‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Semi-Finals

We are in the home stretch with season 21 of Dancing with the Stars. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been complaining about Derek and Bindi never performing first for 10 whole weeks! Who would have thought my wishes would be granted on semi-final night? And who cares that it doesn’t technically count as “going first” when you’re performing three times in one night. Po-TAY-tow, pa-TAH-tow.

We begin with a spotlight dance, showcasing the bling, fringe and extreme hair game of all the remaining pros in the competition. Lindsay, Witney and Sharna are the female contenders dancing against Derek and Val. Unfortunately Val is just a prop since Tamar had to bow out of the race due to serious blood clots in her lungs. That’s serious stuff. The ballroom wishes her well as the remaining four contestants prepare to perform a dance style they’ve never performed before, a trio and a dance-off. Let’s get to it!

Bindi and Derek
“Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” — Techno version
For some reason, ABC decides to tug at my heartstrings by making me sit through an intro package about how proud Bindi’s mom and brother are of how she’s blossomed right before their eyes. There were a ton of Australia zoo people who made me cry, footage of Steve Irwin that made me cry and darling little Robert and his bowl hair cut who, say it with me, made me cry. The camera pans over a sea of DWTS audience members who surround a circular stage. Bindi is rocking a hot pink number. Derek also rocks a hot pink blazer with a glittery collar. This look does not require a shirt. Bindi accidentally grazed his crotchal region a few times, but that’s what happens in the salsa. The last moments of the routine are peppered with confetti falling from the ceiling. Bindi says, “It’s raining happiness!” Sometimes I wonder if this joy is for real or if I’m just that cynical. Kudos, Bindi, for making me pause. Julianne has to stand up so she can see Team Crikey. Did she stand up for the entire routine? Was she able to see the footwork over the mass of people? The judges wanted more “down and dirty.” Bindi’s brother thought she crushed it.
Score: 27

Alek and Lindsay
“America the Beautiful”
Alek’s “make me cry” package was all about his buddies and how they saved the people on the train in France. In light of everything that has gone on in Paris, it was a poignant moment. His dad cried along with me in the package. Kobe Bryant gave him props. Once I saw the flag on the dance floor, I knew it was over for me. I’m a sucker for anything patriotic. I’m also a sucker for a waltz. This dance was my sweet spot, and Alek actually executed it pretty well! He is so much better and standardized ballroom verses the Latin stuff. The judges agreed with me.
Score: 30

Carlos and Witney
“Drag Me Down” by One Direction
Carlos’ cry package didn’t make me cry — it made me laugh. His brother said that he was tardy to school 145 times because Carlos was fixing his hair. That made me love him even more. Carlos says that he’s “all in” the competition now and will win it for Alexa. Witney decides the way that’s going to happen is if she wears the outfit from Britney Spears’ “Toxic” video. (I use the word “outfit” loosely.) She also makes Carlos hang onto a rope while she swings it around for five minutes. Witney works the outfit, the hair and the angst face. Bindi’s happiness accidentally falls from the ceiling, but it doesn’t deter Carlos from his aerialist swinging. Carrie Ann of course hated it because she never likes anything Team Brown Sugar does. Julianne hated it too, but delivered her bad news in a charming way. Bruno loved it.
Score: 28

Nick and Sharna
“Scars” by (I’m not sure!)
Nick moved me to tears when he discussed the sudden death of his sister who died from a drug overdose. It was a wake-up call for him. Fellow Backstreet Boy A.J. reminded us that he’s always in his head. His biggest obstacle now is his mind. Unfortunately, his mind got in the way of his tango. His footwork was all over the map at the very beginning. Sharna stopped at one point in the routine and mouthed, “I’ve got you.” They finished the rest of the dance without a hitch. Sadly, the damage had been done. The judges tried to build him up, reminding him that he has two more dances to prove himself today. Nick looked defeated.
Score: 24

Two couples face off against each other for an extra three points to be added to their scores. Alek and Carlos battle out with the cha-cha. The winner is Carlos and Witney. Then Bindi and Nick battle it out with the samba and Bindi and Derek easily win. On to the trio dance!

Bindi, Derek and Mark
Weird Eclectic Music
Derek and Mark have this weird language that makes sense to no one but themselves. They are able to knock out choreography so fast, that they spend the majority of their time thinking of a cool idea that will push the envelope. This includes a metal frame of a cube and Carlos’ rope with a light bulb hanging on the end. Bindi balances on the box, in the box, hangs from the box, is drug around grasping the box. Then she twirls the light bulb rope around her neck. It was very modern — and not really my taste. But I loved that she did the entire thing in a black spandex onesie. She deserves a perfect score for that alone! Julianne and Carrie Ann loved it. Bruno though the fight between darkness and light was brilliant. Mark gave Derek a look that said, “Go with it” and they both thanked him for totally getting their super technical theme.
Score: 30

Alek, Lindsay and Emma
Argentine Tango
Sexy Latin Music
Lindsay thinks Alek will dance sexier if Emma is there to spur him on. She’s sort of right, but most of the time he just giggles like a pre-pubescent boy. I’m impressed by Lindsay’s long legs and Emma’s boobs (how they don’t pop out) and Alek’s cheerleader stunt abilities. He dances with both of them equally, but once again, his face is blank. But he does execute the moves!
Score: 27

