'Dancing with the Stars' Semifinals Recap: Maks Is Back to Judge the Top 5
'Dancing with the Stars' Semifinals Recap: Maks Is Back to Judge the Top 5
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
It feels like only yesterday Valerie Harper was inspiring us and Bill Nye was entertaining us on Dancing with the Stars, but we're already at the semifinals. Five couples remain and only four will move on to next week's two-night finale.

It's been a rough few weeks with talented dancers like Elizabeth Berkley and Brant Daugherty going home while Bill Engvall is still around. Tonight the couples will perform twice, both times to the same songs. If that's not enough pressure, there's also a fourth judge, former pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. How will the Bad Boy of the Ballroom compare to Julianne Hough and Cher? Let's find out. And for tonight's drinking game, take a shot every time Maks is referred to as a "Bad Boy."

I'm predicting that Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke will be eliminated, but if you pick a name out of a hat, you'd have as good a chance as I do of predicting it correctly.


Maks is wedged between Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli and is sporting a bowtie, which automatically decreases his bad boy cred.

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani: Paso Doble

Their song for the night is Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." They have a fun flirty/fighting relationship. As a huge Paso fan, I love the pageantry and Leah is great at playing a bad-ass witch. She's not totally fluid in her movements and it looks like she's focusing too hard on the steps and movements. The judges are finally starting to crack down on dancers not bringing the level of technical skill they need in the semifinals. She missed some turns and Leah blames the dress. Judge Maks is a lot nicer than you'd expect, giving them lots of praise and forgiving the trip.

Judges' Scores: 8+8+8+8=32

Really? Maks was nice, the others didn't like it, yet they all gave out the same score? The judges have to be willing to give out 7s at this point.

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: Tango

Their song for the night is "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)" by Fall Out Boy. The fact that Karina and Maks used to be engaged, but it didn't work out, adds even more drama to this dance. I'm in love with this routine. It's fast and intense with lots of fire, anger and tricks. Bruno and Len thought it was too crazy and violent and Corbin lost some of his frame, but Carrie Ann Inaba and Maks loved it.

Judges' Scores: 9+8+9+9=35

I was hoping Maks was gonna pull out the 10, but he's probably being a tad cautious.

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke: Jazz

Their song is "Roxanne" by The Police. My mind instantly goes to that Community episode about chaos theory that introduced multiple timelines. Jack had a slight M.S. episode this week with some blurred vision, but he worked through it. This isn't all that great. The choreography has Jack basically walking and running around, then lifting Cheryl a lot. He tried, but he wasn't up to the challenge of Jazz. Len is spot-on about Jack's lack of finesse and content. The judges all praise Cheryl and Bruno uses this as an opportunity to fondle Maks.

Judges' Scores: 8+8+9+8=33

WTF? These judges are high, because that did NOT deserve such a high score. Do 7s even exist anymore?

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater: Cha-Cha-Cha

Their song is LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It." Dear God, no. It's already impossible to take him seriously, but this just reinforces how Bill is more of a novelty than a worthy semifinalist. Part of me feels badly for Bill, because it's not really his fault that he's outlasting more deserving dancers. This routine is easily his worst one yet. He just ambles around the stage, looking lost and like he gave up halfway through. This is worse than anything Valerie Harper ever did. The judges are still polite because Bill is such a nice guy and they like watching him, even if he's horrible.

Judges' Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

Ugh, this show is a joke. That deserved a 6 at the most. This crappy scoring is certainly one reason for all of the unfair eliminations.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough: Jazz

Their song is "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars. Amber went to the doctor and learned her knees are gonna be fine, so she has the eye of the tiger. It shows in the dance as Amber is fiery, feisty and looks like someone who wants to win. She is amazing and Derek's choreography puts a lot of the dance at a table to save her knee without losing technique. Len's only comment is "Do it again." They all love it.

Judges' Scores: 10+10+9+10=39

Ouch, Maks gave it a 9 and got booed. Maks sucks.

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani: Argentine Tango

In the second round, they will be dancing to acoustic, unplugged versions of their songs from the first round. To try and manipulate the audience, we get videos about the stars' pasts. Leah struggled and dropped out of school. She even sold insurance after her first TV series was canceled. Sadly I missed most of their dance due to technical issues, but the final moments looked good and intense. Len thought it was fine and didn't have any blunders, but he doesn't think she embraced the emotion of the dance. Bruno liked the intimacy, which gives him another excuse to grope Maks. Leah recognizes that this wasn't her best night.

