‘Dancing with the Stars’ Recap: A Night Filled With Tears Ends in Double Elimination
Bruno Tonioli said it best: “The race to the finale starts with a bang!” The six semifinalists each performed twice for their spot in the finals with the chance to redeem themselves. For a night filled with high-stakes, it was also a night filled with tears as the celebrities took their final chance to dedicate performances to loved ones.
For their first-round dances, each couple repeated a dance style they struggled with earlier in the season as their redemption dance. The judges mentored each of the couples to help them increase their scores. Len Goodman worked with Amanda Kloots, JoJo Siwa, and Melora Hardin while Carrie Ann Inaba mentored Suni Lee, Bruno Tonioli mentored Cody Rigsby, and Derek Hough mentored Iman Shumpert.
For the second round of the night, the couples performed a new style of dance to earn their spot in next week’s finale.
JoJo Siwa, Iman Shumpert Steal the Show
It’s no secret by now, JoJo and her partner Jenna Johnson are the ones to beat this season. The pair ran straight out of the gate this season to the head of the leaderboard. Their continuous use of acrobatics and mirroring one another’s moves has consistently earned them high scores.
Tonight was no different. The pair earned a perfect score for their redemption Argentine Tango performed to “Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)” by Gotan Project.
“It was like you were an extension of one being,” said judge Carrie Ann, while Len simply said it was “bloody brilliant.”
The pair returned with a Contemporary to “Before You Go” by Lewis Capaldi dedicated to JoJo’s grandfather who passed away a few months ago. Not a dry eye was left in the ballroom by the end of the graceful performance.
“You mix artistry with athleticism,” said Len. “You’re 18 years old, I have underpants older than you, yet you dance with such maturity.” Judge Derek Hough deemed it the best Contemporary dance ever performed on Dancing with the Stars and the ladies earned another perfect score, their second of the night.
Not to be outshined is the underdog of the competition and clear fan-favorite Iman, who is officially the first ever NBA player to make it to the Dancing with the Stars finale. He and partner Daniella Karagach have proven week after week that they aren’t going to go quietly.
They earned a 37 out of 40 for their redemption dance, but absolutely slayed their Jazz performance to “Dark Fantasy” by Kanye West and Iman’s wife Teyana Taylor. Iman’s superhuman strength absolutely stole the show once again.
“That had more lifts than Uber I’m telling you and they were spectacular,” said Len. “And our bodies are similar, I have a few more tattoos though.”
Bruno also came with jokes tonight, saying: “This girl spent so much time in orbit she’s ready to join Space X.
The pair earned an overall 75 out of 80 for the night, which was right in the middle of the pack. However, considering where these two started the season, and their considerable size difference, they may give JoJo and Jenna a run for their money during the finale next week.
Did the Judges Save the Wrong Team?
When it came time for eliminations, Melora, Suni, and Amanda landed in the bottom three. Unfortunately, Melora received the least votes from viewers and lowest scores from the judges, so she was the first to be eliminated. Despite earning high scores throughout the competition, she failed to wow tonight.
Between Suni and Sasha and Amanda and Alan, the judges unanimously chose to save Amanda and Alan who will move forward into the finale. The judges seemingly based their decisions on the scores they awarded earlier in the night. They earned a near-perfect score during their redemption dance, and did get the perfect 40 for their final number, dedicated to Amanda’s husband who passed away in 2020 due to Covid-19.
However, after all she’s been through, and after the progress she’s made, there’s absolutely no reason Suni should have been sent home. On a night all about redemptions, this one should have gone to Suni who has had an absolute transformation toward self-confidence on this show.
It goes to show once again the importance of voting for your favorite celebrities. Voting opens at the beginning of each show and closes during the final commercial break of the night.
Next week, the finalists will return to the ballroom for the final time. Each pair will perform twice, and they will finally have the chance to show what they’re made of during the infamous freestyle round.