Dancing with the Stars Semi-Finals recap: Live blog

Ora Sawyers

Last week “Too Hot to Handle” reality TV personality Harry Jowsey was the ninth celebrity eliminated from “Dancing with the Stars,” leaving five to compete for the Len Goodman Mirror Ball Trophy: actress Xochitl Gomez, actress Alyson Hannigan, “The Bachelorette” alum Charity Lawson, “Vanderpump Rules” star Ariana Madix and singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. So what happens when those five perform two full routines on Semi-Finals night? Scroll down for our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments and commentary as the night progresses.

Mirror Ball front-runner Xochitl is slated to dance a samba and a waltz. Samba is notoriously one of the hardest styles to learn and perform on “DWTS,” and Jason struggled with his on “Whitney Houston Night” before he came back with a vengeance on “A Celebration of Taylor Swift.” Will it challenge Xochitl just as much, or will it be child’s play for the 17-year-old actress?

Jason, meanwhile, has a Viennese waltz and a paso doble to contend with. Those two dances give the Grammy winner an opportunity to show the judges and viewers at home his range as a performer, and he has certainly done so in the past, showing subtle grace with his rumba and intensity with his perfect-scoring Argentine tango last week. He just needs to remember his choreography to stay golden.

Charity has got a rumba and a quickstep. Her challenge this week, as it has been for several weeks now, will be to show an emotional connection to the music and her movement. Ariana, however, has been on an upward trajectory all season and will put that to the test with two fast-paced dances: a jive and a quickstep. Her back was bothering her in last week’s clip package. Let’s hope that didn’t affect her preparations for these demanding routines.

And underdog Alyson has a jive and a waltz. She just performed a jive during her relay dance on Taylor Swift night, so she had a head start preparing for that one. Can she upset one of the other four celebs to earn a spot in the finals? Follow along below starting at 8:00pm (times listed are Eastern).


Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov (Jive)

Daniel Montgomery, 8:03pm — Ariana getting us started, so probably not gonna get a perfect score until round two? Judges will probably save their 10s for later.

Jeffrey Kare, 8:05pm — Wouldn’t surprise me.

DM, 8:05pm — Pasha is also challenging her with some tougher choreography. This could set her up nicely for round two if she executes.

DM, 8:07pm — Dayum, if that was a second round routine I’d say that gets 10s. Not a step out of place.

JK, 8:09pm — That had such infectious energy!

JUDGESDerek Hough says she’s running towards the finale with that dance, it got a little heavy in some areas, but great jive content. Bruno Tonioli thought it was a runaway hit, bright, light, sassy and sexy. Carrie Ann Inaba thinks she has everything she needs to win the competition, but sometimes she seems to be holding back and it may be an injury.

JK, 8:11pm — I knew they were gonna cut to commercial before Ariana gets her scores.

DM, 8:11pm — I think she still might get a 10 from Bruno. Derek and Carrie Ann were almost looking for something to point out to give 9s.

Cordell Martin, 8:14pm — I can see her getting a 10.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Derek (9), Bruno (10) = 28 out of 30

JK, 8:15pm — Spot on there.

Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 8:15pm — Jason starting with his waltz is good because he has a chance to really steal the show with the paso later.

DM, 8:19pm — Great job by Jason, he has really improved his work in hold. Great flow across the floor.

JK, 8:19pm — Excellently elegant!

CM, 8:20pm — Jason is coming on strong! That was beautiful.

JUDGES — Bruno thought it was proper and correct and danced like a gentleman, but he needed more drive during the rotations. Carrie Ann thought it was refined, but she wanted to see more emotional freedom because he seemed a little guarded. Derek thought it was like plucking the strings of a guitar instead of strumming the strings.

CM, 8:21pm — Carrie Ann tried it.

DM, 8:21pm — Confused by the guitar metaphor from Derek, but he’s getting 9s.

CM, 8:22pm — Yeah he’s getting all 9s.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 27 out of 30

DM, 8:24pm — I think Carrie Ann was setting him up to really come out with big emotions on his paso. She’s got that 10 paddle waiting. If he remembers his steps LOL

Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy (Samba)

DM, 8:26pm — Okay Xochitl, get the samba out of the way and you’re good to go.

DM, 8:30pm — Hardest dance of the season, and Xochitl was pretty much note-perfect with it. I couldn’t spot any flaws.