Judges' Scores: 8+8+8+9=33

What's the point of listening to the judges' comments if they're going to score differently? The judges seemed far more critical this time than her first dance, yet she got the same scores from three of them and a better score from Bruno.

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: Rumba

Corbin was a performer from day one and he got into Stanford to be a pediatrician at the same time he was cast in High School Musical. So, of course, he chose to be famous instead of saving the lives of children. I kid, but I'm not kidding about how much I love this routine as well. It's sultry the way a Rumba should be. It seems to have some Contemporary flares, but Corbin moves so gracefully and passionately. Carrie Ann thinks Corbin's body is a wonderland, but she doesn't mean it in the pervy way Bruno does. She loved seeing every bit of musculature as he moved. Maks calls his ex-fiancee one of the five best ballroom dancers of all-time.

Judges' Scores: 10+10+10+10=40

A 40! Awesome! I may have to do some research, but has there ever been a 40 on the show?

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke: Argentine Tango

Jack struggled to deal with fame as a teenager and not fitting in, so he turned to drugs and alcohol, occasionally taking a bit too much on purpose. But he got sober at 17 and never looked back. Then came the M.S. diagnosis, and at this point you can't help but fall in love with him. This dance is why Jack didn't deserve a 33 for his first one, because this is so much better. He's always excelled at ballroom, and this is severe and fantastic. I'm not wild about the lighting, which is so dim that it's hard to see his face, but he's great.

Judges' Scores: 10+9+9+10=38

Maks has gone from Bad Boy to Cranky Old Man.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater: Argentine Tango

He met his wife at a frat party when he was on roller skates, and she thought he was kind of an idiot. This is why he's still here, because it's definitely not for his dancing. This is definitely better than his first time because the dance doesn't require him to be silly or do much. In fact, I'm not sure if he danced at all, he just stood (and sat) there. Seriously, it wasn't bad because he didn't do anything. I'm sick and tired of the judges pumping up his ego about how great it is that he's still here. The judges are far kinder than they should be.

Judges' Scores: 8+8+8+8=32

Ha! The judges lavished so much praise on him that a 32 is pretty weak. So they all agree this was only one point better than his first dance? What are these judges thinking?

Amber Riley and Derek Hough: Viennese Waltz

In her video, it's a lot of Glee stars talking about how awesome Amber is. It's a pretty solid Waltz, although the smoke on the floor makes it impossible to see what her lower half is doing. Still, it has a light, magical grace and she moves better than she usually does. With the final dance of the night, Maks concedes that he has agreed with the judges quite a bit tonight, which makes him somewhat depressed. Maks also makes what I assume is a slightly passive-aggressive comment about how Derek knows how to win.

Judges' Scores: 10+10+10+10=40

Another 40? That seems a bit overscored.

The Results

The first couple in the finale is...Corbin and Karina! (Whew, nothing else matters to me now.)
The second couple in the finale is...Amber and Derek!
The third couple in the finale is...Jack and Cheryl!

Wow, the two lowest scores of the night (and the two lowest scores across the whole season) are in jeopardy. How refreshing.

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani are ELIMINATED!

Oh well. Seeing as how nothing can kill Bill, I'm not too upset. Leah was great, but I think fifth place is more than impressive for where she started. However, it's still insane that Bill, who has never received a single 9, is in the finale. But when you look below at the leaderboard, it's easy to understand that Bill got at least 1.5 percent more viewer votes than Leah. And let's be honest: Does Leah deserve to be in the finale any more than Bill?

Next week it's the finale of Dancing with the Stars. The four couples will dance on Monday night, and I assume one will be eliminated based on tonight's votes and next week's scores, and then we'll vote again for the final 3, with that result coming Tuesday on the special finale. There will be freestyles, a Mirror Ball Trophy and, most importantly, Enrique Iglesias will perform. He can be my hero any day of the week.

The Leaderboard

I'm including percentages to show how their scores are factored into the results.Tonight a 19-point spread between the top and bottom is equal to a little over 5 percent.

79: Amber Riley (22.57 percent)
75: Corbin Bleu (21.43 percent)
71: Jack Osbourne (20.29 percent)
65: Leah Remini (18.57 percent)
60: Bill Engvall (17.14 percent)


(Image courtesy of ABC)

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