'Dancing with the Stars' Semi-Finals Recap: One Last Chance to Dance into the Finals
'Dancing with the Stars' Semi-Finals Recap: One Last Chance to Dance into the Finals
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
After 8 weeks of ballroom insanity, we have finally made it to the Dancing with the Stars season 14 semi-finals! The competition is close, so those finale berths will all be decided by the performances. Keep reading to see who is likely to continue on and who will go home.

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When I say close, how close do I mean? Check it out:

1. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas -- 272 total points
2. William Levy and Cheryl Burke -- 265 total points
3. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough -- 262 total points
4. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd -- 260 total points

Only 12 points separate the leaders from last place. We're talking the kind of point spread that could be made up in one night of good dancing.

Is this the best Dancing with the Stars final four ever?

So let's find out who will pull ahead in the Dancing with the Stars season 14 semi-finals!

For a quick recap, check out the DWTS Performance Rankings here: 



It's an oddly somber-looking bunch coming down the stairs. Wonder if there's a reason for it? Probably not -- they all perked up for the wave-at-the-camera-and-act-silly thing.

OMG! Dizzy Gillespie is in the band!

Hey, I was right! This is the closest semi-final competition in Dancing with the Stars history! (Unless, of course, Brooke is wrong. That can definitely happen.)

First up...

William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the tango

My Comments: "Sweet Dreams!" The beginning seems slow, but I think that's for dramatic effect. This tango is dark. I'm honestly a wee bit scared right now. This is the kind of dance that wouldn't look out of place in a horror movie. You know, if horror movies had ballroom-dancing interludes for some reason.

I kind of both loved and hated that. But I hated it in a good way, so it works.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I've not been this excited since my mother put me in long trousers... This is going to be the best semi-finals ever!" "I though overall it was terrific."
Bruno: "William, the master of the house." "No doubt who was on top of that!" "For me, it was ace!"
Carrie Ann: "There was one over-rotation on the drop..." "Everything else... You saw it -- it was amazing!"

Scores = 9+9+10 = 28


Up next, sob stories of the stars. And...

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Dancing the quickstep

My Comments: Oh no! Katherine is in jail! Fortunately, Mark gets her out soon. The dancing looks great -- very fast, cheerful and (as far as I can tell) precise. Somehow, I'm not feeling this dance as much as some. I'm not sure why though. Because it looks good. Oh well.

Judges' Comments
Len: "Honestly, Katherine you can dance." "There was, early-on, a little foot-fault thing." "Overall, what a fabulous number!"
Bruno: "Bang! Outstanding! Picture-perfect rendition!" "Amazing technique!"
Carrie Ann: "In order to make it to the finals, you have to bring your A game and I don't think you brought it... You brought your A+ game!"

Scores = 10+9+10 = 29

So do we think Len will ever give Katherine a 10? It's not looking like it at this point.


Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Dancing the waltz

My Comments: Hey look! Another cage! Or maybe just a window. Bars anyway. Donald said in his rehearsal package that this would be emotional. He was right. This is incredibly emotional. It's also beautiful. Donald has that rare and amazing ability to be a man and still not look silly during a waltz. The result is quite lovely.

Judges' Comments
Len: "It took me back to a different era... It was absolutely charming." "You're like a big, rough, tough cream puff."
Bruno: "You had a caring, gentle, soft quality to it. You were extremely light on your feet." "I thought you did a fantastic job!"
Carrie Ann: "It's so dreamy!" "I definitely felt like this was so emotional... There was just a few times when your feet didn't quite finish the step."

Scores = 9+9+10 = 28

Bruno is a fan of those 10s tonight...


Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Dancing the Argentine tango

My Comments: Ummm... Isn't it the celebrity who's supposed to have a tantrum and storm out of the studio? Trust Derek Hough to turn the tables on that one.

Hey, there's a curtain! I can't see! Oh, there they are. Cool start though. While not as angry as some tangos, this is still passionate and very, very well-danced. There's a sort of light-hearted feeling going on here. It kind of reminds me of that tango at the end of True Lies. And I love True Lies.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I'm totally caught up in the whole thing." "It was a silent fabulous."
Bruno: "Impeccably tailored... Every step had a meaning and purpose, like a series of caresses."
Carrie Ann: "I'm so proud of you!"

