‘Dancing with the Stars’ Semi-Finals recap: Who advanced to the finale, and who was axed at the home stretch? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

We’re just one week away from crowning the season 27 Mirror Ball champion on “Dancing with the Stars.” The semifinals on Monday night, November 12, decided who would advance to the finale episode, and who would get the axe right at the home stretch. Did the right celebs make it through? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.

This season has been one of the show’s most topsy-turvy with surprise eliminations — Tinashe! DeMarcus Ware! — and of course with Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile, who has had an unprecedented run, surviving week after week despite more last-place scores than anyone else in “DWTS” history. The “Bachelor in Paradise” fan-favorite entered the top six against radio personality Bobby Bones, “Fuller House” actor Juan Pablo Di Pace, “Harry Potter” star Evanna Lynch, Disney Channel actor Milo Manheim and model Alexis Ren.

How many exited? It looked like we were in for another double elimination: a promo during “DWTS: Juniors” on Sunday night teased a “final four” for next week’s finale instead of a final five, which meant two celebs hanging up their dancing shoes for the second week in a row. But this show has surprised us before with sudden twists and reversals. Even the fact that the final is only going to be one night instead of the usual two-night affair was a surprise.

The pressure was on for the semifinals as each contestant had to learn two dances instead of one: a brand new routine in a previously unlearned style, and a Judges’ Choice number where the stars were challenged to take on a new routine in a style they performed earlier in the season. So how did they do? Did they show improvement? Did they fall flat on their faces? Were there any more unannounced surprises in store for them? Find out below starting at 8:00pm (all times listed are Eastern).


Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess

Salsa: “GDFR” by Flo Rida

Daniel Montgomery, 8:02pm — “I’m not here because of my scores, I’m here because of my people,” says Bobby, so he’s dedicating this round to his fans who have supported him. He gets choked up watching footage of his supportersL “That’s twice this season that I’ve cried.”

DM, 8:05pm — Salsa definitely isn’t Bobby’s comfort zone. A-plus for his usual enthusiasm, somewhat less than that for the actual moves.

DM, 8:06pm — “For the first time ever I hit every step!” says an ecstatic Bobby.

Jeffrey Kare, 8:06pm — I thought he did an OK job.

JUDGES — Len Goodman says, “You put the boy in flamboyant. Okay, not the most conventional of salsas.” Bruno Tonioli thought he looked like “someone who gate-crashed a Victoria’s Secret show … I don’t know if it was a salsa really, but as a show it was great.” Carrie Ann Inaba feels he’s “come a long way,” but he was “a little bit off-beat.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Len (7), Bruno (7) — Total: 21 out of 30

DM, 8:13pm — The right scores for that dance, I think, but Bobby is more concerned about the wildfires plaguing California right now, so he encourages people to donate to the Red Cross.

Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten

Waltz: “Water” by Bishop Briggs

DM, 8:14pm — Showmance, part 4: “I couldn’t have gotten this far without Alan’s faith in me,” says Alexis. And they’re doing a romantic waltz, but at least they’re not on horseback this time. Even though Alexis came on this show as a tribute to her mother, she’s dedicating this dance to Alan. “This is going to be the dance that’s going to get me into the finals.”

JUDGES — Bruno thought she had “exquisite elegance and poise,” and her turns are “brilliantly beautiful.” Carrie Ann agrees about the “spot-on” turns, but she was also wowed by Alexis’s maturity; unfortunately, she’s going to take a point off for a life. Len concludes it had “graceful, effortless movement,” but he wanted more waltz content with less “swooshing about.”

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

DM, 8:20pm — Wow, Carrie Ann and Len were were at their peak Carrie Ann and Len-ness: Carrie Ann took off a point for a lift, and Len took off a point for too little waltz content. I for one thought Alexis has really superb technique and posture. If anything, I’d take off a point for the showmance.

Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson

Contemporary: “This Year’s Love” by David Gray

DM, 8:24pm — “Miracles exist, clearly,” says Joe about still being in the competition. He’s got a contemporary dance this week, which he is dedicating to the women in his life. Honestly, contemporary dances are custom-made to inflate your scores, so if he can’t pull this off, there may be no hope for him.

DM, 8:26pm — Jenna had him doing pretty much no dancing in that routine. He was there to pick her up so she could hold poses in pretty shapes.

