‘Dancing with the Stars’ Semi-Finals recap: Who advanced to the finale, and who went home in the double elimination? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Season 30 of “Dancing with the Stars” is coming down to the wire. Tonight’s “Semi-Finals” started with six celebrity contestants and ended with the final four. So who impressed the judges and viewers at home at this pivotal moment? Scroll down for our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments and commentary throughout the night.

The six semi-finalists were pop singer JoJo Siwa, Peloton fitness instructor Cody Rigsby, basketball player Iman Shumpert, actress Melora Hardin, Olympic gymnast Suni Lee, and “The Talk” co-host Amanda Kloots. All of them had to perform two dances with which to earn spots in the finale.

First up was a redemption round where the celebs tackled dance styles they struggled with earlier in the season with help from the judges. Len Goodman coached consistently high scorers Kloots (tango), Siwa (Argentine tango), and Hardin (rumba). Carrie Ann Inaba advised Lee (foxtrot). Bruno Tonioli mentored Rigsby (salsa). And Derek Hough lent a helping hand to Shumpert (tango).

The second round consisted of brand new routines in previously unlearned dance styles, and this had the potential to be the decisive round of the night because four celebs got to perform contemporary routines: Kloots, Siwa, Lee, and Hardin. Contemporary dances focus on emotional expression and musical interpretation, so they tend to receive higher scores than routines with more rigid choreographic requirements.

Meanwhile, Shumpert’s round-two dance was jazz, which might also have been advantageous because that two is a less rigid style with more opportunities for lifts and side-by-side elements that are better suited to Shumpert given the height difference between him and his pro partner Daniella Karagach. Rigsby’s second dance was an Argentine tango, a technical style but a potential showstopper in its own right.

So the stage was set for a competitive night of performances. Follow along below starting at 8:00pm (times listed are Eastern).


Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke (Salsa)

Daniel Montgomery, 8:02pm — They’ve got Cody going first tonight, and he’s the only one who doesn’t have a looser contemporary or jazz routine, so I feel like the deck is stacked against him a little bit. The good news is the salsa is the dance Cody and Cheryl weren’t able to perform in person due to COVID, so this will give them a chance to give the audience the show he didn’t get a chance to before.

DM, 8:06pm — A little awkward and stiff in places, but not a bad effort.

Jeffrey Kare, 8:07pm — That performance had a ton of energy.

JUDGES — Bruno thought they got the energy and excitement and much better with the hips, and his “armography” was better, but there were a couple of mistakes. Carrie Ann could feel him getting into the movements, but the energy drained a little from the feet. Len thought it was an “action-packed, full-on salsa,” despite a blunder and being a little flat-footed. Derek loved the last leg dip, but it felt a little rushed with some misses in the arm movements.

DM, 8:10pm — I feel like we’re going to see 9s on this one.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Derek (8), Bruno (9) = 35

JK, 8:13pm — That would be three of them.

Melora Hardin and Artem Chigvintsev (Rumba)

DM, 8:13pm — Last week Melora was at the bottom for the first time, but she was saved by all the judges. Len is working with them, which is good because he loves Melora, but he wanted to see more hip action the last time she performed the rumba. It’s a slower dancer, so it’s unforgiving of mistakes, but Melora has good technique, so fingers crossed.

JK, 8:16pm — That was so breathtakingly stunning!

DM, 8:16pm — That was smooth, elegant, clean, great musicality! I think she’s getting those 10s

JUDGES — Len thought it was mission accomplished: “Tooti-frooti, what a booty!” Derek thought it was a “well done” pur rumba. Bruno thought she got the right motion from the feet to the body and arms, and it went from sexy to romantic to cheeky. Carrie Ann also thought the hip action was improved, but there was a lack of expression in the hands, and she thinks there was a moment her feet came off the ground, which means she’s going to dock a point.

DM, 8:18pm — Dammit, Carrie Ann! I think it’ll be a 9 from here, better not be any less than that.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (10), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 36

JK, 8:19pm — Ah man! Yet, Len is the only one who gave her a 10.

