Julianne Hough returns with some bigger hair; a final four couple says goodbye

By Annie Barrett
Updated May 16, 2012 at 06:21 AM EDT

Dancing With the Stars

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I can’t believe it’s not crying! After a “night of triumph” in Monday’s semifinals, robotic-giggle-generator/professional tearjerker Maria Menounos and her partner Derek Hough headed home from the Dancing With the Stars ballroom. The overlords of Planet Mirrorballus (viewers like you) have decided Maria is not an asset to the Danceton Abbey. She seemed completely at peace with this by the time Tom announced her fate and she remained miraculously dry-eyed throughout their final chat, in which she wholeheartedly acknowledged “I wouldn’t have made it this far without [Derek’s] amazing talents and choreography.” Nice!

At least now Derek will get to stop disappearing into mirrorwalls to avoid rehearsal studio stress.

I don’t think it’s a shock that Maria and Derek headed home despite earning Monday’s top scores. Just three points separated the top and bottom couples, and no matter who went home, we had the satisfaction of a very competitive final four. This was all up to viewer votes — any elimination would have been upsetting. Take it from Tom, who stalled to point out the harsh truth as Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd stood “in jeopardy” with Maria and Derek: “No matter which way this goes, it’s gonna suck.”

We still have no idea “whose fault” Katherine Jenkins’ slip-up was during Monday night’s salsa — and I think it’s absurd to try and investigate it any further. I never want to see that footage again! But we saw it twice more in slow-motion — a good chance to live vicariously through the TV screen and imagine our own backs spasming out at any given frame. What fun for everyone.

Katherine looked terrified before she and Mark were announced as safe 10 minutes into the show, but then they practically danced an exhibition Latin routine — the ya ya ya? — in celebration of their place in the finals. So it looks like she’s physically fine. Dr. Bergeron’s prognosis: positive. There was something in the grassy knoll.

Julianne Hough — long-lost dance pro, acclaimed rocker of ages, and Ryan Seacrest’s girlfriend (I always need a few extra seconds to let that sink in…and then bobble back up to the surface) — returned to the ballroom to thrash around and wail with none other than Mary J. Freaking Blige and costar Diego Boneta in a plug for Rock of Ages. This performance was hilarious and so complicated staging-wise that I couldn’t believe it was really liiiiiiiiiiiiive.

But it was! Tom even got to interview Julianne’s ’80s hair after the group number. I initially typed that as “grope number” which I think would have been fairly accurate as well. I’m glad Julianne wore a seafoam (the universal color of rock and roll) fringed bodysuit to distinguish herself as Our Pro from the other talented dancers. Dynamo choreographer Mia Michaels was responsible for this number, so that might explain why I rewound it three times to relive its general momentum and ridiculata.

NEXT: The Top 7 (“seh-vehhhhhn!”) moments of the results show

Annie’s Top 7 (“Seh-vehhhhn!“) Results Show Moments for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

7. William Levy and Cheryl’s relaxed vibe for the Lencore of their bright pink samba. The extra hang time after his huge leap off the stairs allowed for the dramatic co-booty shake to seem even more “spontaneous” than it had on Monday (pictured).

6. Chelsie’s insanely hot red “tutu shoes” for the Macy’s Design a Dance samba with Tristan. Look for their memoir Red Shoe Diaries: The Ballroom Years coming in late 2014 to a bookstore near you.

5. Cheryl’s ruthlessness as she predicted that Derek shouldn’t cut Maria any slack: “If she got a perfect score while she was injured, she should be able to do it again.”

4. Alanis Morissette’s sparkly black guitar and general queenliness despite wearing jeans in the ballroom

3. Unfamiliar pros Blake McGrath and Tyne Stecklein, who accompanied Alanis on “Guardian,” were a marvel — and she wasn’t even wearing shoes! The lack of heels must have rendered her zero pounds instead of just a few as he whirled her around like a paper airplane. Those legs! I was mesmerized. These are no decoys. They’ll be keepers for life.

2. “Well, it is better than the laugh.” –Tom after Derek begged Maria not to scream in the confessional and of course she did it anyway.

1. EW.com blogger Tristan MacManus unleashing his inner Beyoncé!

Tristan also joined Sharna, Henry, and Emma to swarm Carrie Underwood in blue and black costumes that coordinated with her cool-colored reptilian dress. It was supposed to be Val instead of him, Tristan told me, but Val had to pull out at the last minute. They filmed this last Monday. Carrie’s sold like 300,000 copies of Blown Away since then. What a “Good Girl.”

Do you think Maria got voted off because she cheated on Derek with Tom?

Derek’s sad face would like to encourage you to appraise Your Hidden Gems of the Semifinals.

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I caught up with showmantic lovebirds Maria and Derek just before last week’s double-elimination results show as they debated potential freestyle songs (well in advance) and ran through a typical day in the life of Maria Menounos:

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Did the right couple go home, DANCMSTRs?

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett

Read more:

Tom Bergeron chats with Annie about season 14 — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Tristan’s blog: Design a Dance with Chelsie and his pick to win it all

‘Dancing With the Stars’: Your Hidden Gems of the Semifinals!

‘Dancing With the Stars All-Stars’: Who should be cast for season 15?

Season 14 semifinals recap: Four Score and Several Tears

Was Len Goodman the original inspiration for Flashdance?

Ask Annie anything about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (or whatever) in the video player below. To see her answers to previous questions, click on the text links below the picture. This is *not* liiiiiiive! and she is not really sitting there right now. She updates a few times per week.

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