Have we really made it to the semi-finals already?

The once wide-open field of season 12 Dancing with the Stars contestants has narrowed down to four pairs, each of which has a legitimate shot at Mirror Ball glory. Will Hines and Kym maintain their weekly dominance now that we’ve come down to the wire? Will Ralph rally after last week’s knee injury? Do Kirstie and Maks share enough charisma to take down the competition? Or is Chelsea the gifted dark horse in all of this?

The dances during the season 12 semi-finals may give us a bit of a hint.

Tonight, each dancer will be responsible for three separate dances: two fully-choreographed performances and a cha-cha presented with the group. And the results from these dances will send one celebrity home, so close to the trophy.

As we go into the semi-finals, the standings are as follows:

  • Hines and Kym: 252 points
  • Chelsea and Mark: 245 points
  • Kirstie and Maks: 232 points
  • Ralph and Karina: 231 points

It’s awfully close. And the semi-final scores, combined with voting, are likely to stay just as close. But how did we get to these scores? Check out last week’s dances in our Week 8 Recap.

Will the past make any difference as we head into the final future? Let’s find out!

I’m not entirely sure what a Winner-Takes-All Cha-Cha might be, but it sounds interesting. Does the winner get immunity or something? Ah, probably just some points. Oh, thanks Karina! The winner gets 15 extra points. That’s nice.

Anyway, first up…

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the Argentine tango

Judges’ Comments:
Len: “It lacked a bit of emotion…”

Thanks to a faulty Internet connection, we missed the rest of the comments. Sorry!

My Comments: So is Ralph better now? Hope so! Is it called pole dancing when they dance with a lamppost instead of each other? Ralph looks better, twisting his legs all over the place. He’s definitely fully back in character, in any case. Possibly, he’s not standing up straight enough… I actually wouldn’t believe you if you said this pissed-off guy was Ralph Macchio. Overall, I really liked the dance. 

Scores: 8+9+8 = 25

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the Viennese waltz

Judges’ Comments:
Len: “I honestly thought you’d be a klingon, hanging on to Maks for dear life.” “That was a beautiful dance, well done.”
Bruno: “Kirstie set sail majestically!” “Well done, my darling.”
Carrie Ann: “The hold was amazing, you guys were tight the whole way through.” “You bring us in to the whole performance.”

My Comments: That was very lovely and spinny. Unfortunately, thanks to a faulty Internet connection, I missed most of that dance too. The part I saw was lovely though. 

Scores: 9+9+9 = 27

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas
Dancing the Argentine tango 

Judges’ Comments:
Lost to Internet error, again…

My Comments: Chelsea looks super tall tonight. As always, this is the quickest-dancing pair on the floor. The tango looks good, and the dancing seems to be great. I’m never sure about what emotion the judges actually want to see, but this might be a little wooden. And my Internet is gone again. Did the dance end well?

Scores: 9+9+10 = 28

Sorry about the glitches. The Internet is not a dancing fan tonight.

And wow … I don’t know if I needed to see Kym’s injury (twice … once in slow motion). At least she seems to be better!

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson
Dancing the Argentine tango 

Judges’ Comments:
Len: “It was like something from the kama sutra! It was all going on!” “Do you understand, that was a tango!”
Bruno: “Every emotion was out there for the taking. The battle of will between the man and the woman. Who’s going to be the dominant partner!” “Ah, it was like group sex — you never want it to end!”
Carrie Ann: “I’m so impressed with the routine and the way you performed the routine.” “The connection was just beyond what we ask for in a dance routine.”

My Comments: Love this song. No lack of emotions here. Hines is definitely looking strong here. The dance seems to have fewer of the fancy moves we saw from the others, but it’s a solid performance of what’s happening. I don’t think Hines did enough, but what he did looked good.

Scores: 10+10+10 = 30

And we have our first perfect score of the season!

 Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff
Dancing the salsa

Judges’ Comments:
Len: “You are committed, but for me, all too wild, there was no real rhythm.” “It was too wild!”
Bruno: “Are you wearing extra-wide diapers?” “A pussycat? What is she?” (Any more was bleeped out…)
Carrie Ann: “Oddly, I liked it. There was something bizarre and uncharacteristic for you…”

My Comments: Wow. Now those are costumes! It’s like The Situation came back. I’m not entirely sure I can buy Ralph as the crazy party guy. But I’m enjoying the attempt. Those are definitely groovy party moves if nothing else. Ralph just isn’t pulling off the bad boy well enough. You can’t say it isn’t fast though.

