It’s the Semifinals of Dancing with the Stars season 20. Only four couples remain, and tonight they will all perform two dances in order to earn a spot in next week’s finale, and the opportunity to perform a Freestyle routine.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: The Final 4 in the Semifinals

Nastia Liukin, Rumer Willis, Riker Lynch, and Noah Galloway will also get help from the judges, as each judge will coach one of the four couples and choose one of their routines. We’ll be getting three Viennese Waltzes, two Contemporary routines plus a Paso Doble, an Argentine Tango, and a Quickstep. And based on the rumors, it seems Nastia will do one dance with Sasha Farber and one with Derek Hough as if this injury hasn’t been confusing enough to deal with over the past few weeks.

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For some reason, the opening dance number has a bowling theme. Tom Bergeron tells us that each of the four remaining couples have finished in first place when the scores and votes were combined for at least one week this season. Wow, Noah was first? That’s a sign of how strong his viewer support is since he’s never really been near the top of the leaderboard. The first round will feature regular dances while the second round will be the judges’ choices.

Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: Viennese Waltz

We learn more about her backstory and we see interviews with her sisters and incredibly famous parents. Ooh, bringing out Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, she’s serious about trying to get votes. Once again we hear about how mean tabloids were about her appearance during her parents’ divorce. Demi was worried about her daughter doing the show, but she’s loved “watching her passion become greater than her fear.”

It’s inspired by 50 Shades of Grey and they go for the emotion and passion. Rumer’s acting chops are quite strong and I’m fairly certain Val grabs her boob a few times. Like some of Val’s classical routines, he’s more interested in the Contemporary emotion than the traditional technical aspects of the dance. That’s a big change from last week, but the judges love the steaminess, even though Len Goodman critiques the slight lack of Viennese Waltz content. They even have Demi in the post-dance interview with Erin Andrews.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+9+10=38

I have a feeling we’re gonna see a lot of 10s for everyone except Noah tonight.

Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: Viennese Waltz

Noah’s backstory is an all-American tale about a fearless Alabama kid who occasionally went to jail. But then on 9/11 he was inspired to join the military and found his purpose until his injury. At times he wanted to give up and die, but he fought to get better. His mom was just happy her son was alive. OK, everyone else loses, because this is incredibly powerful and could very well get him into the finale. For some reason, William Shatner and Darius Rucker talk about Noah as well.

His story is amazing, but if we’re judging his dancing objectively, it’s just not good. It’s awkward and blocky as usual, but Julianne Hough thought it had a lot of content and was very smooth. Ugh, that video package made him critic-proof because the judges rave about the beauty even though it was just the same kind of thing he’s been doing for the past few weeks. I now have a terrible feeling that Noah is getting into the finale and someone who deserves it more is gonna get screwed.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36

Holy crap, after the scores Noah gets down on one knee and proposes to his girlfriend. Well, he just guaranteed himself a spot in the finale and it has absolutely nothing to do with dancing.

Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: Contemporary

Riker is the oldest of five kids and he was always the leader, organizing his siblings to perform together. When they went to L.A. to make it, their dad stayed behind in Colorado. So that’s his hardest moment in life? Rumer was bullied and got called ugly by magazines and Noah lost a leg and an arm, so it’s hard to care that much about his backstory. And apparently, Alias star Michael Vartan is a family friend.

It’s crazy, intense, emotional, and sensual, everything I really love in a Contemporary routine. It’s all about his fantastic ability to move and kudos to Allison on her great choreography. The judges really, really love it. Len calls it a great performance and Julianne says she couldn’t tell which one was the pro, which she doesn’t mean as an insult to Allison.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10+10=40

His first perfect score! The judges clearly want him in the finale. And he deserves it. But if viewers are voting on the emotion of their stories, he’s way behind.

Nastia Liukin and Sasha Farber: Quickstep

She was born in Moscow and wanted to be an Olympic champion like her dad. Her entire backstory is about training and being a gymnast. But then when she failed to make the 2012 games, she knew it was over. I find an underlying sadness in the life of an Olympic gymnast because they seem to have no other life.

