Dancing With the Stars Semifinals Recap: Who's Going to the Finale?

DWTS Season 25

We’re just eight days away from learning which Dancing With the Stars contestant will hoist that Mirrorball over his or her head — but first, they had to clear the hurdle of Monday’s semifinals.

The five remaining pairs performed two routines during Monday’s broadcast: For the first, each pro got to choose a song that they thought best encapsulated his or her partner. For the second — arguably one of the series’ most difficult rounds in recent memory — couples were asked to recreate an iconic, perfect-score-receiving routine from a past season of DWTS. (As if getting to the finale weren’t stressful enough.)

Though some couples rose to the occasion on Monday night, proving why they should walk away the victors of Season 25, others were less impressive, tripped up by complex choreography and bizarre combinations of dance style and song choice. Before we break down the results, let’s recap the highlights of the semifinals:

Jordan Fisher and pro Lindsay Arnold (Jive inspired by Mark Ballas and Paige VanZant in Season 22) — Never have jive kicks been so light! Never has a double cartwheel been so seamless! Never has a Dancing With the Stars routine been this fast… maybe ever? After delivering a just-okay Argentine tango in the first half of Monday’s broadcast, an injured Jordan and injured Lindsay proved their Mirrorball worthiness with an explosive, energetic jive that will go down as one of the fastest and most impressive in series history. Judges’ Score: 30/30

Victoria Arlen and pros Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson (Contemporary set to The Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build a Home”) — At long last, Victoria and Val had that routine on Monday night — and not a moment too soon. Though some of the remaining pairs faltered in the semifinals, Victoria used this week to work on just about every critique she’s ever gotten from the judges, from her blank expression to her lack of extensions. In this performance — a tribute to her parents and the care they gave her while she was in a vegetative state — Victoria was so graceful and engaged with the storytelling. (And if you want proof that this contemporary wasn’t a fluke, Victoria and Val also brought their A-game with a Charleston later in the evening, which was lightning-fast and a lovely showcase for Victoria’s improved performance skills.) Judges’ Score: 27/30

Drew Scott and pro Emma Slater (Jazz inspired by Corbin Bleu, Karina Smirnoff and Witney Carson in Season 17) — Just one week after awkwardly dancing alongside reigning champ Rashad Jennings — one of the smoothest operators in the history of DWTS — Drew was handed the unenviable task of clearing a bar set by Corbin Bleu, another of the series’ most charismatic and skilled dancers. Granted, Drew didn’t quite live up to the clean, precise jazz that Corbin delivered a few seasons ago. But given the routine’s crazy-fast pace and intricate choreography (including a kick line with the troupe and one of the most nerve-racking lift sequences in series history), Drew did a wholly commendable job. Judges’ Score: 24/30

Frankie Muniz and pro Witney Carson (Salsa set to The Ying Yang Twins’ “Shake”) — Frankie’s Dancing journey has thus far been a mixed bag of fantastic routines and lackluster ones. This salsa, unfortunately, fell into the latter category — even though it had the potential to be a Season 25 highlight, had Frankie hit every beat. But there was no fluidity in his hips, and during that mid-routine combo with the troupe, he stepped in the wrong direction and bumped right into Sasha. Frankie’s commitment to rehearsal and desire to stay on the show are clear — but if future routines aren’t perfectly polished, he and Witney will fall just short of snagging that shiny trophy. Judges’ Score: 25/30

And now, the results:

ADVANCING TO FINALE (in order they were announced)
Lindsey Stirling and pro Mark Ballas
Drew Scott and pro Emma Slater
Jordan Fisher and pro Lindsay Arnold
Frankie Muniz and pro Witney Carson

Victoria Arlen and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (and on their best night, too!)

OK, your turn. Do you agree with Victoria and Val’s elimination? Drop a comment below with your thoughts on Monday’s episode and the contestants headed to the finale.

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