Are semi-finals supposed to be this sad? A night of do-overs was overshadowed by a tragic revelation and a heartbreaking tale about hometown gun violence.
And then somebody undeserving had to go home! Ballroom dancing shouldn’t hurt this much, fringe fans.
Let’s see who left us tearing up and wanting a do-over of the do-overs.
James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater. It’s redemption week, people! Time for the judges to come in and share some tips. Van Der Beek was so thrilled to get him some Len Goodman time, who zeroed in on the actor’s cha-cha from week 2. The mission: show Len some nice hip action and crisp, clear movement and you’ll have his admiration. But if you throw in a back walk-over and some Saturday Night Fever arm movements, you’re probably gonna lose him. So what did he do? Channel Travolta. Bad Van Der Beek! “Because it’s disco music you want to get a slight disco vibe,” admitted Goodman. “I would have liked to see some more cha-cha-cha. There was too much messing about going on.” Oops. Score: 24 out of 30
Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko. Last week’s bottom two-er was told by Goodman that she needed to re-do her Paso doble from week 2 — but this time, stack it with more traditional shapes and steps that will prompt Goodman to speak in the third person about “being a happy guy.” Wait, he just did that in the rehearsal. Anyway, he (mostly) got what he wanted from her black velvet-clad redemption dance. “It was much improved,” he said. “Well done.” “So much stronger, more centered,” added judge Bruno Tonioli. “I’m telling you, great job.” Score: 27 out of 30
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson. Tonioli said the comedian’s tango from week 1 looked a “bit skippy and jumpy” and should model a “panther, not a kangaroo.” His redux had to happen to the Motown classic “Get Ready,” but he synced his tango up well and looked fancy in a pair of red rose pants. “You delivered on everything I asked,” Tonioli said. “You even managed to keep your own personality.” “You have become so refined,” said Carrie Ann Inaba. “You to me have come the furthest.” Score: 27 out of 30
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten. Okay this uncomfortable: the Bachelorette admitted that “Carrie has always been a little harder on me” and that “she has not been my source of confidence.” So when she and Alan were told to revisit the rumba from week 2, she appeared to get visibly upset by Inaba’s stream of critiques and teared up during rehearsal. Hey now, reminded Inaba: “I’m not an adversary.” After her performance, Brown confessed that she wasn’t actually upset with Inaba and that it was more about the crappy day she had while practicing the contemporary number. Dancing With the Stars is hard, man! Anyway, “I am so sorry if it seemed like I was dismissive of you trying to help me,” Brown pleaded. It’s totes cool, replied Inaba. They hugged it out. End of story. Score: 27 out of 30
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber. The pop star choked up toward the end of her Viennese waltz re-do from week 2 because she knew she nailed the improvements that Goodman called for during rehearsals. “Much more rotation than we saw the first time around,” said Goodman. “What a metamorphosis. You went from a caterpillar to a butterfly.” “You are such an emotional performer. That’s what gives you this magical factor when you dance,” said Inaba. “Thank you for pouring it on every time.” Score: 29 out of 30
James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater. The actor who charmed DWTS audiences earlier this season by saying how he and his wife Kimberly were expecting their sixth child made a devastating announcement before his foxtrot: they lost the baby. Van Der Beek admitted that he didn’t expect to dance, but his wife (from her hospital bed!) said the show must go on. “I don’t know how you got through that just now,” said Inaba. “I feel silly talking about your posture but what I really do appreciate is in the midst of all that, the human tragedy you went through, you gave great posture!” Score: 27 out of 30
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten. The former Bachelorette is still bumming out about not finding her true love on the ABC show, so she attempted to channel her disappointment — and hope for future love! — in her contemporary number. “Excuse me, madam, for the first time doing a contemporary dance, you did pretty well!” said Tonioli. “As I’ve said you move beautifully,” added Inaba. “Normally I’m not a big fan of contemporary. I’m a cup of tea in a world of lattes,” added Goodman. “But I must say the emotion came through.” Score: 27 out of 30
Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko. The country star talked about growing up in a working-class household and how making the finale would be the “perfect way” to thank her parents. Will her Viennese waltz make it happen? “It was graceful. I like those elements of the slow waltz you put in,” said Goodman. “So sophisticated, so classy, but what I like is the chemistry between you two,” said Tonioli. “It was like looking at a dream couple.” Score: 27 out of 30
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson. The comedian dedicated his contemporary dance to victims of gun violence after losing a teenage pal back in the day in Chicago. He honored him with a flawless performance. “What an achievement,” said Tonioli. “It was pure art.” “The dance that speaks to me the most is a dance like that, where you tell a story and express your feeling,” said Inaba. “It was riveting. It was pure.” Goodman gave him a standing ovation. Score: Perfect score!
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber. The pop star danced the Charleston of her life, since she went into the semi-finals worrying that this night would be her last in the ballroom. “If your goal was to set out to show you deserve to be in the finals, done done done!” said Inaba. “It was fast, it was fun, it was fabulous,” added Goodman. “There was a lot of Charleston references going on.” Score: Perfect score!
The bottom two couples were Ally and Sasha and James and Emma. Inaba and Tonioli saved Ally so James had to go home. A sobbing Ally then asked if she could take James’ place instead! This was just awful.
Let’s talk about it tomorrow. Make sure to download the Sirius XM app to listen to Eye on the Ball, EW’s first DWTS recap show!
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