Scores = 10+10+10 = 30

Hey, Len does have a 10 paddle under that table! Who knew?


William Levy and Cheryl Burke
Dancing the samba

My Comments: It's gotten all tropical (aka, yellow with a tree) on the stage. William definitely has the moves down for a dance like this -- lots of hip action. There are probably a dozen or so ladies swooning in that ballroom. He does seem to be rushing a little to catch up in a couple of places but otherwise is dancing well. Not my favorite dance of the night but perfectly good.

Judges' Comments
Len: "I've never looked at a man's bum so long in my life." "I saw lots of basic steps mixed up in all that."
Bruno: "Do not adjust your sets, you've entered the sexy zone!" "I'm going to die from bum envy!"
Carrie Ann: "You, like, had me at hello!" "You lived up to every expectation. Your bounce was more like a thrust."

Scores = 10+10+10 = 30

And we have another perfect score. More proof that I have no clue what constitutes a proper ballroom dance. Oh well.


Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas
Dancing the salsa

My Comments: Awwww... Katherine was super-cute as a four-year-old! Also, I love Welsh accents. "The valleys..." (Sorry, I lived in Wales for four months. I'm having flashbacks now.)

Uh-oh. Another oddly themed dance. Although this one does look like a pretty straight dance other than the music and costumes. Hopefully Len won't freak out too much. I'm not sure that Katherine is wiggling enough for a samba, but she looks good otherwise.

There's some sort of accident right at the very, very end. A stumble and some crying get glossed over in order to get to the judges' comments.

Judges' Comments
Len: "As you danced, I just wrote, 'Katherine the Great, the world's Wonder Woman.'"
Bruno: "You unleashed the harlot. Handle with care, because it bites!"
Carrie Ann: "That was just fantastic." "I love seeing you push your boundaries." "I was so bummed at the ending."

Scores = 9+9+9 = 27


Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd
Dancing the samba

My Comments: If Donald wants votes, he probably should have told all his friends and family to mention the drugs so much. Those adorable children, on the other hand, are vote gold!

For a second there, I actually thought Peta would dance in that business suit. Silly me! This is an impressive example of playing to the audience instead of to the judges. Donald definitely has the swagger going in this one. He also manages to keep the attention on himself instead of on Peta -- a rare feat for a male dancer.

Judges' Comments
Len: "Here and there a little bit careful, but the bottom-line, I liked it."
Bruno: "You've just done it your way, and it worked beautifully. Beautifully!"
Carrie Ann: [Silent smile.] "I just thought that that was A+ game."

Scores = 10+9+10 = 29


Maria Menounos and Derek Hough
Dancing the jive

My Comments: Maria's father looks super-Greek in those old photos. Cool.

OK, so Maria is starting this dance dead? That's an odd choice. But at least it lets them dance on and around a table. Not actually sure what the hospital-table death thing had to do with the rest of the dance, but whatever. The dance as a whole is very fun and gives off a hyper vibe -- kind of unusual, even for a fast dance. I'm not sure what I just saw, but I liked it.

Judges' Comments
Len: "It wasn't a traditional jive... but it didn't matter." "I liked it!"
Bruno: "It shouldn't work, but it was brilliant!"
Carrie Ann: "You are a winner tonight! You are a winner -- perfectly executed."

Scores = 10+9+10 = 29


Wow. Great night of dances! Which brings me to a MAJOR DISCLAIMER:

All of the dances -- every single one of them -- were good in the Dancing with the Stars season 14 semi-finals. Thus, the performance rankings associated with this night only indicate my relative favorites. Please do not assume that a low ranking means I hated the dance. Because I didn't. Don't yell at me!!!

Overall Scores for the Night

1. Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 59 points
2. William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 58 points
3. Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 57 points
4. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 56 points


What did you think of the Dancing with the Stars season 14 semi-finals? What was your favorite dance? Who do you expect to be eliminated? Leave your comments below!

(Images courtesy of ABC)