We have reached the Semi Finals of this comeback season, and it sure feels good to be in the post-Spicer era! These last five contestants are really well matched, and whoever goes tonight will be a bit of a bummer.  Each pair will be dancing a redemption dance of a style they’ve done once before, along with a second new style.  Let’s see how everyone did on this emotional roller coaster of a night, shall we?

Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchecko

Redemption Dance (27) They’re reprising the paso doble from week 2.  Len visits them, and wants more traditional paso steps, which he gets in spades.  At times, I thought Lauren looks a bit unsure of things, but maybe all the extra male pros and the crazy lighting were throwing me off.  Len liked the mix of aggression and expression, saying it was much improved. Bruno says the shapes were better and liked her intention.  Carrie Ann says she must have been nervous, because she locked her knees a few times. I think Lauren is still working to really lose herself in a dance.  

Vienesse Waltz (27)This one is dedicated to her parents, and it may finally have allowed her to do what I said she wasn’t doing above. It was lovely. Len calls it smooth and elegant.  Bruno loved the chemistry. Carrie Ann says they danced as one. Lauren thanks her for reminding her to breathe through the moments. 

Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson

Redemption Dance (27) Their tango from week 1 is much improved, obviously.  This is a very intricately choreographed number, but Kel’s suit is super distracting to me.  Bruno compliments everything from his heel leads to his overall command. Carrie Anne remarks how far he’s come.  Len gets nitpicky, which means you know he liked it.  

Contemporary (30) This routine is dedicated to gun violence victims, including a friend of Kel’s who died when they were teens. It’s emotional and Kel is crying at the end, but he does some impressive lifts and moves during the dance.  Bruno calls it pure art and compliments the lifts, along with Kel’s sincerity. Carrie Ann says dances like that are riveting and pure, while Len just opts to start a standing ovation that everyone joins. 

Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber

Redemption Dance (29) Their Viennese Waltz, last done in week 2, is a lovely, romantic waltz.  Len says it had a gentleness, better rotation and technique. Bruno says it was touching, pretty and a joy to watch.  Carrie Ann points out her emotion when she performs and says it’s not something you can teach.  

Charleston (30) What a fun number.  Their footwork is so good, it looks like they’re tapping a lot of it.  Carrie Ann calls it a showstopper. Len says it was fun and joyful. Bruno says it was exuberant and loves Sasha’s choreography.  I’m not sure a perfect score was in order, but these judges really want us to love Ally! 

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten

Redemption Dance (27) It’s  a rumba from week 3. Well, they certainly have chemistry, but she still looks a bit tentative to me.  Carrie Anne says she’s very open in the hips. Len says that in rumba, the hips are the rhythm and the arms are the melody, and she nailed that.  Bruno wants to extol all the virtues, but gets cut off by Tom for time.  

Contemporary (27) This is an intense dance about her Bachelorette breakup. It has a lot of cool steps, a ton of athleticism, as well as anger and tension befitting the story.  Carrie Ann points out the trust needed to do the drops they executed. Len calls himself “a cup of tea in a world of lattes” in terms of his feelings about the contemporary style, but he says this was a true couples effort.  

James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater 

Redemption Dance (24) They do a cha cha which is set to “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai (one of the best songs ever) and disco themed. It’s super fun, but still gimmicky.  Len is unhappy with the amount of gimmicks and “messin’ about”. Bruno calls it an extravaganza, but points out James being off timing. Carrie Ann is worried about James’ posture, which seems like a weird thing to point out in the semi finals.  Tom hints at why it was a tough week for James, and I immediately know what it is. Dammit.  

Foxtrot (27) Ahead of this routine, James tearfully explains that his wife lost their baby.  He is heartbroken (as one would expect), and it results in the most dramatic foxtrot ever. But it is also technically quite good. But it feels voyeuristic to watch James dissolve into sobs at the end, clutching at Emma for support.  Bruno says it was almost impossible to watch, pointing out his great turns, and a job well done. Carrie Ann says she feels silly saying this, but James improved his posture. She says they were poetry in motion. James goes to comfort his daughter in the front and the poor thing won’t let him go or allow him to put her down as they try to chat with Erin.  It’s a lot of raw emotion and all I can do is get choked up and offer my condolences to what seems to be just a lovely family. 

Time for results.  Kel and Witney, Hannah and Alan, Lauren and Gleb are all sent to the finals. This leaves a bottom two of Ally and Sasha vs. James and Emma. This is extra awkward, since beyond the whole James situation, the pros are married! Carrie Ann and Bruno both save Ally, and Len says he would have done the same. Ally is broken up and wants to give it to James, which Tom tells her she can’t do, and basically everyone is crying. You can see James is a surrogate dad to everyone in the cast, and man, whoever thought the guy who played Dawson Leery would end up here? (OK, probably everyone.) And while I personally would have kept him over Ally, based on a combination of dancing and the fact that the audience has never landed him in the bottom two before now, the poor guy can probably use some time with his wife and kids this week anyway. 

Phew, what a week!  EJ will be here with the finale next week!

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