Eric McCandless / ABC

It's A Perfect-Score Party In The Dancing With The Stars Semifinals

The judges love the trio dances so much, they award perfect 30s to each couple, but one duo still has to go home before next week's finals.

There's not really a theme this week. I mean, they claim it's something like "Where I Come From" and each roll-in package is all about the star's childhood and stuff, but then the actual routine has nothing to do with it. Boring. Far more exciting are the trio dances, which can sometimes be a bit of a bust, but this season resulted in well-deserved perfect scores for all of the dancers. And then we find out what dead weight is getting dropped before we head straight to the finals next week. Exciting! Your rankings:

10. Calvin Johnson Jr and Lindsay: Tango

The most impressive thing I learned from Calvin's bio package is that he retired from football at thirty, leaving money on the table, because he wanted to have quality of life. That takes some balls, and I admire it. Anyway, their tango is rushed and sloppy, unfortunately. I love Calvin's attitude and demeanor; he's really sexy! But there are tons of little mistakes, like toes not pointed and missed footwork. The judges loved his attitude but noted his mistakes. Scores: 26/30.

9. Terra Jolé and Sasha: Rumba

Terra was born to average-sized parents, who then adopted a baby boy who was little like Terra who had been abandoned by his parents, so they could have one another, and they are still very close. They both endured a lot of harassment growing up, but Terra always wanted to go into show business. Their rumba has a message of gaining confidence even when others reject you. I love the message, but the dancing is not very rumba-like. I suspect that Terra's stature keeps her from doing the required hip action, but she does a decent job camouflaging her limitations with her arm movements. The other part of the rumba is chemistry and I'm not sensing that between Terra and Sasha either. The judges obviously saw something I didn't, because they have nothing but praise for her and Carrie Ann is sobbing. Scores: 30/30.

8. Jana Kramer and Gleb: Quickstep

Is there anything Jana hasn't done? She's an actress and singer and she also used to be a competitive figure skater. She had a rough time after her parents' divorce and the previously-mentioned abusive relationships but she's happy and healthy now and her mom is proud. Their routine is peppy and Jana does a great job in hold especially. I don't love the choreography -- I've seen better quicksteps. But Jana has come a long way. The judges all agree that she's made a ton of progress and it was full of content. Scores: 28/30.

7. James Hinchcliffe and Sharna: Argentine Tango

Sharna is back! James is happy. After a quick bio of James (most of which we already know -- car accident, comeback, etc.), we learn that Sharna is going to be blindfolded for this routine. At first, I thought this would be more impressive if James were blindfolded, but after thinking about it, it's harder when Sharna is. It means that James really has to take the lead and show Sharna where they are in space and really take care of her. He does an amazing job of that, but also the actual dancing. His footwork is great, and he performs the drama and passion really well. The judges are so happy to see Sharna back, and have mostly compliments for the routine. Scores: 29/30.

6. Laurie Hernandez and Val: Foxtrot

Laurie has always been very close to her grandmother, who now suffers from Alzheimer's. And, oh no. Right after the clip package was filmed, her grandmother died. And they are killing me with a video of the grandmother telling Laurie how proud she is. Boy, I hope Laurie didn't watch that right before she did this routine. Although if anyone knows how to put emotions aside and deliver a performance, it's an Olympic gymnast. My issue with Laurie's dancing has always been the lack of emotion and this routine improves in that area, but I still haven't seen her really let go. As usual, it's technically perfect. She cries at the end of the routine. Even Tom is crying! The judges can barely get through their remarks due to all the emotion. Scores: 30/30.

5. Terra and Sasha and Artem: Tango

Terra is glad they're bringing Artem in because she admits that she has no sexual chemistry with Sasha. Then they do a spoof of Three's Company that I kind of loved? I do think this is the sexiest routine that Terra has done so far and she is feeling it, but I wish they had put Terra in a brighter color. The men are in black and she's in like a dull gold and her dress doesn't really pop. I keep losing her and watching Artem instead. The judges thought Terra was on fire. Scores: 30/30.

4. Calvin and Lindsay and Witney: Salsa

Lindsay and Witney are hilarious together. Poor Calvin, having to deal with these two whirlwinds. Their routine is jam-packed with content including a LOT of lifts. I wish they had let Calvin just dance a little more because he is such a great mover. Regardless, they are having so much fun out there, all three of them. It's nice to have a lighter moment. Sure, some of the moves are a little sloppy and rushed, but I couldn't take my eyes off them. The judges are delighted. Scores: 30/30.

3. Jana and Gleb and Alan: Paso Doble

Jana enjoys messing around with her good cop (Alan) and her bad cop (Gleb). Somehow Alan is eleven years younger than Gleb, who I would have guessed is like 28? Anyway, I loved the fierceness Jana brought to this routine, and I liked the concept and the content of the routine. There were tiny things about Jana's technique that I didn't love but it's nitpicking really. The judges loved the fire that Jana brought to the routine, because it's something they haven't seen from her before. Scores: 30/30.

2. Laurie and Val and Maks: Samba

I really love how much Val and Maks love one another. Maks can be prickly, but those two are somehow very sweet together. Laurie is just psyched to have the opportunity to learn from the person who taught Val to dance. I love the concept of their routine: Maks is a dance instructor and Laurie and Val have come to him to learn to salsa. It must be really difficult for Laurie and Val to dance "wrong" so that Maks can correct them at first. My only issue with the concept is that Maks spends most of the time walking around the outside of the floor watching while Laurie and Val just…do the salsa. A really good salsa, but it's not really a trio dance in the same way the other routines were. The judges have no problem with it. Scores: 30/30.

1. James and Sharna and Jenna: Jive

Wow. James really blew the doors off the place with this routine. They have an extended section in formation, James out front, and it is in PERFECT sync. This is where James faltered last week, so it must be really gratifying for him. And James's moves are on point, with perfect technique. Bruno tells James that he's a natural at partner-swapping. Oh, Bruno. Scores: 30/30.

Elimination

Next week is the finals already! I always forget that this show ends before Thanksgiving in the fall. Anyway, the two couples in jeopardy are Calvin and Lindsay and Terra and Sasha. I will be really sad if Terra makes it into the finals instead of Calvin, even though Calvin had an off night tonight. But Terra and Sasha are eliminated, so Calvin gets to dance in the finals. Next week!

Almost all readers liked this episode
What did you think?

Discussion

Explore the Dancing With The Stars forum or add a comment below.