One week to go! Week nine of Dancing With the Stars' 18th season—the semifinals—featured some unexpected and stunning performances from the remaining five couples. The biggest surprise, though, was the fact that all three Olympians were in jeopardy, which meant that only two of them could move on to the finals next week. Because of that, there was a sense of ominousness throughout the show, culminating in a truly surprising elimination of one of the judges' favorite couples. Let's recap!
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas, safe
In honor of American Icon week, Candace introduced the DWTS audience to Angela Thomas, a bible teacher and best-selling author. The two bonded over their shared love of God and spoke about the importance of faith to both Candace's life and her time on DWTS.
Dance No. 1: Viennese waltz to "If I Knew" by Bruno Mars
Candace and Mark's first dance fell a bit short of expectations, but all four judges noted that the star seemed more willing to let herself go a little bit. "Tonight is all about pressure…[and] the pressure got you a bit," Len Goodman said. "A few mistakes, but I understand." Added Carrie Ann Inaba: "We have all been there, we have all messed up. But you continued on, you trusted Mark, you surrendered to Mark." Score: 34 out of 40 (9 from Len and guest judge Kenny Ortega, 8 from Carrie Ann and Bruno Tonioli)
Dance No. 2: Jazz to "Nasty" by Janet Jackson
Candace blew the judges away with her unexpectedly sexy second dance, which Len called "wonderful and totally unexpected." Kenny even said it reminded him "of the great ladies of Broadway," and Carrie Ann noted how "pristine" and "together" the choreography was. Score: 38 out of 40 (10 from Len and Kenny, 9 from Carrie Ann and Bruno)
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess, in jeopardy
Charlie was feeling pretty good after his perfect score last week — and he felt even better when he got to meet his icon, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, who gave Charlie some advice on keeping his head in the game through the final stages of the competition.
Dance No. 1: Foxtrot to "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra
Whatever Scott told Charlie worked—his first dance with Sharna was praised as "indescribably delightful" by guest judge Kenny. "It was like you were the toast of New York," he raved. Added Bruno: "You started as Fred Astaire, and you finished as Baryshnikov." Carrie Ann noted, too, that she was looking for something "fantastic" after his stellar week eight—and he "smacked [her] in the face with it!" (In a good way.) Score: 40 out of 40 (10 from everyone)
Dance No. 2: Samba to "Mo Money Mo Problems" by Notorious B.I.G.
Charlie and Sharna's second number of the night was slightly less well-received than their first, with all four of the judges noting that it could have used "a little spice." That said, they all agreed that it was a shame to see Charlie in jeopardy this week. "You deserve to be in the final," Len said. Score: 36 out of 40 (9 from everyone)
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough, in jeopardy
Amy and Derek got a very special call mid-rehearsal from TV icon Oprah Winfrey, who gushed that she had been watching them on the show and thought they were "unbelievable." Amy was understandably thrilled. "I've got to tell you, you are a huge inspiration to me," she told Oprah, who assured her the feeling was mutual.
Dance No. 1: Quickstep to "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes
Amy and Derek's first dance this week required Amy to replace her usual prosthetics with a pair meant for running—to great effect. "My jaw was dropping on the desk," Bruno gushed. Added Len: "There was plenty of bounce to the ounce! Watching you inspires me to go and do something." Score: 39 out of 40 (9 from Len, 10 from everyone else)
Dance No. 2: Jazz to "Too Darn Hot" by Ella Fitzgerald
In Bruno's words, Amy and Derek's dance to "Too Darn Hot" was "too darn good." Both Len and Kenny gave props to Derek for the routine, with Kenny saying that he "defines choreography for this generation." Score: 39 out of 40 (9 from Carrie Ann, 10 from everyone else)
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd, safe
James' "all-time favorite icon" is Michael Jackson, so he met with someone who knew and worked closely with the King of Pop: legendary music producer L.A. Reid, who told James that Michael Jackson was the hardest worker he'd ever known. "I'm gonna give my all and hope that that's enough," James said of what wisdom he'd taken away from their conversation.
Dance No. 1: Cha cha to "Escape" by Michael Jackson
James and Peta did the King of Pop proud with their first dance, which Len praised as a "fantastic blend" and a "terrific number." Carrie Ann, meanwhile, said, "James, we've seen Michael Jackson a thousand times. It's hard to pull of Michael Jackson well. What you did was spectacular." Score: 40 out of 40 (10 from everyone)
Dance No. 2: Rumba to "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
The judges took some issue with James' hands during his second number of the night, but both Carrie Ann and Len praised his "good hip action." Carrie Ann said, too, that he might be "the smartest contestant" they have, because he learns from every note they give him. Score: 36 out of 40 (9 from everyone)
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, in jeopardy
Meryl had a brief heart-to-heart with her icon, an Olympic figure skater and the season six champion of Dancing With the Stars. But the more important interactions this week were between her and Maks, who hit a wall, creatively speaking, with his choreography. "I'm afraid I'm going to let her down every day," he confessed. "It's a lot of responsibility. I do have the best dancer on the show."
Dance No. 1: Jive to "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley
Maks needn't have worried about letting down his partner. The judges absolutely loved his first routine, and Maks felt great afterward, even going so far as to give each of the four panelists a hug. "No peril, Meryl—that was fantastic," Len quipped. Score: 40 out of 40 (10 from everyone)
Dance No. 2: Viennese waltz to "Just a Fool" by Christina Aguilera
Meryl and Maks got the only double perfect score of the evening, earning an 80 out of 80 from the judges. Bruno raved that their second number "had a grand, cinematic sweep," while Kenny said it had "power, grace, synchronization"—basically anything anyone could ask for in a dance. "You better not go home," Carrie Ann exclaimed passionately. Score: 40 out of 40 (10 from everyone)
In the end, Charlie and Sharna were eliminated from the competition, shocking both the judges and the live studio audience. Ever the good sport, Charlie said he was just happy for the experience and then threw his weight behind his Olympic ice dancing partner. "I think all of these people are so deserving. From start to finish, it's been an amazing journey," he told hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. "And now, I can 100 percent be a cheerleader—Team Meryl!"
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