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There are seven days left in Dancing With the Stars‘ current season, and we’ve officially done away with theme nights, gimmicky guest judges and those ever-helpful bonus point rounds… but that doesn’t mean the show is out of surprises.
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During Tuesday’s broadcast, the five remaining contestants — Ariana Madix, Jason Mraz, Xochitl Gomez, Alyson Hannigan and Charity Lawson — performed two full duets with their partners, one in a ballroom dance style and one in a Latin dance style. With only four spots (allegedly) available in next week’s finale, and the Len Goodman Mirrorball trophy poised to come off Charli D’Amelio’s shelf, Season 32’s semifinalists brought their very best, resulting in a whopping five perfect scores out of 10 total performances.
But the real jaw-dropper came during the results at the end of the episode, when hosts Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough revealed… that no one was going home! Yep, for the first time ever, five couples will compete in the season finale. That was especially welcome news for Ariana and Xochitl, both of whom appeared in jeopardy of getting eliminated until this last-minute twist was announced. (Xochitl, who we sometimes need reminding is just a teenager, was teetering on the verge of an emotional meltdown when she thought she might get the boot.)
Scroll down for our complete recap of Tuesday’s semifinal performances, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the elimination-free episode!
Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov
First up for Ariana and Pasha was a jive, which felt surprisingly muted for being such a lightning-fast style. It may have been first-performance-of-the-night jitters for Ariana, or the apparent ribcage/spine injury she’s been dealing with, but her energy was just a smidge under Pasha’s the entire time. Closing out the broadcast, though, was a completely different story for Ariana, who danced her Round 2 foxtrot with a combination of grace, sensuality and carefree delight that reminded us all why she’s been a frontrunner since the very first week.
JIVE SCORE: 28 out of 30
FOXTROT SCORE: 30 out of 30 (Ariana’s first-ever perfect score!)
Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach
A Viennese waltz was up first for Jason, who admitted in his pre-performance package that this style’s many, many twirls left him feeling nauseated. And though Jason didn’t look particularly queasy when he danced live, there was the slightest disconnect in his emotion toward Daniella; perhaps playing a contestant’s actual song, with their vocals, is really a distraction instead of an asset! Anyway, next up was a paso doble, which Jason absolutely demolished, even adding some last-minute “emotional freedom” that Carrie Ann had said was missing from Round 1. He was beautifully in sync with Daniella when they danced side by side, and those true paso doble elements — the knee walks! the knee walks! — were delivered with clarity and intensity.
VIENNESE WALTZ SCORE: 27 out of 30
PASO DOBLE SCORE: 30 out of 30
Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy
Xochitl and Val first tackled a samba, which, even with the Gloria Estefan soundtrack playing at half-speed, was still incredibly fast and packed with traditional content from start to finish; Xochitl’s face betrayed some nerves for maybe the first time all season, though she completely delivered on the technique front. Later, it was time for a waltz, which brought two out of three judges to tears and was performed with all the elegance, ease and proper form that you’d expect from an actual professional.
SAMBA SCORE: 30 out of 30
WALTZ SCORE: 30 out of 30
Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev
Charity proved with her Round 1 rumba that she’s got the best technical execution in the Season 32 game, and she paired those flawless lines with some heartfelt emotion, at long last. (I, too, wanted to cut Derek’s critiques short when he implied her passion was still lacking; thanks for taking one for the team, Bruno.) And Charity later maintained that energy for her Round 2 quickstep, a densely packed routine that she performed with some highly enjoyable attitude.
RUMBA SCORE: 29 out of 30
QUICKSTEP SCORE: 30 out of 30 (Charity’s first-ever perfect score!)
Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber
It’s been said many times this season — and it’s true every time! — that Alyson embodies what Dancing With the Stars is all about, as she gamely challenges herself and improves each week despite no prior dance experience. But with Harry Jowsey now out of the competition, Alyson has noticeably weaker technique than every other remaining contestant; Sasha delivered with more content in their Round 1 jive, but Alyson’s energy was flagging in those side-by-side sections, and that trick when Sasha launched himself into Alyson’s arms? Reader, I was worried. Fortunately, their Round 2 waltz was a stronger (and, for Alyson, much more self-assured) showing, despite some small footwork fumbles.
JIVE SCORE: 25 out of 30
WALTZ SCORE: 26 out of 30
So, who deserves to win it all in next week’s season finale? Give us your thoughts below!
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