They say things come in threes or the rule of three. That was the definitely the case on Monday night’s semifinals of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” The reality TV competition show was originally slated with five couples. Throughout the live telecast’s first hour were updates about Tamar Braxton who had made it into the semis last week. Apparently they wanted to make sure viewers were aware she had to leave for medical reasons. The triple night consisted of the standard couples dance, a Latin dance-off, and the highly anticipated trio dances.
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough opened the show with a salsa featuring a crowd on the ballroom floor. Their salsa did not impress the judges and only received 9’s. Before each dance the celebrities had their own video packages featuring family members and what made them who they are today. Alek Skarlatos’ bio film clearly stood out touching upon his life in Sacramento, joining the National Guard and the Paris train attack in August. Their waltz opened with Alek standing at salute to the American flag where Lindsay Arnold entered the ballroom. He looked dashing in a suit while gliding across the floor to “America the Beautiful” arranged and performed exquisitely by Ray Chew. Alek clearly has peaked at the right time in the competition earning his first perfect score of 30 from these very tough judges.
Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson worked their contemporary with a rope. His stint towards the end had him swinging around it looking like something from Cirque du Soleil. It was clearly breath-taking. Some of the judges weren’t impressed, yet Bruno gave Carlos a 10 for a total score of 28. Nick Carter’s pre-show video was extremely somber to say the least. It obviously affected his performance with Sharna Burgess with their tango. They received the lowest scores thus far of only 24.
This round featured Alek in the lead, Carlos in second, Bindi third and Nick at the bottom. It will not last as the dance-off round brought out Alek as the first couple for their cha-cha. There’s no doubt Alek has vastly improved in the Latin dances. He clearly had a lot of fun. Carlos obviously owned this one which is certainly no surprise. Carrie Ann Inaba had Alek and Lindsay winning this dance-off while the other judges voted for Carlos who was awarded three extra points and became the new leader at 31. Bindi and Derek showed off their intricate samba rolls for their dance-off against Nick and Sharna. Bindi was the clear winner in receiving three extra points tying with Alek at 30.
The third and final round of competition had all four couples truly shine in their respective trio dances. Bindi, Derek, and Mark Ballas used interesting lighting fixtures and other Home Depot-like materials for their jazz routine that earned a perfect score. Alek, Lindsay, and Emma Slater were destined to be together once again for a sizzling and powerful Argentine tango. He’s definitely become the male celebrity king of lifts from all seasons on “Dancing with the Stars” and Alek proved it with his two pro partners. There is no way he lost his energy at the end of the dance according to the judges. At least they earned all 9’s, which is actually a first for Alek and Lindsay.
Carlos, Witney, and Karina Smirnoff danced a high-energy Charleston that was fun and bouncy. They were awarded a near perfect score of 29 with Carrie holding out by stating they were out of sync. The audience begged to differ. Nick, Sharna, and Peta Murgatroyd, who has returned from an injury that sidelined her earlier this season, closed out the brilliant semi-finals with a salsa that was deemed Nick’s comeback dance by the judges earning him a perfect score. Afterwards it was Bindi and Carlos who tied for the lead at 60, Alek at 57, and Nick with 54.
Would there still be an elimination with only four couples now that Tamar was out of the competition? Alek and Lindsay were called first to move on to the finals, Carlos and Witney will be joining them. Nick and Bindi were thought to be in jeopardy until Tom Bergeron announced they were also in the finals for next week’s popular freestyles.