Scores: 8+7+8 = 23

Wonder what Bruno was saying there…

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Dancing the paso doble 

Judges’ Comments:
Len: “You’ve had probably the two toughest [dances] … and you’ve come out and danced fabulous!”
Bruno: “That wasn’t a paso doble, that was Dance Trek 12, the Wrath of Kirstie!” “You were really going like a force of nature!”
Carrie Ann: “You’re the Queen of the Paso Doble!”

My Comments: I’m not sure that dance was a good choice. Removing it seemed to throw Kirstie a bit. Kirstie looks maybe a little more tentative with her steps in this dance, but it’s not so bad. Mostly, she looks really, really good. The personality of the dance doesn’t match her too well, but she’s pulling it off.

Scores: 9+9+9 = 27

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas
Dancing the rumba 

Judges’ Comments:
Len: “It had mood, it was very expressive…” “Tonight, you have fulfilled your potential. You’re there!”
Bruno: “It was romantic and erotic, but perfectly pitched. It was stunning.”
Carrie Ann: “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” “That was a nice rumba!”

My Comments: Unfortunately missed the dance, due to the server wanting to destroy me again. I’ll have to catch it later. But I hear it was good!

Scores: 10+10+10 = 30

And another perfect score!

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson
Dancing the 

Judges’ Comments:
Len: “You were steaming, and I was beaming. I loved it!” “It was just a joyful experience.”
Bruno: “Just one sentence can describe you: You’re just beautiful man.”
Carrie Ann: “I can’t even explain how much joy I get when you dance.”

My Comments: Oh my, tutu! And Hines is definitely having fun with this one. So many leaps and grins and finger-points. Honestly, I’m only barely watching the dancing with all the fun going on out on this dance floor. Assuming it’s a good dance, however, Hines may have just won the competition. That was awesome.

Scores: 10+10+10 = 30

And it’s a perfect night for Hines and Kym! Fully earned and very impressive.

OK, I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen next, but it’s time for the…

Winner Takes All Cha-Cha

They’re competing against each other, based on where they placed during the earlier dances. Then they’ll learn a cha-cha (or something) in just a few minutes. The winner of the whole thing gets 15 extra points.

I’d be willing to bet that, if either Ralph or Chelsea win, then the other is going home.

First up, Hines Ward and Kym Johnson, squaring off against Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff.

Hines first … and he’s looking as relaxed and ready-to-go as ever. That was a good dance.

Ralph now … The charm is definitely back on. Ralph may be a little more awkward than Hines, but this is a stiff challenge, especially since Ralph’s dance looks a little more intricate.

And the winner is … (unanimously) Hines and Kym!

Next up, Chelsea and Mark vie for a cha-cha finals spot with Kirstie and Maks.

Chelsea and Mark are first and give a surprisingly restrained cha-cha. Good, but not with their usual gung-ho attitude.

Kirstie and Maks are possibly a little quicker. This dance almost looks proper, kind of an odd look for Kirstie.

This one is going to be tough to call. But the winners are … Chelsea and Mark (again, unanimously).

While those who need to dance again hang out backstage for the most confusing coin-toss ever, Kirstie and Maks do unspeakable things to Tom.

OK, final cha-chas of the night now.

Hines and Kym are going first. I’m not sure this dance is so different from the first, but what can you expect in a couple of minutes? Still, it’s got the fun and ease of Hines’ earlier performance.

Chelsea and Mark up next. They’re definitely not taking a conservative route here. It looks very, very good actually. I liked that one better.

And the winners of the cha-cha challenge, 15 points and essentially safe passage into the finals are … Chelsea and Mark!

Wow. This is going to be an interesting trip into the finals.

Want more Dancing with the Stars info? Check out our DWTS Insider page on Facebook.

Did you have a favorite dance of the night? Who do you think will be in the finals, and who is going home? Leave a comment below with your opinions!

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.