In a shocking turn of events, a high scoring couple is eliminated.

Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

After last night’s impressive and emotional semifinal performances, would it be such a terrible idea to just hand out four Mirror Balls and call everyone a winner? I don’t think so. But unlike kindergarten soccer, someone has to win and someone has to lose in this glittery game. Tonight, one of the couples who earned some of the season’s highest scores from the judges was cut, which I’m sure created an uproar from many armchair dance “experts” watching. But to be fair, this show is as much about the popular vote as it is about dance skill, and like it or not, sometimes it’s not all about the dance. Unjust? I’ll let you debate it in the comments, but for now, let’s discuss what happened and find out which couples are left to battle it out for the season 20 golden Mirror Ball next week.

Erin, looking almost exactly like one of my favorite Barbie dolls from the ’80s, tells us the show will be “jam packed,” which means a Footloose-inspired group dance (sponsored by Almay’s summer “Simply American Experience” cross-country tour, which is basically a group of beautiful people—thanks, Almay—having a tailgating dance party on a front porch and in pickup trucks in front of a giant American flag wearing worn jeans, chambray, plaid, Daisy Dukes, fringed vests, and cowboy boots. Because ‘Murica); Emma and Sasha taking us through a two minute mash up of a century of dance (cute, but it’s no Evolution of Dance 2); a hot performance from the women of DWTS where they dance with ghosts; a lot of rhetoric from the pros; a performance of “GDFR” by Flo Rida (which kind of cancels out the Almay dance party); and an embarrassingly bad lip-sync performance of a song from the new Teen Beach 2 movie from Riker’s look-alike brother, Ross Lynch.

But what we’re really all here for isn’t to R-O-C-K in the USA or to ponder the questionable taste of the pre-teens of America, so let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

Immediately in jeopardy:

Noah and Sharna

Nastia and Derek

Rumer and Val

Immediately safe:

Riker and Allison

After 12 minutes of heart stopping, drawn out agony (and yes, I’m looking at you, Ross Lynch, even if you are a cutie), we learn that the three couples who will be dancing in the finals will be Riker and Allison, Noah and Sharna, and Rumer and Val. Which means Nastia and Derek are out.

Shocked? Since Nastia and Derek have had some of the highest scores and have performed some of the best dances I’ve seen on DWTS, I certainly was. But then I remembered that the popular vote carries just as much weight as the judge’s scores (at least that’s what they allude to—I don’t actually know the formula they use to combine scores, but I imagine it to be something like John Nash would come up with), and Nastia didn’t really have a “thing” for people to fall for. I mean, other than her fantastic dance skills and her Olympic drive, of course.

Noah, although not the best technical dancer, clearly has won the hearts of America, if not for the obvious reasons (his service to our country, his courage and true grit), then for his perfectly (questionably?) timed proposal last night. Rumer’s caterpillar to butterfly story has softened the hearts of the people as well, and that coupled with her insane dance skills should clinch the Mirror Ball for her next week. And Riker? Well … um … huh. Riker’s popularity I can’t explain, other than the fact that he’s a phenomenal dancer, seems like a super nice kid, and he’s in a band, which probably gave him all the votes in the under 25 demographic each week (and at least one in the much older than 25 demographic—cough).

I’m guessing next week is anybody’s game. So let’s hear it. Did the voters send the right couple go home? And which couple will you be voting to see covered in glitter next week? Remember, if you don’t vote, don’t complain!

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Dancing With the Stars

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