SPOILER ALERT: This recap reveals the elimination results of Week 10 of "Dancing With the Stars."
Leave it to "Dancing With the Stars" to cap off an "Unplugged Night" with a guest appearance by the show's biggest mouthpiece! That's right, Maksim Chmerkovskiy was back, but he wasn't dancing. Instead, the "DWTS" legend was talking and pulling out the score paddles as a guest judge, which made for a whole lotta noise in the ballroom.
The highly anticipated return of the popular pro dancer came on the ABC dancing competition's first-ever "Plugged/Unplugged" theme night, which had the five remaining couples dancing to both a "plugged" and an "unplugged" (read: acoustic) version of the same song.
But first, Chmerkovskiy had a chance to say his piece, promising he wouldn't be a hypocrite. Referring to fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman, he said of his days as a "DWTS" pro: "These guys were criticizing me. We disagreed. I want to make sure I am in this position the way I wanted them to be when we disagreed."
In addition to Chmerkovskiy's announcement and his entertaining critiques, the live semifinal round also featured a major elimination when Leah Remini and her pro partner Tony Dovolani became the eighth couple to be cut from the competition. So close to that mirrorball trophy, yet so far!
See Remini's performance from last week:
The former "King of Queens" star said she learned a lot from her experience on the show. "I take away so much," she said. "I have to thank Tony, he's put so much work, and the crew. This has been an amazing experience and I want to thank everybody here, Tony especially. My family for supporting me, my fans, everybody's been amazing."
Dovolani noted that while he's competed on the show for 16 seasons, it never gets stale with a partner like Remini. "I have to tell you, I've never looked so forward to practice every single day," the Season 15 mirrorball champ said. "This woman would go the extra mile for me."
Check out the rest of the highlights from the "Dancing With the Stars" semifinals round:
The show kicked off with Remini and Dovolani's Paso doble, which received mixed reviews (Inaba called it "a rough road"), but Chmerkovskiy let a skirt stepping mishap slide. "At the end, it doesn't really matter, you stepped on the skirt," he said. "It's not a technical mistake, so I'm overlooking that."
Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff didn't dazzle all of the judges (Goodman called their tango "too full on," and Tonioli criticized Bleu for losing the frame at times), but Chmerkovskiy dismissed that, too. "The performance on 'Dancing With the Stars' is a little different than in competition," he said. "So forget the frame. Frame was great, content was amazing."
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke's jazz "lacked a little finesse" (according to Goodman), while Bill Engvall cha cha-ed through a groin injury. Of the painful dance, Chmerkovskiy chimed in with: "I personally don't believe in talent, I believe in hard work." Goodman told the comedian, "You're not always the judges' champion, but you're the people's champion."
And Amber Riley and Derek Hough almost got a perfect score (Chmerkovskiy was the holdout!), with a jazz that wowed the judges. While a suddenly stingy Chmerkovskiy only gave the duo a 9, he compared the dancing to that of legendary jazz choreographer Bob Fosse.
For the stripped down second round, there were a trio of tangos and two perfect scores. Remini and Dovoloni's Argentine tango had Chmerkovskiy saying, "I see you in the final but I need you to go into that next gear," while Osbourne and Burke were back in the zone with their version of the dance. (Score: an impressive 38 points.) Engvall and Emma Slater were sexy (and they knew it), and Goodman gave them this backhanded compliment: "I don't know if you have the skill to win, but you have the will to win." (Um, thanks?)
[Photos: Check Out 'DWTS' Performance Pics]
But it was Riley and Hough's Viennese waltz and Bleu and Smirnoff's romantic rumba that had all of the judges — including Chmerkovskiy — pulling out their "10" paddles. Chmerkovskiy called his ex-fiancée "one of the top five female dancers of all time," and she returned the compliment with a kiss.
Here's the full list of scores from Week 10 of the "Dancing With the Stars":
- Amber Riley and Derek Hough (39 out of 40 points, 40 out of 40 points)
- Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff (35 out of 40 points, 40 out of 40 points)
- Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke (33 out of 40 points, 38 out of 40 points)
- Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani (32 out of 40 points, 33 out of 40 points)
- Bill Engvall and Emma Slater (28 out of 40 points, 32 out of 40 points)
"Dancing With the Stars" airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.