Time flies when you’re having fun — and when you’re watching pseudo-celebrities foxtrot for a shiny trophy.
Case in point: Though it seems like Dancing With the Stars just kicked off its 27th season, we’re actually just days away from learning which couple will hoist that coveted Mirrorball trophy.
Monday’s broadcast eliminated two of the remaining six couples, with only four moving on to next week’s finale. And with a roster ranging from Grocery Store Joe (who only just started scoring eights) to Juan Pablo Di Pace (who has earned multiple perfect 30s this season), it’s safe to say this was one of Dancing‘s most uneven semifinals episodes in recent memory.
Let’s revisit the highlights of Monday’s episode:
BEST OF THE NIGHT
Juan Pablo Di Pace and pro Cheryl Burke (Argentine Tango) — For a full 90 seconds, I completely forgot that I was watching an amateur dancer perform with a pro partner. This Argentine tango was so passionate, so precise and so intense that it truly seemed as though two professional dancers were simply doing their thing on the ballroom floor. Juan Pablo and Cheryl have received their fair share of perfect scores this season, but this routine was legitimately flawless. Judges’ Score: 30/30
Alexis Ren and pro Alan Bersten (Jive) — I needed to chug a bottle of water after watching this performance, and I was only viewing it from my couch. Alexis and Alan made the most of their second attempt at the jive, packing the performance with tons of content and a pace so fast, I thought Alexis was about to spin right off the dance floor and into the crowd. Toward the end of the routine, it seemed Alexis’ energy was flagging, and she fell just a half-step behind Alan and the troupe dancers — but the rest of the jive was so well-executed (and well-sequined!) that it remained one of the strongest performances of the night. Judges’ Score: 30/30
POSTER CHILD FOR DANCING WITH THE STARS
Evanna Lynch and pro Keo Motsepe (Foxtrot) — Every new season of DWTS brings a few categories of amateurs to the ballroom: the ones with experience, like Juan Pablo; the ones with no idea what they’re doing, like Grocery Store Joe; and the ones who have tons of potential and just need time to grow. Evanna falls into that last category, and it’s actually my favorite one. As fun as it is to watch the ringers score perfect 30s every week, it’s even more enjoyable to watch a diamond in the rough, like Evanna, work her way to the top of the leaderboard while gaining confidence and technical skill. She’s become one of my favorite contestants to watch each week, and I’m thrilled that Keo finally gets to experience the rush of the semifinals. Judges’ Score: 28/30
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
Grocery Store Joe and pro Jenna Johnson (Quickstep) — Even though most Dancing contestants have a rough first week in the ballroom, I distinctly remember watching parts of Joe’s season-premiere quickstep through my fingers. The lack of coordination and timing was so egregious back then that I was nervous to watch Joe tackle the style again on Monday — only to be blown away by how much he has improved since Week One. If we’re talking seriously about who has showcased enough dance skill to win the Mirrorball next week, Joe is not that guy. But he has also had twice as many hurdles to overcome in Season 27 — including judges who seem to get their kicks from giving him backhanded compliments — and I was genuinely amazed by the swagger and technical proficiency he displayed in this quickstep do-over. Judges’ Score: 24/30
And now, the results:
ADVANCING TO FINALS
Milo Manheim and pro Witney Carson
Evanna Lynch and pro Keo Motsepe
Bobby Bones and pro Sharna Burgess
Alexis Ren and pro Alan Bersten
Grocery Store Joe and pro Jenna Johnson
Juan Pablo Di Pace and pro Cheryl Burke (?!?!)
OK, your turn. Do you agree with Joe and Juan Pablo’s eliminations? (I have a feeling I know the answer!) Drop a comment below with your thoughts on Monday’s semifinals broadcast.