Since earning Season 14's first perfect score during classical night two weeks ago, Maria Menounos has continued to bring her A-game to the dancefloor--though her and partner Derek Hough's journey hasn't always been easy.
In rehearsals this week, both Menounos and Hough felt the pressure going into Monday's semi-finals, leaning on one another for the confidence to keep going. When her partner felt stuck trying to come up with another original routine, Menounos took him aside for a pep talk. "You're the best at this," she told Hough. "You just have to shift your mind. That's what champions do."
Their positivity and hard work paid off--big time. Following their sexy Argentinian tango, Menounos and Hough received another perfect score, earning 10s from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman.
After their performance, Menounos choked back tears. With his arm around his emotional partner, Hough told host Brooke Burke Charvet that the Extra anchor continues to astound him. "She's been an absolute warrior from day one," he beamed.
The pair scored an impressive 29/30 for their second dance of the night--a high-energy jive Tonioli applauded for its "quirky touches"--which landed them in first place with a combined score of 59/60.
Latin heartthrob William Levy and Cheryl Burke took second place Monday, earning 58/60; NFL star Donald Driver and Peta Murgotroyd came in third, scoring 57/60.
Katherine Jenkins stumbled during the last few seconds of her final performance of the night, and struggled to fight back tears as she admitted she bent her back the wrong way. Though the judges still praised her and Mark Ballas' efforts (Goodman called her "Katherine the Great" for the strength she displayed), the pair earned 9s across the board for their last dance of the evening, putting them in last place with combined score of 56/60.
Tell Us: Whose semi-final performance do you think was the strongest?