After hanging in there -- usually behind the ladies -- in the competition throughout Season 16, Jacoby Jones finally made his big play in Monday's "Dancing with the Stars" semi-finals, leaping into a tie at the top of the leaderboard with gymnast Aly Raisman.
Jacoby, a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, made his mama proud (she was in the audience once again) in two dances with pro partner Karina Smirnoff, the first of which earned he and his pro their first perfect score of the season.
Rehearsals were tough on the duo -- Karina injured herself, slamming her jaw into Jacoby as she landed on his back during rehearsals, an incident which required her to get checked out at a local hospital. But, during their actual first performance in the ballroom on Monday, the pair was fearless in their Argentine tango, crisscrossing the floor with sharp moves that left the studio audience on its feet.
The performance was so powerful, a usually reserved Len got on his feet (almost Bruno Tonioli style) for his critique.
"That's what I'm talking about," the Brit said. "Mood, intensity... Ka-ching! Right on the money, Jacoby. That was great!"
Carrie Ann Inaba also was prompted to stand while delivering her verdict on the dance, and in lieu of commentary, actually did a sexy, interpretive shimmy to voice her seal of approval.
It was the lindy hop that Jacoby and Karina tackled in Round 2, and again the duo electrified the ballroom, and earned an additional 29 out of 30, for a total of 59 out of 60 for the night.
"That was a frantic frenzy of electricity," Bruno raved. "You got everybody fired up, including me."
Aly and Mark Ballas were also judges' favorites on Monday, first, for a perfect-scoring rumba that Bruno said left everyone, "enchanted."
Their second routine was a "DWTS" first -- an Afro-jazz number that saw the pair in headdresses and tribal makeup as they tackled a very difficult series of moves, heavy on the thigh work.
"You have exceeded all expectation," Bruno said, referring to Aly's growth over the competition. "If you don't make it to the final, I'm going to judge in Speedos.
With a tie for the top spot, Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough came in third with a total for the night of 58 out of 60, for two numbers -- the first of which, an Argentine tango, began in silhouette.
"It's absurd that you can attain that level of perfection," Carrie Ann commented on Derek and Kellie's first 30-point scoring routine of the season.
The flamenco was the dance Kellie and Derek took on in Round 2, and there were a couple of moments that Carrie Ann and Bruno took issue with (they both docked them one point each, giving them 28 out of 30 for the dance and 58 out of 60 for the night).
Zendaya and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, who have been in the top group nearly all season long, fell to fourth for the night.
With their fellow competitors raising their game, Zendaya and Val were hurt score-wise after the judges dinged the pair for a not-quite-perfect quickstep in Round 1.
"You lost your footing a couple times," Bruno said as Zendaya and Val ended up with 25 out of 30 for the first round.
But Round 2 was much better for Zendaya and her partner, who picked up 30 out of 30 for their hip-hop routine, this despite Val never having performed the style of dance in competition before Monday's show.
"You've got to be kidding me," Bruno said, floored by their routine. "Get out of here! ... [It was] so cool, you gave me chills."
"General Hospital" hunk Ingo Rademacher and pro Kym Johnson took the final spot on the leaderboard -- fifth for the night, despite their numbers being some of Ingo's best for the season.
Carrie Ann enjoyed their first routine -- a 24-point scoring samba, but she noted he was "inconsistent."
For their second number, the Charleston, the pair impressed the judges.
"Fun! Fun! Fun," Bruno yelled as the pair picked up 27 points for a total of 51 out of 60 for the night. "Champagne for everyone."
-- Jolie Lash
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