With the Mirrorball trophy so tantalizingly close, the tension during tonight’s two-hour Dancing With the Stars semifinals should have been tighter than Carlos PenaVega’s abs.
But without the prospect of another shocking, tear-stained exit – alas, Tamar Braxton’s withdrawal from the competition earlier this week (due to blood clots in her lungs) means all four remaining couples move safely into next week’s finale – we had to settle for a little DWTS history instead.
For the first time ever, our fearless couples tackled three dances on semifinals night: Couples’ dances; trio dances; and a dance-off challenge (for three extra bonus points). So let’s high-kick right to the highlights, rank tonight’s top dances and discuss your favorites for the Mirrorball trophy, shall we?
10. Nick Carter and pro Sharna Burgess (Tango): Looking a little shellshocked throughout, Nick fumbled through this performance — but didn’t you love, love, love Sharna’s subtle “I got you” mid-dance pep talk? Judges’ Score: 24/30
9. Alek Skarlatos and pro Lindsay Arnold vs. Carlos PenaVega and pro Witney Carson (Cha Cha): Bruno Tonioli called it a “chest off” competition and wanted more “wiggly bum” from both couples, while Julianne Hough, after noting Alek was still nicely waxed, said his musicality and technique were both a little off. Carrie Ann Inaba gave both her “well done” stamp of approval. Judges’ 3 Bonus Points Go To: Carlos and Witney.
8. Nick Carter and pro Sharna Burgess vs. Bindi Irwin and pro Derek Hough (Samba): Bindi was totally hip-tacular and totally stole the show here, but Nick came back strong from his opening stumble. Judges’ 3 Bonus Points Go To: Bindi and Derek
7. Bindi Irwin and pro Derek Hough (Salsa): It’s raining happiness! Julianne wanted a little more “down n’ dirty” salsa and Carrie Ann asked for a little more “edge,” but no matter, Bindi’s joyful performance made the ballroom downright giddy. Judges’ Score: 27/30
6. Alek Skarlatos and pros Lindsay Arnold/Emma Slater (Argentine Tango): Despite a powerful, dynamic start, this performance “lost a little stream” towards the end, according to Carrie Ann. Bruno called it “very, very effective,” but Julianne labeled it “melodramatic” then asked for even more drama! Alrighty, then! Judges’ Score: 27/30
5. Carlos PenaVega and pro Witney Carson (Contemporary): Seriously working a swingin’ rope in all his shirtless glory, Carlos went for something different – to mixed results. “I didn’t quite get it,” said Carrie Ann, to deafening “boos” from the ballroom, which kept coming during Julianne’s lukewarm comments. “As weeks are going by… you guys are losing your connection a little bit.” Harsh! But Bruno loved the innovative performance, calling it “bloody good” and “like watching Tarzan doing Cirque du Soleil.” Judges’ Score: 28/30
4. Carlos PenaVega and pros Witney Carson/Karina Smirnoff (Charleston): “I couldn’t take my eyes off of you,” said Carrie Ann of Carlos and this spectacular performance (though she held out for a “9”), while Julianne threw some good-humored shade at the ladies. “I thought you were the professional out there,” she winked at Carlos. Judges’ Score: 29/30
3. Alek Skarlatos and pro Lindsay Arnold (Waltz): “You captured this sweeping majesty and smoothness of a gliding eagle,” gushed Bruno, while Carrie Ann called this performance his “best ever” and Julianne called it “true dancing.” You could also call it perfect. Judges’ Score: 30/30
2. Nick Carter and pros Sharna Burgess/Peta Murgatroyd (Salsa): “All the Nick we have seen from day one was in that dance,” gushed Julianne, while Carrie Ann said simply, “the Backstreet Boy is back.” Mirrorball trophy alert, anyone? Judges’ Score: 30/30
1. Bindi Irwin and pros Derek Hough/Mark Ballas (Jazz): Bruno called this dance a “work of genius” while Carrie Ann was reduced to borderline cray, multiple repeats of “Whoa!” before she began to make some sense. “That was like a professional contemporary dance company!” she roared. Judges’ Score: 30/30