DM, 8:20pm — Man, what the hell, Carrie Ann

Suni Lee and Sasha Farber (Foxtrot)

DM, 8:20pm — No surprise, Carrie Ann primarily wants to see more emotional expression from Suni. And that’s going to be key for her to connect to the audience. She’s gonna need those votes to survive the double elimination.

JK, 8:22pm — Everything about it looked incredible from the foot work to the teamwork.

DM, 8:22pm — I loved that foxtrot. Very confident, and her performance and emotional level has vastly improved

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was full joy, full potential, full confidence. Len thought her frame was terrific in hold, but her footwork was a little “suspect” now and again, but otherwise a terrific, happy-go-lucky dance. Derek is “loving Suni 2.0,” but the frame was a little too bouncy. Bruno thought it was a fast song for a foxtrot, but she handled it well and the connection was wonderful, but he agrees the dance was a little bouncy.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 37

DM, 8:25pm — Not surprised by those scores given the critiques. I’m not mad at those scores.

JK, 8:25pm — Neither am I.

JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson (Argentine Tango)

DM, 8:28pm — An Argentine tango should be a 10s dance for JoJo, but she performed it so early in the season that it seems like a good time for her to bring it back. Len thought it looked too staccato the first time, now he wants it to be oozier. He tells them that the ballroom tango is like someone dancing with their wife, but an Argentine tango is like dancing with your girlfriend. Scores are already a little wonky tonight, though, so we’ll see what happens.

JK, 8:32pm — Excellent work with a very Fosse-esque dance.

DM, 8:32pm — Ooh, that may be one of my favorite JoJo dances. Len definitely got the ooze he wanted.

JUDGES — Len thought it was “bloody brilliant.” Derek thought it was impressive and clean, and JoJo is a strong partner. Bruno says they blew all his fuses again, it was outstanding.” Carrie Ann liked the clarity the first time, but this time they added passion, and they were an “extension of one being.”

DM, 8:33pm — NOW we’re gonna get the 10s, right?

JK, 8:34pm — Which is gonna have to wait until after the commercial break.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 40

JK, 8:38pm — Congratulations JoJo for receiving the first (and hopefully not only) perfect score of the night!

DM, 8:38pm — First perfect score of the night and well deserved.

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach (Tango)

DM, 8:39pm — Derek wasn’t in the ballroom the last time Iman did the tango because he had a COVID exposure, but he didn’t think Iman took advantage of his size and frame. “Use your size to your advantage,” Derek tells them. Derek is one of the show’s best teachers, hence the six Mirror Ball Trophies he won, so this dance has a lot of potential.

DM, 8:41pm — Really solid tango, great slides at the end there.

JK, 8:42pm — Daniella on her own was outstanding. Iman, he appeared to have been elevated by working alongside her.

JUDGES — Derek thought he debunked the idea that you can’t have great frame with a major height difference. Bruno thought he delivered the goods and his top line was much better than before, but he squats a little from time to time. Carrie Ann also loved the frame, it was “fantastic.” Len agrees it was a “vast improvement.”

DM, 9:43pm — 9s, and maybe a 10 from someone?

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Derek (10), Bruno (9) = 37

JK, 8:43pm — Of course Derek was the one who gave them a 10.

DM, 9:44pm — Yeah, all the mentoring judges have thrown out 10s tonight so far.

Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten (Tango)

DM, 8:47pm — Len being a stickler for detail makes him a good match for Amanda who has such great technique. She’s performing a tango, the dance they did in week one, and repeating a week one routine is a great way to show her progress. When coaching them, he’s helping them improve their body contact and the positions of their bums, of course.

JK, 8:49pm — Perfection!

DM, 8:50pm — Clean, crisp, exciting, great chemistry. I think there was a tiny accidental lift Carrie Ann will dock a point for.

JUDGES — Len thought it was fabulous and much improved body contact. Derek agrees it had great attack and frame. Bruno thought it was the “clear-cut brilliance of a diamond.” Carrie Ann says she danced the tango like a boss, but yes, her leg came off the floor.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 39

JK, 8:52pm — I’ll still take the 39 out of 40.


