele last season. In her defense though, watch her fall in slow motion and you’ll clearly see it was caused by her partner’s clumsy right leg banging into her.

    Levy is good, but could have been great with Kim as his partner. Why they insist on paring tall people with short isn’t fair to the star. And Kim’s a much better dancer and coreographer to boot.

    Don has the jock edge and will likely win inspite of his drug dealing past.

    Maria has been the most fun to watch. If personality and talent matter she has a shot.

    The judges are buffoons. The erratic scoring is growing tedious.

    • chistosa says:

      His “clumsy right leg” banged into her because she had a back spasm that caused her to jump up from the back bend and knock into him as he was stepping over her. That is why she was so apologetic.

    • Isabelle says:

      Delta Goodrim subbed for Adele. Katherine was here two seasons ago for classic week. I read in an interview with tvguide that she’s doing the american version because we have two seasons a year and nows when she had time off. The UK has only one season a yr.

  13. Pooh says:

    Maria and Derek’s jive was terrible!! They were so overscored, it was ridiculous. Maria is really not that good. I don’t know if Derek holds a gun to the judges’ heads before the show, but why they are being overscored every week is beyond me. They do not deserve to be in the finals over the other three, sorry. And Katherine is the best one there.

    • Shaun says:

      Yeah,I was watching that and I was like WTF,there was no kicks at all as far as I could see.Poor Katherine though,such a strange accident and Mark chose that idiotic routine to use(which seemed impractical).

  14. zenay says:

    ….William levy will win….

  15. Cyd Charisse says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that William will win because of all the screaming women in the place. I’m hoping that Katherine comes in second and is not voted off tonight. I hope Dial Idol is wrong.

    I guess I’m kind of tired of seeing Derek and his partners in the Top 3 year after year and although Derek is a great dancer, so is Mark and Cheryl and Karina and Maks and Anna and just about all the pros. Yet Derek seems to get dancers that are good. Does he have some clause in his contract saying he has to be in the Finale…because suddenly the judges are giving Maria perfect scores.

    Louis Van Amstel does a blog and even he said he thought they gave Maria high scores a few weeks ago to keep her in. And Louis should know.

    So the fix is in and one of these poor schnooks will have to go at that expense. I rather it be Donald than Katherine but I’d like to see Katherine, Donald and William in the Top 3, even if I’m positive William will win.