‘Dancing With the Stars’ Semifinals Recap: Victoria Arlen Gets Her First Perfect 10s

The semifinals are here on Dancing With the Stars! On the Monday, November 13, episode of the ABC hit, the five remaining couples were vying for their spots in the finale. Each couple performed two dances. For the first dance, the pros chose songs to honor their partners. For the second dance, the couples performed “iconic routines” from seasons past … err, no pressure. Some couples soared, while others stumbled, and in the end, one couple was sent home.

Val Chmerkovskiy and Victoria Arlen on ‘Dancing With The Stars’
Val Chmerkovskiy and Victoria Arlen on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Courtesy Instagram

The Good
Val Chmerkovskiy decided to honor Victoria Arlen‘s parents with their contemporary routine. Pro Jenna Johnson joined them for the routine, playing Victoria’s mom. (Val played her dad.) The judges loved the emotional connection Victoria and Val had to the routine and rewarded them with 9s across the board, which was generous considering there wasn’t much actual dancing involved.

Their icon routine – inspired by a Charleston performed by Amber Riley and Derek Hough – earned Victoria two perfect 10s (her first of the season) and clocked her 29 more points.

Topping the leaderboard for the first round were Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas. Mark wanted to pay homage to all of the obstacles Lindsey has overcome both in her life and in the competition for the mirrorball. They performed a dark, passionate contemporary number that the judges loved. Carrie Ann Inaba declared that Lindsey had transformed from pastels at the outset to a “deep blood Earth mama.” They received a 29.

Later, they recreated Meryl Davis and Maksim Chermkovskiy‘s tango. Their technique was spot-on, but the judges lamented that they just couldn’t recreate the sexual tension that Maks and Meryl had exuded and gave them a 28.

The Best
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold also had a strong showing. Jordan and Lindsay decided to pay homage to his role as a big brother with their Argentine tango, but during rehearsals, her knee gave out. Though she decided to dance anyway, she was worried it could happen again. Lindsay’s knee held up, but neither Len Goodman nor Carrie Ann were enthused about Jordan’s performance. They still couldn’t give him anything lower than a 9, though.

For their second routine, Jordan and Lindsay recreated a perfect jive that had been originally performed by Paige VanZant and Ballas. Len called Jordan’s jive the new “yardstick” against which all future jives would be measured. Bruno Tonioli said the “remake topped the original.” Then the judges gave Jordan and Lindsay their fifth perfect score of the season.

The Bad
Frankie Muniz was still working on his confidence level but he did finally show off his bare chest (covered in contouring makeup, apparently). Though the judges said they could tell he still wasn’t very comfortable in the routine they praised his attitude, adding that he needed to work on staying “in” the beat instead of ahead of it. They ended up with 25, which seemed about right.

Things didn’t get much better with their paso doble, which was inspired by a routine from Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough. Len said Frankie had a “charm” and “innocence” about him, but his dance with Witney Carson didn’t have enough “shaping.” They got a 26.

The Worst
Drew Scott has a lot of heart … but not a lot of dance ability. Emma Slater chose The Proclaimers to celebrate her partner’s Scottish roots and perseverance. Drew wore a kilt, which managed to make the routine even more awkward, and while the judges appreciated the effort he put in, they agreed the actual dance was basically a disaster. Because the judges were being kind, they gave him 8s across the board.

Their luck didn’t improve with their second dance, which was to recreate Corbin Bleu‘s trio dance, but for two people – no small feat. Len praised the imagination of the routine, but told Drew (for the millionth time) that he needed to work on his finesse. Bruno said Drew “captured the spirit” of the dance, but wasn’t impressed with his lack of timing or sharpness. Carrie Ann loved that Drew went for it, but forbid him and Emma from ever doing their lift again (because Carrie Ann was terrified Emma was going to get hurt).

The Gone
It was then revealed that the two couples in jeopardy were Frankie and Witney and Victoria and Val. (Yes, Drew Scott made it to the finals!) At the end, Victoria and Val missed the finals by one week. Victoria broke into tears as Tom Bergeron told her she was “amazing.” Val told her “the future’s bright for you.”

Tell Us: Were you surprised Victoria was sent home?

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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