‘Dancing with the Stars’ Semi-Finals recap: One last double elimination before the finale [Updating Live Blog]

The “Dancing with the Stars” season 31 contestants are dropping like flies. A double elimination on “90s Night” reduced the show from eight contestants to six, and another double elimination on Semifinals Night narrowed the field to the final four who will compete for the Mirror Ball Trophy in next week’s finale episode. So who survived the final cut and who fell just short of the finals? Follow our live blog below with all the minute-by-minute developments and commentary throughout the night.

To earn their spots in the finale, each celeb had to learn and perform two new dances. Actor and comedian Wayne Brady performed two very different routines: a paso doble and a Viennese waltz. TikTok star Charli D’Amelio also performed a Viennese waltz and a paso doble, perhaps so the judges and viewing audience would better be able to compare the season’s two front-runners against each other.

But then drag queen Shangela performed, you guessed it, a paso doble and a Viennese waltz. “Bachelorette” star Gabby Windey got a traditional waltz and a paso doble. Mixing things up a little bit were actor Daniel Durant, performing a Viennese waltz and a samba (a dangerously difficult dance style this late in the competition). And actor Trevor Donovan performed a cha cha and a Viennese waltz. So it was waltzes all around, plus plenty of pasos. No contemporary or jazz routines, though; the producers weren’t letting any of the contestants off that easy. And with such similar lineups of dances, we and the judges had an apples-to-apples comparison when it came to picking the final four.

So who gave the best performances and who advanced? Follow along below to find out (times listed are Eastern).

Daniel Montgomery, 8:01pm — Two full dances, a buncha waltzes, a buncha Latin dances, and two eliminations, bring it on!

DM, 8:04pm — Trevor Donovan will simply never wear a closed shirt for as long as he’s on the show LOL

ROUND ONE

Wayne Brady and Witney Carson (Paso Doble)

DM, 8:04pm — I was kinda surprised by Wayne’s perfect score last week. And starting with a paso doble is going to be tough. But it’s definitely going to be an opportunity for Wayne’s showmanship, which is his strength. But does he have the technique to match? He needs to be the best of both worlds.

DM, 8:09pm — Strong start for Wayne, took a sec to get going for me, but he sold the hell out of the character of that dance

Jeffrey Kare, 8:09pm — What an electrifying dance to start the night off with!

Cordell Martin, 8:09pm — Great way to start the show!

JUDGES — Len Goodman thought the choreography matched the music, but there was a stumble near the end. Derek Hough thinks Wayne’s shoulder’s roll forward too much, it was too angular. Bruno Tonioli thought it was strong and stylish with a lot of contrast, and he was great when he hit the accents in the music. Carrie Ann Inaba loved that he took a risk by adding a story to the paso doble, but he needs to be more grounded in his steps.

CM, 8:11pm — Derek better keep that same energy for all the couples. Four 9’s

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 36 out of 40

Daniel Durant and Britt Stewart (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 8:14pm — Daniel is going to have a tough time matching his 10s from last week. Dropping the music out of his routine was a powerful artistic choice, but now he’s gotta nail some technique in hold, gliding across the floor. He acknowledges that his frame is his problem and he also finds the rise and fall difficult.

DM, 8:17pm — One of his better dances, smooth, nice glide across the floor, strong musicality and rhythm, I liked that a lot.

JK, 8:17pm — Breathtakingly stunning! I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.

CM, 8:18pm — Beautiful dance, lots of fluidity. I’m so happy Britt got the chance to make it far

JUDGES — Derek thought his right arm got a little too far around, but he had beautiful lines and beautiful arms. Bruno thinks he’s Prince Charming and everyone has fallen in love with him, he was sailing across the dance floor. Carrie Ann thought it was so special she has trouble finding the words, they have strong unity between them. Len loved the movement he produced throughout, good mix of steps in and out of hold, but it was a little skippy at times and on occasions lacked finesse.

CM, 8:20pm — Hmm maybe two 9’s, one 8 and one 10? Lol

DM, 8:20pm — I think 9s and a 10

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 35 out of 40

JK, 8:21pm — More like three 9’s and an 8.

Shangela and Gleb Savchenko (Paso Doble)

DM, 8:22pm — The judges dissed her for sloppy footwork last week even though I think their samba might have been my favorite of the night. I think Shangela is gonna nail the intensity of a paso doble, and dancing to Lady Gaga is going to make it a showstopper, but she also needs the technique to be there to hold up on the leaderboard.

