It’s the semi-finals, and boy does it feel like eons ago when poor Matt Walsh crashed and burned after only one night in the ballroom. Imagine if he had stayed and Harry Jowsey kicked the bucket early, instead! Oh, the laughs we would have had from the droll Veep star.
No use crying over spilled milk (especially when the golden bachelor seems to be doing that in every promo). This is Xochitl Gomez’s contest to lose, right? Let’s see if anyone came close to stealing her spotlight tonight.
Actress Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother) with partner Sasha Farber. Farber paid Hannigan the ultimate compliment by calling her the “true definition of Dancing with the Stars.” She’s the non-dancing celeb who actually improves over the course of the show. She’s living on borrowed time now, of course, and even the underdogs have to step it up — not simply stomp around while performing the jive to “Footloose.” “Darling, footloose and fancy free, let your hair down and have fun! I love the country western feel to it,” said Bruno Tonioli. “There were a couple of hesitancies. This is the semifinals. You’ve improved so much from week one.” Score: 25 out of 30
Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz with partner Daniella Karagach. Mraz got to perform a Viennese waltz to his song “I Won’t Give Up,” even if it made him nauseous! The singer-songwriter got a little dizzy in rehearsals while practicing the dance that his partner says is all about rotation, rotation, rotation. But he spun some magic in the ballroom, and even choked up while talking to co-host Julianne Hough afterwards. “Beautiful song, beautiful waltz. Proper, correct, you really danced like a gentleman,” said Tonioli. “On the rotation, a little more drive.” Score: 27 out of 30
Ariana Madix (Vanderpump Rules) with partner Pasha Pashkov. The reality star was adorbs in her rainbow fringe while performing a tireless jive to Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby” at the top of the show. Apparently, she’s achy in the back because she can’t quite extend her arms as perfectly as Inaba would like, but the judges went bananas over her performance, anyway. “You are not a runaway, baby,” said Derek Hough. “You are running toward the finale with that dance. That was solid. the twist the turns…it got a little heavy in some areas but that was a fantastic way to start the semi-finals.” Score: 28 out of 30
Charity Lawson (The Bachelorette) with partner Artem Chigvintsev. Lawson’s partner admitted that it’s hard for a non-singer, non-actress like her to emote, which is job one when performing the rumba. But Lawson, who’s damn near technically perfect, finally showed a little passion under the mirror ball. “The rumba is a deceptively difficult dance but you made it look effortless,” said Hough. “The way you articulated your feet. So fantastic!” Score: 29 out of 30
Actress Xochitl Gomez (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. The frontrunner actually thought she’d be out of this competition by week 5. As if. Tonight, Tonioli declared her a “samba diva” for performing flawlessly with her “bro” Val to Gloria Estefan’s “Samba.” “That was spectacular! The content was off the charts, maybe one of the most difficult routines we’ve ever seen,” said Carrie Ann Inaba. “Your flexibility, the bounce, so smooth … you are a star!” Perfect Score
Mraz and Karagach. Learning the paso doble was apparently hard for Mraz. But his mobility was through the roof; I defy any and all of you to perform a knee walk on cue. My meniscuses tore just watching him! “It’s not always about perfection,” said Inaba, after asking for a hug. “I’m looking for magic. That was magic!” Perfect Score
Gomez and Chmerkovskiy. This is what Chigvintsev meant when explaining to Lawson how important it was to give color to a dance. Gomez not only danced the waltz, she dramatized it. Her artistry is a sight to behold. It also brought Inaba to tears but really, that’s not much of a development since the ol’ girl seems to bawl every season. But we’re not laughing at you, Carrie Ann! “You know I was thinking about how importance this season is,” said Hough. “This is the first time we have the Len Goodman trophy. I’m telling you right now, Len would have loved that dance. That was absolutely perfect.” He’s right. Perfect Score
Lawson and Chigvintsev. How awful having to perform the quickstep after Gomez’ extraordinary waltz. But Lawson was jam-packed with joy while shuffling to Fifth Harmony’s “BO$$” and those dynamite Michelle Obama lyrics. “You put too much sass and pizzazz, which I’ve never seen before,” said Tonioli. “Work it because you’ve got it!” Perfect score
Hannigan and Farber. Farber did his partner proud by creating a sweet waltz that had Hough declaring it her best dance yet. Hannigan seemed to know it was her last performance of the season, so she was particularly grateful for the opportunity to go out on a high note. “I’m just proud of you,” added Inaba. “You have the ability for us to feel so much. The way you dance with such vulnerability.” Score: 26 out of 30
Madix and Pashkov. A vision in sea foam! Madix continues to amaze. This reality star whose day job involves yelling at her putz of an ex-boyfriend foxtrots like a true, graceful lady. “That was smooth, it was silky, it was sensual. It was sensational!” said Hough. “That was a jam-packed foxtrot.” Perfect Score
What a shocker of an ending. We all expected Hannigan to go home, right?
Not so fast.
After declaring Hannigan SAFE along with Mraz and Lawson, Host Alfonso Ribeiro left Madix and Gomez on the dance floor as the bottom two. Madix started to tear up. She thought she was a goner, until Ribeiro said EVERYONE was safe. WOW. So mean, Conrad Green!
Five couples in the finale! Good for Hannigan; she’s got dinner party conversation fodder to last her for decades. Until next week, fringe fans…