‘Dancing with the Stars’ semifinals recap: Whose ‘Iconic Dances’ earned them spots in the finals? [UPDATING LIVE]

Dancing with the Stars” season 25 is in the home stretch, and on Monday night, November 13, the final five celebrity contestants took the stage: Paralympian Victoria Arlen, Broadway star Jordan Fisher, actor Frankie Muniz, HGTV host Drew Scott, and violinist Lindsey Stirling. So who made it through the semifinals in one piece? Who advanced to the finals? And who was sent home? Scroll down for our live, minute-by-minute recap.

The semifinals were a special event where the contestants performed two routines. The first was a regular dance in a previously unlearned dance style (this week’s selections included tango, salsa, waltz, and contemporary). The second was a special routine: an “Iconic Dance” in which the celebs and their pro partners tried to recreate a famous routine performed in a previous season of the show. So the celebrities weren’t just being compared to each other. They were being measured against celebs who excelled in the past. So there was twice as much pressure.

Going into the semifinals the overwhelming frontrunner to win the Mirror Ball Trophy remained Jordan Fisher, who had a perfect night last week on “Trio Night” with two routines that both received 30 out of 30 from the judges. Drew Scott ended up with the lowest judges’ score last week, so our users thought he was at risk of elimination. Did our predictions hold true, or did Scott pull off a major upset like David Ross did in season 24? Find out below in our live blog, which features commentary by me along with Gold Derby contributors Cordell Martin and Jeffrey KareAll times listed are Eastern.

Daniel Montgomery, 7:57pm — Everybody ready for semifinals?

Jeffrey Kare, 7:58pm — Yes I am!

Drew Scott and Emma Slater – Tango – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers

DM, 8:02pm — “This is amazing, I can’t believe I’m in the semifinals,” said Scott. And Slater picked a song by The Proclaimers in order for Scott to honor his Scottish ancestry: “Drew is the kind of guy who would walk 500 miles.”

JK, 8:06pm — Very clever dance from Drew this week.

JUDGESLen Goodman said, “Well done, Braveheart! You came out full of determination and attack … It was so full-on you lost your posture and technique.” Bruno Tonioli added, “You gave a tango like no other … You went for the character and you lost a little bit of the style of the dance.” Carrie Ann Inaba concluded, “I do think the tango lacked a bit of artistry … I found the kilt a little revealing, and I give you kudos.”

DM, 8:09pm — I thought he did okay. But it was a little bit clunky, and the Scottish style was an odd fit for the tango.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (8) = 24 out of 30

DM, 8:10pm — The judges were kinder to Drew than they were last week on “Trio Night,” though I think I preferred his dance last week.

Cordell Martin, 8:14pm — Yeah, the judges are trying to screw drew over. We shall see what his fate will be tonight.

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy – Contemporary – “To Build a Home” (feat. Patrick Watson) by Cinematic Orchestra

DM, 8:15pm — “Last week was scary,” said Arlen about the spasm that almost took her out of the competition last week. This week Val wants to tell Victoria’s story through her parents’ eyes, so it sounds like Val is aiming for tears with this routine.

JUDGES — Bruno said, “That was so touching and so poignant, but it had a positive message … very well put together through the choreography.” Carrie Ann added, “I saw the fear, I saw the trepidation, I saw all the shades of all the emotional qualities that made that dance fantastic.” Len concluded, “It was so poignant, so beautiful, well done.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (9) = 27 out of 30

DM, 8:20pm — Huh, the contemporary was so supposed to be for Lindsey this week, wasn’t it?

CM, 8:20pm — I️ thought so, Daniel.

JK, 8:21pm — In any case, beautiful work from Victoria.

DM, 8:22pm — I thought it was a lovely routine. Very simple, but I can’t complain because they executed the movements and the emotions nicely.

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold – Argentine Tango – “Brother” (feat. Gavin DeGraw) by NEEDTOBREATHE

DM, 8:25pm — “Len’s standing ovation has to be the ultimate compliment,” said Jordan, reflecting on last week’s perfect scores. And this week Lindsay chose a song inspired by Jordan’s relationship to his two younger siblings.

DM, 8:27pm — At stage rehearsals on Sunday Lindsay hurt her knee, which made her worry that she wouldn’t be able to perform tonight, but here she is. Good to see she recovered in time, though her knee is visibly bandaged.

CM, 8:29pm — Wow!