Witney, Carlos and Karina
Some Charleston-y Song
I think it’s odd that Witney chooses a professional partner who, like her, has never danced the Charleston before. While Witney concentrates on having “one great trick,” Carlos gets nervous that she isn’t working on the moves. She snaps at him and he encourages her to remain positive! Everyone is working just as hard as she is! She snaps back that he needs to respect her process. Then she tells the camera that everything can’t be positive all the time. Although I understand (sort of) where she’s coming from, I have a feeling this outburst may come back to bite her in the butt. America wants the pros to LOVE their amateurs. That’s why everyone got so mad that Lindsay rolled her eyes at Alek however many weeks ago. MOVING ON! The dance starts off in sepia tone before morphing into color. The girls looked so uncomfortable. Carlos was in the zone. The trick was great. The jump at the end was great. The rest was Melba toast.
Score: 29

Sharna, Nick and Peta
I’m Too Lazy To Look Up the Song

Peta is back people. And she wants her favorite Backstreet Boy to KILL this routine. Nick rocks his hat choreography and then twirls the girls around him like the pimp he is supposed to be playing. It was a little bit hip-hoppy for a salsa in my opinion, but he looked like he was having a ball. So did the girls. I’m not even going to comment on the four-count crotch grabbing move at the end. The judges L-O-V-E-D it.
Score: 30

Erin scoots out to meet Tom on the dance floor so she can help him announce who is safe. The first names called out? Alex/Lindsay and Carlos/Witney. A hush falls over the crowd. Who will go home? Bindi or Nick?

PSYCHE! No one is going home because Tamar is out of the competition! You’re going to the finals. You’re going to the finals. You’re going to the finals and you’re going to the finals!

Who do you think is going to win? Does the mirrorball trophy have Bindi’s name written all over it? Or is someone else a dark horse? Sound off in the comment section and I’ll see you next week for THE FINALS!


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Laughed so hard at “Bindi’s happiness accidentally falls from the ceiling, but it doesn’t deter Carlos from his aerialist swinging.”

Amazing recap, per usual. Bindi for the win! Nick in a close second, followed by Carlos, then Alec. 🙂


Thank you Shannon! I love to hear favorites!


“Carrie Ann of course hated it because she never likes anything Team Brown Sugar does.”

She really does have something against them. I’m glad Tom called her out on giving them a 9 on their trio dance after giving them a 100% positive review.


What is the deal with her? She never likes anything Carlos and Witney do!

CO Kathleen
CO Kathleen

I’ve just really enjoyed the dancing this season. So many talented folks I feel deliver wonderful dances over and over and over. I’d be happy with any of the final contenders winning but kind of agree with Shannon that the order might go with Bindi winning, then Nick, Carlos, and Alec.

Whitney has gone down in points in my book every week it seems with her attitude.

How cute was Alec’s mom saying something that made him respond with “I did not say that, Mom!”


I’ve loved this season too, CO Kathleen! I really don’t care who wins. They all deserve it!


“..and then twirls the girls around him like the pimp he is supposed to be playing”

Thank you for your hilarious recaps each week!!

I see it going Bindi, Nick, Alek and then Carlos. I think people see through Carlos’ pathetic attempts at a sob story and Witneys choreo has been so boring this season.


Thanks for the fav Sara!


This season the mirror ball has had Bindi’s name written on it from the first week. The judges love her and America loves her. I don’t see any dark horse coming from behind to win it.
Tamar was a better dancer than Bindi, sadly her personality and attitude would have kept her from winning. It’s a shame she is so ill she can’t go to the finals. Feel bad for Val.


I feel bad for Val too. He had a really good shot to win with Tamar.


I am so hoping that Nick will win! Lincee, you’re so not alone in wondering if this over-the-top positivity from Bindi can really be all real. She is way likable, it just kind of makes me think of the people in the morning who are WAY too chipper and it kind of makes you even more tired. Then you feel bad for not being as happy as them, and the cycle continues.

I am voting for Nick! He is working so hard and he has great musicality and dedication. Perseverance pays off in my opinion!

I still love Whitney-girl keeps it real.

I’m shocked that Alek is still here.


Forgot to mention one thing:

Val’s incredible dance with the other pro. That choreography and intensity was just on. He was feeling it, I was feeling it, it was So. Effing. Good.


I’m rooting for Nick and Bindi!


I’m not happy that Tamar is seriously ill but I’m glad she’s out of the competition. (But sad for Val) She could dance but had a terrible attitude. Very unlikeable. A couple weeks ago she made a comment that she was the best dancer. I love Alek’s story but he is the weakest of the four finalists. I like Carlos and he is a great dancer but I think Witney has become a little cocky since she won the mirror ball. And Carrie Ann is just rude to him, in my opinion. I love Bindi; she gives 100% every dance and Derek has great, tough choreography. I would love to see Nick come in second. He has had some great performances and a few not so great. It’s been a good season but I think it’s a problem that so many dancers have been getting seriously ill or injured! The pros are (mostly) dancing with non-dancers and they push them beyond their limits! I love the show and I LOVE Lincee’s recaps! Thank you!


Thanks for reading Susie!


I wasn’t sure in the beginning whether Witney’s sour attitude this season was just a product of selective editing (it happens) or the real thing, but I think the evidence is now conclusive. As far as knocking her partner on camera — not cool.

It doesn’t help her case (in my eyes, at least) that she seems utterly nonplussed when confronted with historical references or other pretty basic things she should have learned in school. Attitude and ignorance: not a great combo, especially when you’re in the public eye.


I agree heartpursuer. I think she’ll figure it out sooner rather than later. She’s so very young…


I’ve always wondered-if Witney is nonplussed about so many things, would we say she is plussed if she actually started to show some interest?


Plussed? I don’t know, Susan. That could be characterized by some as a micro-aggressive observation on body type. 🙂