JK, 8:28pm — Jenna once again upstaged Grocery Store Joe.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann is “impressed. There’s a new fluidity that I’m seeing … There wasn’t a lot of content, but you didn’t distract from the beauty of the whole storytelling. Len adds, “You didn’t do much, Joe, but you didn’t do much very well … I enjoyed it.” Bruno thought Joe provided a somewhat “wooden frame” for Jenna, “efficient, like a door.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (7), Bruno (7) — Total: 22 out of 30

JK, 8:30pm — That 8 from Carrie Ann felt too generous to me.

DM, 8:30pm — That 8 from Carrie Ann was insane to me. Joe was basically a prop during that routine. But still I wonder if that was one of the lowest scoring contemporaries ever.

DM, 8:33pm — Bobby’s dance was all over the place, but at least there was dancing in it. No way Joe deserved a higher score.

JK, 8:34pm — Amen!

Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke

Argentine tango – “Libertango” from Forever Tango

DM, 8:34pm — Juan Pablo is doing a tango dedicated to his mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer but beat the disease. And she’ll be in the audience watching. I’m really looking forward to this because I think Juan Pablo’s style and swagger lends itself perfectly to Argentine tango.

JK, 8:37pm — Excellent! Easily the best performance of the night (so far)!

DM, 8:37pm — That started off slow but really picked up by the end. Great finish, though it felt like he was holding back a little again. Definitely the best performance so far tonight though.

JUDGES — Len gives Juan Pablo a standing ovation: “It was fantastic. It was a mix of care and flair … I will always remember that Argentine tango.” Bruno adds, “I can’t catch my breath. It really was extraordinary … The pure essence of an authentic Argentine tango.” And Carrie Ann concludes, “You have been our most consistent performer, but tonight you outdid yourself … There was so much artistry, passion. You’re in a class of your own.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) — Total: 30 out of 30

JK, 8:40pm — And a well deserved first perfect score of the night!

DM, 8:40PM — “It should be an 11!” says Bruno. I liked it a lot, but wasn’t quite that over the moon about it. I’ll have to give it another look after the show.

Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe

Contemporary: “Stand Up for Something” by Andra Day

DM, 8:44pm — Evanna is dedicating her contemporary dance to Simon Fitzmaurice, a filmmaker she worked with who died a year ago from ALS “And I never got to say goodbye … I want this dance to be as if he were directing this dance.” Show Joe how contemporary is done, Evanna!

DM, 8:47pm — Wow, that was one of the most energetic and aggressive contemporaries I’ve seen on this show, splendid movement with a lot of choreography.

JK, 8:47pm — Incredible performance (especially to a recent Oscar nominated song)!

JUDGES — Bruno says, “Powerful, strong, heartfelt, totally in the moment. The storytelling was flawless. Your dancing was brilliant.” Carrie Ann says her performance was like the “essence of life … fierce and loud.” Len called it a “powerful, polished performance,” and he “loved it.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) — Total: 30 out of 30

JK, 8:49pm — Another perfect score? HOORAY!

DM, 8:50pm — Awww, Erin Andrews mentioned how this is the farthest Keo has ever gotten in the competition, and Keo started crying. So sweet! Keo has been long overdue for some more “DWTS” love than he has gotten in the past.

Milo Manheim and Witney Carson

Argentine tango – “Pray for Me” by The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar

DM, 8:55pm — Milo is dedicating this dance to his Emmy-winning mom, Camryn Manheim (“The Practice,” “Ghost Whisperer”). “She’s the person I feel safe with,” he says: she was a single mom, and he was an only child. Camryn cries when he tells her he’s dedicating the dance to her. “Now get into a good college,” she adds.

DM, 8:58pm — Milo’s Argentine tango had a lot more of the fire I was hoping for from Juan Pablo. I loved it!

JK, 8:58pm — Terrific! Here’s hoping our predictions for the final three (Milo, Evanna, and Juan Pablo) comes true.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann liked the “structure element” with “so many beautiful shapes … You just brought it.” Len thought he “stayed true” to himself with “lots of intensity going on.” Bruno calls it “stylish, sharp, strong,” and he praises the tough sequences of lifts — “Milo always delivers.”

DM, 8:59pm — Those critiques were a little more muted than I expected.

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

DM, 9:00pm — Hmmm, I would have given him a 10 for that.


Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess

Jive: “Gimme Some Lovin’” by The Spencer Davis Group (mentored by Len)

DM, 9:04pm — Len is here to whip Bobby into shape for his second attempt at a jive, which Bobby performed in week one. “It was totally out of control,” says Len about that first performance from Bobby. Len shows Bobby some movies, and Len is still pretty spry. He should dance more often on this show.

DM, 9:07pm — Kudos to Len for getting a genuinely improved performance from Bobby. He’ll never not be rough around the edges, but that had a lot more control than it did in week one.

JK, 9:07pm — OK, I thought Bobby gave a much better routine this time around. It especially had more energy.

JUDGES — Len thought the kicks and flicks were “pretty good,” and “you’re my man” for entertainment value. Bruno adds that he was jumping around like a “golden cricket gone berserk.” Carrie Ann thought it “really was improved,” though the kicks were a little high and the performance was “a little wild.”

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

DM, 9:10pm — Well deserved marks for Bobby Bones, which give him a total of 45 out of 60.

Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten

Jive: “Yes” by Merry Clayton (mentored by Bruno)

DM, 9:13pm — Time for a super sparkly jazzercise jive routine mentored by Bruno. I’m scared, but also kind of excited to see it. Bruno wants the dance to be less “fuzzy” than it was the first time she performed it. And he wants Alexis to be a “kick-ass mean girl.”

JK, 9:17pm — Alexis’s routine this time around was certainly full of enthusiasm.

DM, 9:17pm — A great, sharp, high-energy jive from Alexis. I thought she really held her own among lots of troupe dancers in what looked like an exhausting routine.

JUDGES — Bruno thought it was “cleanly brilliant.” Carrie Ann thought she was “toned … Everything was perfect,” and Alexis has a workout video in her future. Len “loved” the concept, and he thought the dancing was “fabulous.”

DM, 9:18pm — “The shirt was a little chafey,” Alan revealed before showing the Band-Aids he applied to his nipples for protection. I’d say that deserves some extra votes.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) — Total: 30 out of 30

JK, 9:20pm — Now, they both get a perfect score!

DM, 9:21pm — I’m glad they were finally able to get a perfect score. I’m not sure Alexis is going to make it past tonight, and she really deserved perfect marks.

Cordell Martin, 9:22pm — I think she’ll make it. Rumor has it she’s going on tour.

Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson

Quickstep – “Check it Out” by Oh the Larceny (mentored by Carrie Ann)

DM, 9:23pm — Carrie Ann picked a dance where Joe got a 14 — his first dance of the season, which, yeah, was a total train wreck. “You’re not breathing like a normal person … and nothing about it looks natural,” says Carrie Ann about what’s holding him back.

DM, 9:26pm — Doing better than his first quickstep would have been a low bar to clear, but I think Joe quickstep this time was genuinely a lot better than I was expecting.

JK, 9:26pm — Yeah, I’d say that was above average.

JUDGES — Carrie thought, “What a difference! … Your shoulders were open, your frame was good … You have shown up and put it on the dance floor.” Len also thinks his “frame was better … it was a clean, clear routine. You posture was a bit cranky on occasion.” Bruno concludes, “That was a proper dance from the beginning to the end … much more control, much more musicality.”

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

JK, 9:28pm — His highest score to date.

CM, 9:28pm — I find it odd he rarely got a Latin dance.

DM, 9:29pm — He doesn’t deserve to be higher overall than Bobby, but the judges were way too kind to his contemporary.

DM, 9:31pm — Carrie Ann gave him great coaching to prepare him for this dance. If only they had done Judges’ Choice earlier this season.

Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke

Salsa – “Tu Sonrisa” by Elvis Crespo (mentored by Bruno)

DM, 9:33pm — Another Latin dance for Juan Pablo. He’s redoing the salsa, which he performed in week-one. And Bruno has a see-through top for the training. It’s … distracting. Bruno says Juan Pablo needs more connection between his shoulders and his hips, and I remember thinking his first-week salsa was lacking something, so I’m happy to see him doing it again.

DM, 9:35pm — A lot more energetic and entertaining than his first salsa, where I thought he was holding back. Thumbs up!

JK, 9:35pm — WOW! Juan Pablo might’ve managed to outdo himself from round one.

DM, 9:36pm — Agreed, I liked his second-round dance better than his first.