JUDGES — Carrie Ann said, “You have kept the standard extremely high. I want you to be careful because that was not your best performance … You’re still fabulous, but I know you’re even better than that.” Len added, “This was all too big, it was too much concerned with the story. This is a dance competition, work on the dance.” Bruno concluded, “I saw your most mature performance … It was played with focus”

CM, 8:32pm — Here goes Len and Carrie Ann

JK, 8:32pm — Lindsay was really able to overcome her knee problem, she and Jordan were just amazing!

DM, 8:33pm — You called this judges’ reaction exactly Cordell. I thought that was a fantastic dance. It wasn’t Jordan’s best, but that’s a ridiculously high standard.

DM, 8:33pm — And apparently Jordan went through it with a scratched cornea. Wow, these two were accident prone this week.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (10) = 28 out of 30

JK, 8:34pm — First time in a while Jordan did not receive a perfect score.

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas – Contemporary – “Head High” by Alexander Jean

DM, 8:38pm — “All the lyrics are about being resilient, pushing forward,” said Mark about why he chose this song (by his wife) for Lindsey to dance to. “It expresses that raw emotion of the pain,” said Lindsey about how the song reflects her feelings.

JK, 8:42pm — Excellent!

JUDGES — Len said, “You blew me away, it was a really fabulous performance.” Bruno added, “It really captured the feeling of what it is to be free to be one’s self.” Carrie Ann concluded, “You have evolved so much … There was so much primal, beautiful, powerful energy. It was stunning.”

CM, 8:43pmPerfect score!

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (9), Bruno (10) = 29 out of 30

DM, 8:44pm — Dammit Len! This is why we can’t have nice things.

JK, 8:45pm — Looks like this is becoming much more of a battle between Jordan Fisher and Lindsey Stirling than we thought.

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson – Salsa – “Shake” by Yin Yang Twins & Pitbull

DM, 8:49pm — The question America has been asking all week: will Frankie take his shirt off? “You can’t have any doubt,” said Witney about Frankie finally shaking off his self-consciousness and being confident once and for all.

DM, 8:52pm — Aaaand the shirt came off. You’re welcome, America!

JUDGES — Bruno said, “I loved the originality. I loved the spirit of it. I think you missed an arm pass.” Carrie Ann added, “I don’t know if the song necessarily matched you, but you give it all … You need to make sure you stay in the beat, not ahead of the beat.” Len concluded, “You come out with so much enthusiasm … It was too much hip-hop and not enough hip action.”

JK, 8:55pm — That was such an inventive routine!

CM, 8:55pm — Great job Frankie.

CM, 8:55pm — Oh Len …

DM, 8:55pm — I thought Frankie did a great job, but Len is right that it needed some more salsa. I’d give him a 9.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (9) = 25 out of 30

DM, 8:57pm — I’m surprised by those 8s

CM, 8:57pm — Wow, me too.

“Dancing with the Stars Live: Light Up the Night” — Special choreographed by Mandy Moore.

DM, 9:01pm — Step aside, celebs, “DWTS” has a live tour to promote!

DM, 9:02pm — Mandy Moore has been doing a lot of great work this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins another Emmy next year.

DM, 9:03pm — “This is about to be the best tour yet,” insists Sharna Burgess.

Drew Scott and Emma Slater – Jazz – “Yeah!” (feat. Lil Jon, Ludacris) by Usher (Season 17, Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff)

DM, 9:04pm — “That’s a little intimidating,” said Drew about tackling the classic Corbin Bleu routine. “There’s a risky move that I want to put in,” Emma added. Could be great, could be a disaster — a really ambitious lift. Very “The Cutting Edge.”

JUDGES — Len said, “It was a bit like a pizza: Crusty at the bottom, tasty up at the top … You’ve got to work on panache.” Bruno added, “I’m just glad Emma survived reentry … I think you captured the spirit of the dance … The timing and sharpness are not your strength.” Carrie Ann concluded, “I think you approached it with grace … Never do that lift again.”

JK, 9:09pm — Drew and Emma, I thought seemed competent this time around, but I felt something was missing.

DM, 9:11pm — I agree. The choreography seemed really energetic and fun, but Drew didn’t seem that into it at first. He wasn’t quite capturing the character of the dance, but he got more enthusiastic by the end.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (8) = 24 out of 30. Total for the night is 48 out of 60.

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy – Charleston – “Bang Bang” by will.i.am (Season 17, Amber Riley and Derek Hough)

DM, 9:15pm — “She crushed it,” said Victoria after watching Amber Riley’s original performance. Val is determined to bring the performer out of Victoria so that she sells the dance. I think the good news for her is that the Charleston is a good match her bubbly personality.