Melora Hardin and Artem Chigvintsev (Contemporary)

DM, 8:58pm — First contemporary of the night, not sure how well it fits with the song “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons, but it’s a very adaptable dance style. It might work to her benefit to lead off this round and not have to follow other dancers in this style, but with three more contemporaries coming up, there’s also the risk of her getting lost in the shuffle. She does have an emotional story about this one, though. She was on a show called “Thunder” as a child and she developed a friendship with a fan who was inspired by it.

DM, 9:00pm — That was beautiful from Melora. A lot of joy in that, though I worry that the other women who do that style will have a greater range of motion.

JK, 9:01pm — Probably even more breathtakingly stunning than they were in round one.

JUDGES — Len thought it was full of attack and purpose, and she’s always a joy to watch. Derek can always feel her love of dance. Bruno appreciates her light motion and sense of freedom. Carrie Ann thinks she’s a “beautiful, lyrical dancer.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 36

DM, 9:03pm — I kind of agree with those scores, but it makes me worry that they just threw her under the bottom two bus with those scores.

JK, 9:04pm — Let’s hope not.

DM, 9:04pm — She might end up next to last on the leaderboard, just ahead of Cody depending on his next dance, and his fans are usually more reliable than hers. Might be tough for her not to be the automatic elimination at the very very bottom.

Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke (Argentine Tango)

DM, 9:06pm — The door is open for Cody with Melora not getting her best scores tonight. And his emotional clip package focuses on growing up gay in North Carolina and struggling to feel accepted. His charisma might get him to the finale if this is a solid routine and he showcases Cheryl well.

JK, 9:08pm — I did not realize Cody is from my current state of residence.

DM, 9:10pm — That was … decent. His posture could have used a little work in places

JK, 9:10pm — I thought that was a nice, solid routine.

JUDGES — Derek thought Cheryl was working overtime during the routine, but Cody did a “great job” too. Bruno says it was “red hot,” with great ganchos. Carrie Ann says he brought the drama to the dance, but there looked like an incident early on. Len remembers giving him 6s, but he’s “come so far.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 36

DM, 9:12pm — That puts him awfully close to Melora on the leaderboard. I think she might be done for.

JK, 9:13pm — It’s looking more and more possible.

Suni Lee and Sasha Farber (Contemporary)

DM, 9:15pm — Another contemporary routine to a very emotional song, Sara Bareilles‘s “Gravity” (one of my personal faves). She felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders after the Olympics given her newfound notoriety. She has the acrobatics and athleticism for contemporary. If she brings the emotions, this could be her ticket to the finale.

DM, 9:18pm — Welcome to the finals, Suni.

JK, 9:19pm — Probably their best performance yet. It was incredible!

Cordell Martin, 9:19pm — I agree.

JUDGES — Bruno thought the lifts and jumps were “absolutely weightless,” and her ability to express herself was inspiring. Carrie Ann thought it showed her versatility and her creative growth, bringing the audience into her world. Len loved the feeling and lifts, but the choreography got a bit “samey” and repetitive. Derek feels she has learned to enjoy herself and not just seek outward validation.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (9), Derek (10), Bruno (9) = 38

DM, 9:21pm — Not surprised about the 9 from Len, but a little surprised Bruno gave a 9 instead of a 10.

JK, 9:22pm — I agree.

JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson (Contemporary)

DM, 9:25pm — Another emotional contemporary on the way. JoJo is dancing to Lewis Capaldi’s “Before You Go,” and JoJo’s grandmother is there for the rehearsals because it’s dedicated to JoJo’s recently deceased grandfather. “It’s so beautiful,” says her grandmother, wiping away tears.

JK, 9:28pm — What a touching tribute to her grandfather.

DM, 9:28pm — Fantastic dance from JoJo, and that lift — you did that, JoJo!

CM, 9:29pm — That was beautiful.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought there was so much emotion and the performance was so in sync. Len thinks she dances with such maturity even though he has underpants older than her. Derek thought it was the best contemporary dance in the show’s history. Bruno calls it “exquisite” and sent him to dance heaven.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 40

JK, 9:30pm — And another well deserved perfect score!