CM, 8:24pm — C’mon Shangela.

DM, 8:26pm — There’s officially no one I like watching dance more than Shangela. She brought the mood of that dance out even better than Wayne did

CM, 8:26pm — Yes Daniel! Shangela better make it to the finals

JUDGES — Bruno loved the dramatic solo with the flamenco touches, but she missed a pass, though otherwise a wonderful performance. Carrie Ann thinks she dances on the edge without fear, the performance had light and shade. Len loved the traditional steps, he loved the solo section, high energy and totally committed. Derek agrees with the missed pass, but otherwise it was well done.

CM, 8:28pm — Four 9’s

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 36 out of 40

Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 8:32pm — Lets see how picky the judges are going to be tonight. She’s so damn good and technically unimpeachable, but that also opens her up to more technical critique. And Charli struggles the most with ballroom dances. Oh, and apparently she’s working her feet so hard that her toenail is infected and falling off. Eek.

DM, 8:36pm — That’ll be the first perfect score of the night, beautiful glide, emotional connection, perfect unison between partners

JK, 9:36pm — That was simply exquisite. Very classy.

CM, 9:36pm — Another beautiful performance

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was perfection on top of perfection, and they brought the emotional expression. Len thought it was so good it took his breath away, no words can sum up how good it was. Derek thinks Charli is the first celeb to truly look like a ballroom dancer with the attention to detail, the nuances, and the work they put in. Bruno thinks she dances like an angel and this will go down in history as one of the show’s best Viennese waltzes.

DM, 8:39pm — If they had 11 paddles, she’d get 11s

CM, 8:39pm — Another perfect score

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

Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater (Cha Cha)

DM, 8:41pm — He was in the bottom for the third time last week. Sadly, I think his journey is over tonight no matter how well he dances, and the poor guy has to follow Charli’s performance. What’s more, Emma explains to him that she tends to be eliminated right after dancing a cha cha. Poor girl, I’m pretty sure that’s going to happen again.

JK, 8:44pm — They just brought in a ton of great energy.

CM, 8:45pm — Ehh.

DM, 8:45pm — A capable cha cha, a little slow in places, he got it done, but don’t think that’s gonna help him stay

CM, 8:45pm — I agree Daniel

JK, 8:46pm — I agree that I don’t see him making it to next week.

CM, 8:46pm — Yeah it’s the end of the road for him

JUDGES — Len thinks he has improved from week to week, he loved the Cuban breaks, but the footwork was hit and miss. Derek agrees that it was a little flat-footed, but he has had an incredible journey with his improvement throughout the season. Bruno thinks he always gives everything he’s got, but his footwork could improve. Carrie Ann though it was strong and clean, but also really confident,, he brings something special.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Derek (8), Bruno (8) = 32 out of 40

DM, 8:48pm — Poor Emma’s cha cha curse is going to continue

Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy (Waltz)

DM, 8:50pm — She got a perfect score in her first dance last week, but lost her relay dance to Charli (of course), which dropped her down to fourth place. And wow, it turns out Gabby and her fiance have already broken up. I didn’t know that. She literally showed him off earlier during the season. It’s almost like reality TV isn’t the best place to find a lifelong connection. She’s been dynamite on “DWTS” though, so I wish her the best of luck.

DM, 8:55pm — Dynamite waltz, lovely shades, fast and slow movement, emotional connection that may have been even stronger than Charli’s. Another perfect score?

JK, 8:55pm — So elegantly put together.

CM, 8:55pm — Yeah she’s getting a perfect score. After round one I have Charli, gabby and shangela as the top three and the guys at the bottom

JK, 8:56pm — Interesting divide.

DM, 8:57pm — I agree. The women outdid the men.

JUDGES — Derek thought she did a beautiful job of capturing the essence of the song, just flawless. Bruno thinks she looks like she stepped out of a dream, equally beautiful as Charli’s Viennese waltz but in a different way with its smooth moves from quick to slow. Carrie Ann thought the performance was elevated by the fact that she brought down some emotional walls, it was real and vulnerable. Len thought it was a wonderful waltz, and it had control and artistry.

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

ROUND TWO

DM, 8:59pm — A sad way to start round two, Len announces that he’s leaving “Dancing with the Stars” after this season, and he gets a standing ovation from his fellow judges and from the audience. A true gentleman, and he’ll be greatly missed.

JK, 9:00pm — Wow! That’s sad to hear that Len is leaving.