JUDGES — Bruno doesn’t think any salsa could get “any hotter or better than this one … sensational!” Carrie Ann’s critique starts with just screaming “Yes!” She calls it “Fifty Shades of Salsa.” And Len says, “I’m going to call you the midwife because you keep delivering dance after dance … If you’re not in the finals, I’m going to go home and pickle my walnuts!”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Bruno (10) — Total: 30 out of 30

JK, 9:39pm — He should congratulate himself for getting two perfect scores in one night.

DM, 9:40pm — He may yet be a contender to win the whole thing, especially after they underscored Milo in my opinion in round one.

Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe

Foxtrot: “Rewrite the Stars” from “The Greatest Showman” (mentored by Len)

DM, 9:43pm — Len is coaching Evanna, and he really owes her one. I’m still made at him for giving her a 5 in week one. She didn’t deserve that 5, but he’s having her re-do it this week, so he’d better take that score and double it tonight. Len wants her to bring the “fighting spirit” of the Irish to this routine.

CM, 9:45pm — Yo, I think Evanna could win this.

DM, 9:45pm — Exquisite foxtrot from Evanna, get her to the finals!

JUDGES — Len thought her improvement was “amazing,” but he thought he noticed something go wrong for a brief moment — loud boos from the audience — but it was a “terrific dance, well done.” Bruno thought Evanna was like “another girl” from week one, and she finished all her movements. Carrie Ann was “overwhelmed with emotion … You were dancing with so much momentum, so much freedom, so much confidence.”

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

DM, 9:48pm — Those judges just gotta keep her down a little.

JK, 9:48pm — Oh well, the score itself is still great enough.

DM, 9:49pm — Yeah, I had a feeling she wouldn’t get a perfect 30 for that one since the judges’ comments were less rapturous than they were for Juan Pablo. But she’s guaranteed no lower than second place for the night. Even with a perfect score Milo would be stuck in third place.

Milo Manheim and Witney Carson

Cha Cha – “Good Feeling” by Austin French (mentored by Carrie Ann)

DM, 9:51pm — Another week-one re-do. Carrie Ann wants him to refine his cha cha, especially when it comes to his arms, which she thought were “wonky” in his first performance. Sounds like she had a lot less work to do training him for this redemption dance than Joe.

DM, 9:54pm — Dynamite cha cha from Milo!

JK, 9:54pm — AMAZING!

JUDGES — Carrie Ann loved “more confidence” in his upper body with his “undulations,” but it still felt “a bit wild.” Len thought it was “full of youthful exuberance … There’s a joy about your dancing … There was a little too much flexion in your legs … I hope I’m doing to be watching you next week.” Bruno thought it was a “fresh, individual interpretation of the cha cha,” with some jazz inflections, “and you hit the beat so sharply it was fantastic.”

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

DM, 9:56pm — I thought they were a little hard on Milo all night, much more nitpicky than they were for anyone else.


First couple in jeopardy … Joe and Jenna

Second couple in jeopardy … Alexis and Alan

Third couple in jeopardy … Juan Pablo and Cheryl

The safe couple is … Alexis and Alan

Eliminated couples … Joe and Jenna, Juan Pablo and Cheryl

DM, 9:59pm — “There’s no justice here!” protests Len. Agreed!

JK, 10:00pm — But wow, I really thought Juan Pablo was good for the finale.

DM, 10:00pm — I thought so too. Shocked by Juan Pablo going home. I thought they put him in jeopardy to get people to vote for him for the finals. They’ve been trying to make him happen all season, and it finally was happening. He was terrific tonight.

CM, 10:01pm — I knew there was a chance Juan Pablo wouldn’t make the finals. Milo and Evanna has the most consistent fan bases. Alexis is going on tour. And Bobby had the fan base and ABC backing.

Judges’ Leaderboard:

1. Juan Pablo Di Pace — 30 + 30 = 60 (ELIMINATED!)
2. Evanna Lynch — 30 + 28 = 58
2. Alexis Ren — 28 + 30 = 58
4. Milo Manheim — 27 + 28 = 55
5. Joe Amabile — 22 +24 = 46
6. Bobby Bones — 21+ 24 = 45

Final Predictions Results:

Who will be eliminated? Joe Amabile and Juan Pablo Di Pace

Who will get the judges’ HIGHEST score? Juan Pablo Di Pace (60 out of 60)

Who will get the judges’ LOWEST score? Bobby Bones (45 out of 60)

How many 10s will the judges give out? 10 or More — 15 to be exact

Which judge will give the MOST points? Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli (108)

Which judge will give the FEWEST points? Len Goodman (106)

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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