The dance is fine and full of content that she did superbly, but there’s nothing supremely dazzling about it. And I still feel like Nastia never really found great chemistry with Sasha. Nastia was great, but the partnership wasn’t even though Julianne claims their connection was great. I also feel bad that the screen says “Nastia and Derek” for the whole performance. Poor Sasha gets no love.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10+10=40

Was that seriously worthy of a perfect score? And I find it very suspicious that “injured” Derek Hough will be dancing the next routine, but he just couldn’t do the Quickstep. That doesn’t seem fair at all.

Before heading into the second half with the judges’ choices, Melissa Rycroft dances with the troupe as a preview of the Perfect 10 tour this summer. In other words, I’m taking a snack break.

Now, for the first time, each judge has complete creative control over one routine, from the music and concept to the costumes and lighting. And, surprisingly, the judges will NOT be scoring the dance they came up with, so we only get three paddles instead of four for this round.

Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: Bruno’s Contemporary

Bruno Tonioli wants them to do Swan Lake. It’s more of a fusion with Tango and Waltz as well. Bruno even wants Val in white tights for this ballet-heavy routine. The dance is something completely different. This is pure ballet and unlike any other Contemporary routine, we’ve seen on the show. But it’s beautiful, dramatic, and amazing with stunning lifts. Seriously, they just did freaking Swan Lake! The three judges scoring it thought it was mad but genius.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Back to perfection. I told you we’d see a lot of 10s for everyone other than Noah.

Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: Carrie Ann’s Paso Doble

Carrie Ann Inaba wants to see Noah’s inner warrior that helped him find the will to live after his injury. It’s a metaphor for the battle for his life, represented by four shirtless dudes dressed as bulls. It’s definitely a powerful and dramatic routine, but like always, it doesn’t require a whole lot of actual dancing from Noah, just walking around and striking strong poses. This is great for him, but that’s not the same as being great.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Are you freaking kidding me? There’s no way that was equal to what Rumer and Val just did. When Rumer, Riker, or Nastia go home tomorrow, the judges have no one but themselves to blame.

Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: Julianne’s Argentine Tango

Julianne Hough wants her cousin to control his energy. And, conveniently, Riker and Allison “want” Julianne to be in it. Whatever, nothing in this round matters at all because they’re all gonna get 10s. The routine is nuts and starts off with a crazy Contemporary threeway that’s very cool. But then, once Julianne leaves the stage, we actually get to see a real Argentine Tango and it’s much better. Riker somehow maintained in control with two fast, powerful women around him. The actual Tango was like someone turned A Clockwork Orange into an EDM Broadway musical.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Seeing as how Julianne was in it, of course, the other judges had to give them a perfect score.

Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough: Len’s Viennese Waltz

So we started with two VWs and now we end with another one. Derek is back and Sasha is discarded like last week’s Chinese food that’s starting to stink up the fridge. I’m not saying Sasha was bad, just that this show has treated him worse than a red-headed stepchild. Len Goodman is old and can’t dance anymore, but he reminisces about when he could. So Derek is playing a younger Len. Derek wants to make Len happy because he’s known him since he was 12. And Len wants to dance with Nastia at the end. Damn, this is so emotionally manipulative and it’s not even about Nastia.

It’s beautiful, of course, and Len gets a huge applause when he shows up at the end. Like with Derek’s routines, it’s all about the choreography and the story, and Nastia is just a stand-in. She danced it nicely, but if she was replaced by Bethany Mota, it wouldn’t make any difference. The judges all cry and it’s all about how much the Houghs admire Len and want to honor him.

Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30

Honestly, this entire final routine was all about honoring Len Goodman. It’s a tribute to him and the 10 years he’s spent as a judge on the show. Nastia doesn’t matter. Derek doesn’t matter. The other judges and scores don’t matter. This is all for Len.

With only 4 points separating first and last, it’s all about who has the biggest fan base. Tomorrow, either Noah goes home or someone who deserved to be in the finale gets eliminated because the judges abandoned their responsibilities this week and just gave everyone 9s and 10s. In the public vote, if Noah beats Rumer by 0.8 percent or if he beats Riker or Nastia by 1.5 percent, he’s in the finale.


70 (25.5 percent): Riker Lynch, Nastia Liukin
68 (24.8 percent): Rumer Willis
66 (24.1 percent): Noah Galloway

(Image courtesy of ABC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.