JUDGES — Bruno said, “Your acting tonight was right on the money … It had charm, it had wit, and your timing was spot on.” Carrie Ann added, “I forgot about Amber and Derek while I was watching you … It was all yours, uniquely yours.” Len concluded, “That put a smile on my face … That was a performance!”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (10), Bruno (10) = 29 out of 30. Total for the night is 56 out of 60.

CM, 9:21pm — I️ was really impressed with Victoria.

JK, 9:21pm — Victoria’s work in round two, while not as good as it was in round one, I still overall thought it was pretty skillful.

DM, 9:22pm — That was one of her best performances, great at the steps, great at the character of the dance.

JK, 9:25pm — So I just re-watched the performance, and it wasn’t pretty skillful, it was VERY skillful!

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold – Jive – “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner (Season 22, Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas)

DM, 9:26pm — This is the most recent dance being tackled, so memories of this routine are still strong. “I think the energy level he has is out of this world,” Lindsay said about Jordan’s enthusiasm.

DM, 9:29pm — Best dance of the night so far.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann said, “I’m so glad you got that number. That’s the marathon of all jives on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ One eye, one leg, amazing.” Len added, “Over the years there’s been good jives, there’s been great jives, and now there’s Jordan’s jive, which is the yardstick.” Bruno concluded, “Very rarely a remake can top an original, but this one did … It just is insane.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) = 30 out of 30. Total for the night is 58 out of 60.

DM, 9:32pm — He killed it.

JK, 9:32pm — And earned himself a well-deserved perfect score!

DM, 9:34pm — I wonder how Mark is going to follow that up now that Jordan just showed up his old dance.

JK, 9:34pm — “FEUD: Jordan & Mark”

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas – Tango – “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris (Season 18, Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy)

DM, 9:37pm — “Let”s iconic this up!” said Lindsey after watching Maks and Meryl’s original tango. She even Skyped with Meryl for moral support.

JUDGES — Len said, “There was plenty of snap, crackle, and pop … A bit loose in the hold on occasion.” Bruno added, “I think you raised your game to night, just at the right time … Every change of direction was absolutely on the money.” Carrie Ann concluded, “You have this friend-balance chemistry … I’m torn.”

JK, 9:43pm — Terrific!

DM, 9:44pm — That was a fantastic dance, didn’t quite bring the house down like Jordan’s routine just did, and it doesn’t sound like she’ll get a perfect score, but great work!

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (10) = 28 out of 30. Total for the night is 57 out of 60.

JK, 9:45pm — Great score!

DM, 9:45pm — Maks even came out at the end to congratulate Lindsey and Mark on a job well done.

CM, 9:47pm — Dang, I️ thought she would’ve gotten a perfect score this week.

DM, 9:47pm — Kinda crazy that she’s still only gotten one perfect score this season. Even Frankie has more than that.

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson – Paso Doblé – “Carnival De Paris” by Dario G (Season 4, Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough)

DM, 9:50pm — Witney wants to keep the same choreography. “It’s a challenge I want to take,” said Frankie. Julianne Hough will let us know what she thinks of this when she returns to the show as a guest judge next week.

JUDGES — Bruno said, “You’re so macho! … Great attitude, but one think. You have to get your shoulders sorted.” Carrie Ann added, “The good news is that the audience went wild for you … There were some moments that were fantastic … You have to breathe through your movements.” Len concluded, “There was not enough shaping, but for spirit you can’t beat it.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Bruno (9) = 26 out of 30. 51 out of 60

JK, 9:55pm — That was very good!

DM, 9:55pm — Very well handled.

CM, 9:56pm — Frankie could actually come in second.


First couple in the finals — Lindsey and Mark

Second couple in the finals — Drew and Emma

Third couple in the finals — Jordan and Lindsay

Fourth couple in the finals — Frankie and Witney

Eliminated couple — Victoria and Val

JK, 10:01pm — Not Drew!

CM, 10:02pm — Not surprised.

JK, 10:03pm — Could Drew wind up in second place like David Ross last season?


1. Jordan Fisher — 58

2. Lindsey Stirling — 57

3. Victoria Arlen — 56 (ELIMINATED)

4. Frankie Muniz — 51

5. Drew Scott — 48

Final Predictions Contest Results

Who was eliminated? Victoria Arlen

Who got the judges’ HIGHEST score? Jordan Fisher (58 out of 60)

Who got the judges’ LOWEST score? Drew Scott (48 out of 60)

How many 10s did the judges give out? 5 to 9 — 9 to be exact

Which judge gave the MOST overall points? Bruno Tonioli (93)

Which judge gave the FEWEST overall points? Len Goodman (88)

Did Carrie Ann Inaba comment on an unauthorized lift? No

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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