DM, 9:30pm — I mean, I don’t think it was the best contemporary EVER, Derek., but that was a deserved perfect score.

CM, 9:31pm — Alright I think the finalist is Suni, Iman, Jojo and Amanda.

DM, 9:31pm — Me too, though I think there’s still an off-chance of Cody being completely safe.

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach (Jazz)

DM, 9:34pm — Iman is dancing to “Dark Fantasy” by Kanye West, which featured Iman’s wife Teyana Taylor doing vocals. I think he’s going to nail a hip-hop routine. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be safe for the finals. And that dramatic clip package about being underdogs is going to help.

DM, 9:36pm — Damn, Daniella may have basically choreographed another contemporary for Iman, but she put in badass lifts that he had amazing control with.

CM, 9:37pm — Iman did that. I loved how much content was in the routine

JUDGES — “It has more lifts than Uber,” says Len, and he loved them, but there was a stagger in there. Derek thought it was “amazing,” not just the lifts, but the choreography. Bruno is getting body envy from Iman, but the lifts were “heart-stopping,” but there was a tiny stumble. Carrie Ann thinks he brings something different, but it’s athletic, artistic, and spectacular.

DM, 9:39pm — Couple of 10s and a couple of 9s?

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (9), Derek (10), Bruno (9) = 38

JK, 9:40pm — Which is exactly what they got.

Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten (Contemporary)

DM, 9:43pm — Last contemporary of the night, and designed to be a tearjerker. They’re dancing to “Live Your Live,” which was written by her late husband Nick Cordero, who died last year of COVID. They played the song while they were slowly taking him off his life support machines.

CM, 9:45pm — Give her a 40 now.

JK, 9:47pm — Very emotionally poignant!

DM, 9:47pm — Yep, that’s gonna get a perfect score.

JUDGES — Derek is crying, and he’s happy that she will always have this moment to remember. Bruno was “totally mesmerized,” it was “beyond critique.” Carrie Ann felt Amanda disappear into the moment, and it “transcended” beauty and perfection. Len thought it was “fantastic.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (10), Derek (10), Bruno (10) = 40

JK, 9:50pm — Round two has officially ended with a bang.

DM, 9:50pm — She’s easily punched her ticket to the finale.

DM, 9:51pm — I think Amanda and Iman are safe, Cody and Melora are probably gone, and the last spot in the bottom three is either Suni or JoJo.


1. JoJo Siwa — 40 + 40 = 80
2. Amanda Kloots — 39 + 40 = 79
3. Suni Lee — 37 + 38 = 75
3. Iman Shumpert — 37 + 38 = 75
5. Melora Hardin — 36 + 36 = 72
6. Cody Rigsby — 35 + 36 = 71


DM, 9:55pm — Okay, here we go. The safe celebs are … JoJo Siwa (not surprised, but I worried she was on the bubble), Iman Shumpert (not surprised there either, historic for a basketball player), and Cody Rigsby (oh FFS). The bottom three are Amanda, Suni, and Melora. Dead last is Melora Hardin, who is eliminated instantly. Now the judges have to choose between Amanda and Suni, which is garbage.

CM, 9:57pm — I freakin’ knew it. I told you guys Cody was going to sneak in.

JK, 9:57pm — Not surprised about Melora.

DM, 9:58pm — Carrie Ann votes to save Amanda. Derek votes to save Amanda. Bruno also votes to save Amanda, which makes it official. Suni Lee is eliminated. Len chimes in and confirms that it would have been unanimous.

CM, 10:01pm — Shocked Amanda was in the bottom three.

JK, 10:01pm — So was I. Clearly, Suni’s fanbase wasn’t strong enough.

CM, 10:01pm — I think Amanda performing right when voting closed hurt her.

DM, 10:02pm — I like Cody, but this is not right.

JK, 10:02pm — I agree.

DM, 10:02pm — I’m not TOO shocked Cody was safe, but I thought it would’ve been JoJo and Suni as the two the judges would choose between.

CM, 10:02pm — So will Iman or Cody be our winner? LOL

DM, 10:02pm — Literally all the women this season were at the bottom, and Iman and Cody never have been. I just don’t get that, as much as I like them both.

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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