JK, 8:31pm — Incredibly stylish!

CM, 8:31pm — Another killer routine by Xochitl.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was spectacular, the content was off the charts, one of the most difficult routines she’s seen, her flexibility, her bounce, she’s a star. Derek loved it, the content had texture and quality of movement, quick and crisp turns. Bruno thinks she’s the samba diva, the content was the essence of samba.

DM, 8:32pm — She’s getting all 10s.

JK, 8:23pm — And its deserved.

CM, 8:32pm — She deserves to win the Mirror Ball IMO.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30

DM, 8:34pm — I agree, Cordell, she’s the best this season.

Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev (Rumba)

DM, 8:37pm — She has to connect emotionally to this one. It’s a passionate, romantic dance. She needs to really play the character of the dance.

DM, 8:41pm — That was the most emotional abandon I’ve seen from Charity. She could get a couple of 10s too.

JK, 8:42pm — Stunning all around!

CM, 8:42pm — Come on Charity! She needed that type of dance tonight.

JUDGES — Derek thought she made the dance look effortless, the way she articulated her feet was fantastic, but there’s still a bit of emotional disconnection. Bruno begs to differ, she was really emoting and feeling the dance. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno that Charity had the breakthrough, it was artistry in motion.

DM, 8:44pm — 10s from Carrie Ann and Bruno, 9 from Derek.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Derek (9), Bruno (10) = 29 out of 30

JK, 8:45pm — Spot on again.

DM, 8:45pm — They’re making it easy tonight, really telegraphing their punches.

CM, 8:45pm — LOL

CM, 8:48pm — I gotta throw some votes to Charity.

Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber (Jive)

DM, 8:49pm — Love Alyson! If this is her last night, what a great run.

DM, 8:52pm — Not the most graceful of the celebrities, but that was incredibly demanding choreography, and she actually hit pretty much all of it.

JK, 8:53pm — They just rocked the ballroom with that.

CM, 8:53pm — it was a fun dance. Really suited her personality.

JUDGES — Bruno loved the country-western feel, there were a couple of errors but she has improved so much from week one. Carrie Ann thanks Sasha for the extra choreography, and she makes everyone believe they can dance. Derek appreciates that she’s fighting to be in the finale, there were a few problems here and there, but he loves watching her.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Derek (8), Bruno (8) = 25 out of 30

DM, 8:56pm — Surprised by that 9. I would have thought all 8s.

DM, 8:57pm — I’m gonna throw votes to Jason. He’s second to last on the leaderboard and fans (like me) love Alyson.


Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach (Paso Doble)

DM, 9:04pm — Jason’s gonna have to really kill it since he’s going first in this round so he’s not forgotten by the end of the night.

JK, 9:04pm — I agree.

DM, 9:07pm — Give him his flowers and his 10s. He did the thing with difficult choreo and stellar execution.

JK, 9:08pm — Incredible choreography and footwork!

CM, 9:08pm — No words! He did that.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann gives him a hug. He delivered magic. Derek thought he pasoed all over that doble, it was a proper paso. Bruno thought it was diabolical, he was a man possessed, it was extra difficult because the tempo was syncopated, and he still nailed it.

DM, 9:10pm — He’s getting his 10s. But where he lands on the leaderboard depends on how everyone else does. The judges are getting 10-happy, so he might still end up fourth on the leaderboard.

CM, 9:11pm — True.

JK, 9:11pm — Very true indeed.

CM, 9:11pm — But I think he’s safe.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30

Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy (Waltz)

DM, 9:14pm — After that paso, Xochitl doing another stellar dance is gonna be a little anticlimactic LOL, not to take anything award from her outstanding work.

DM, 9:18pm — Okay, I take it back, that wasn’t anticlimactic. She put a little something extra on that. Beautiful arms, emotion in every single movement.

JK, 9:19pm — Surprisingly absolutely no one, Xochitl once again did AMAZING work!

CM, 9:19pm — That was touching.

JUDGES — Derek says that Len Goodman would have loved that dance, it was absolutely perfect. Bruno thought it was magnifique. She’s an artist and became the rose in front of their eyes. Her maturity of expression at a young age is impressive. Carrie Ann’s heart was deeply touched. That transported her to another world.

CM, 9:20pm — Yes Derek, Len would’ve loved that dance.

DM, 9:20pm — I agree, that would’ve been perfect for Len, pristine content and execution.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30

CM, 9:22pm — I can’t wait for their freestyle next week

DM, 9:22pm — Their freestyle is gonna be great. But depending on how that goes, Val might want to consider adding this one to his Emmy reel.

Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev (Quickstep)

DM, 9:26pm — Charity doesn’t have to emote quite as much during a quickstep, all she needs to do it hit the steps and nail the technique to continue the streak of 10s.

DM, 9:29pm — Excellent quickstep, but will that continue the 10s streak? I’m not so sure. It was stellar, but was missing a little something.

JK, 9:30pm — Once again, they really brought the house down!

CM, 9:30pm — She would’ve gotten a perfect score had she not gone after xotchitl

JUDGES — Bruno thought she brought sass and pizazz. Carrie Ann thinks that when she has fun, the audience has fun. She seemed to be losing steam for a second, but she didn’t let the energy drop. Derek thought she made it look easy and exciting.

CM, 9:32pm — I think she might get two 10s and one 9.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30

DM, 9:32pm — Okay, the judges are just in 10 mode tonight. Not enough to give Alyson a perfect score, but Aly could actually get straight 9s from this panel.

CM, 9:33pm — Whew, thank God she got those perfect scores. Yeah it might be Alyson’s time.

JK, 9:35pm — As Daniel said earlier, if that is the case, let’s hope this would be a great note for her to go out on.

Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber (Waltz)

DM, 9:35pm — I feel like waltz might come naturally to Alyson as a dance style.

DM, 9:38pm — If that turns out to be her last dance, it was her best of the season.

CM, 9:39pm — I’m so glad these are the couples that made it to the semi finals.

JK, 9:39pm — Absolutely touching work.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann is proud of her, she makes the audience feel so much because she dances with emotional vulnerability, but there were a few steps out of place. Derek thought it was her best dance, and she comes out with a great spirit. Bruno thought it had a dream-like quality, she wasn’t overdoing it, she was listening to the music and didn’t make mistakes.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 26 out of 30

CM, 9:45pm — This is going to be a close vote.

Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov (Foxtrot)

DM, 9:46pm — If Ariana stays upright, it’ll be straight 10s LOL

CM, 9:47pm — I know right, LOL

JK, 9:50pm — Perfection!

CM, 9:50pm — Another perfect score lol

DM, 9:50pm — I agree. I’d give that one 9s personally, but it was excellent work.

JUDGES — Derek thought it was smooth, silky and sensational, she had control, maturity and elegance. Bruno thought the quality of movement, the fluidity and then the skipping, brilliant. Carrie Ann thought she left it all in the ballroom for everyone to see.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30

CM, 9:54pm — Ariana is like I want my perfect score too lol


1. Xochitl Gomez — 30 + 30 = 60
2. Charity Lawson — 29 + 30 = 59
3. Ariana Madix — 28 + 30 = 58
4. Jason Mraz — 27 + 30 = 57
5. Alyson Hannigan — 25 + 26 = 51


DM, 9:54pm — I actually voted for everybody but Alyson tonight. I love her, but I feel like the other four are the right final four, and it’s been that way all season.

CM, 9:55pm — Yeah I agree. It will be the strongest final four in a while.

DM, 9:55pm — And the most evenly matched.

CM, 9:57pm — Actually I like last year’s final four last year despite Charli’s dominance lol

DM, 9:57pm — The celebs moving on the finale are … Alyson Hannigan (whoa!), Jason Mraz (thank god!), Charity Lawson (whoa, is Ariana going home?)

DM, 10:00pm — The eliminated celeb is … NO ONE!

JK, 10:02pm — Holy sh*t! Wow! That’s a huge relief!

DM, 10:02pm — Oh for Christ’s sake, they’re all going to the finale? LOL, I’m happy for them all, but that was mean to put them through that ordeal.

JK, 10:02pm — I had this feeling that Alyson wasn’t going to be eliminated as expected … just didn’t expect no elimination at all.

CM, 10:03pm — They got us good with that one lol. I thought Charity was a goner after Alyson was announced safe.

DM, 10:04pm — We got a non-elimination night after all, just not the week we were expecting haha.

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Tuesdays on ABC and Disney+. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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