CM, 9:01pm — Wow

Wayne Brady and Witney Carson (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 9:01pm — A tough emotional note to follow with Len’s farewell. Wayne lost his grandmother this year, so he wants to perform to “A Man’s World” in tribute to her. She suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and the worst part for Wayne was that she knew what she was losing as her disease progressed. I think this will be a highlight dance for him, not just for the emotional stakes, but because I can see him really excelling in a graceful ballroom routine.

DM, 9:05pm — A definite rebound for Wayne, much better than his first routine. Powerfully danced, but still graceful and controlled.

CM, 9:06pm — He’s getting a perfect score

JK, 9:06pm — I thought it was wonderful.

CM, 9:06pm — Fun fact: Wayne is a Grammy nominee!

JUDGES — Len liked the fleckle, though it lacked a little content. Nevertheless, he gives it everything he’s got. Derek thinks he’s a joy to watch. Bruno calls him a master storyteller, but technically it wasn’t quite there. Carrie Ann disagrees with the men, that there are other elements besides technique that make a great performance.

CM, 9:08pm — Nevermind on the perfect score. I agree with Carrie Ann.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 37 out of 40

Daniel Durant and Britt Stewart (Samba)

DM, 9:10pm — Depending on how this goes, it could be a test of Daniel’s fan base. A samba is tough enough when you can actually hear the music.

DM, 9:13pm — Looked like a couple of awkward missed steps in there, but he survived the samba, so good for him!

JK, 9:13pm — That was so energetically exotic!

CM, 9:13pm — Yeah he worked it out lol

JUDGES — Derek thought it had tons of content and he was in awe of the technique. Bruno appreciates that he looked like he was having fun, and he did it well. Carrie Ann thought the dance had swagger, he took an obstacle and turned it into an opportunity. Len thought his ability to cope with all the changes of the samba was fantastic

DM, 9:16pm — Sounds like he’ll get gentleman’s 9s, I don’t see 10s

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Derek (9), Bruno (8) = 34 out of 40

CM, 9:17pm — The 9’s were super generous

DM, 9:18pm — Not surprised, they’re grading him on a curve, which I can appreciate

Shangela and Gleb Savchenko (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 9:18pm — Viennese waltz isn’t a showstopping party dance, it’s gonna require a lot of technique, but I think the romantic style with Whitney Houston playing is going to be his opportunity to show that other side of him. I think it could be the dance that gets him to the finale. And it damn well better!

DM, 9:22pm — A new side of Shangela! And I think she’s really brought something new out of Gleb as a partner and choreographer. That was fantastic

CM, 9:23pm — Another amazing routine

JK, 9:24pm — I found the whole routine to be so terrifically lovely.

CM, 9:24pm — Shangela could be a darkhorse

JUDGES — Bruno loves when she shows her fragility, though there were a couple of incidents in the underarm terms. Carrie Ann leaves the judges table to bow down to Shangela. Len thought it had great rotation, despite a couple of flaws. Derek thought the head was a little congested too, but it was a beautiful dance.

CM, 9:25pm — Three 9’s and one 10?

DM, 9:25pm — It feels like they’re harder on Shangela than they are on others like Daniel and Wayne

SCORES — Carrie Ann (10), Len (9), Derek (9), Bruno (9) = 37 out of 40

Charlie D’Amelio and Mark Ballas (Paso Doble)

DM, 9:26pm — Mark is choreographing a routine where Mark is the bullfighter and Charli is the cape. Conceptual as only Mark could do, but who are we kidding, this has a very good chance of being flawless. Paso is a great style for her, as is every dance style ever created.

CM, 9:28pm — Oh Charli is getting another perfect score. I think the guys will be the bottom 3

JK, 9:28pm — If that’s the case, I think Trevor will be the unsavable option.

JK, 9:30pm — Incredibly well put together!

CM, 9:30pm — No words

DM, 9:30pm — Charli was pretty much perfect again. But I think if she and Gabby tie for the top of the leaderboard, there’s a chance Charli lands in the bottom three

JK, 9:31pm — Please don’t speak that into existence.

CM, 9:32pm — I don’t think she’s going anywhere

DM, 9:32pm — Oh, the judges would 100% save her, she’s going to the finals, but it depends on how strong her fan base really is. She’s never been tested

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thinks Charli’s perfection is on another level. Len agrees with Carrie Ann, it was fantastic. Derek thinks she has had exceptional moments every single week, that routine was iconic.

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

Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 9:35pm — For some reason I think Trevor will do pretty well with Viennese waltz. He seems like he’d be a strong partner in hold.

CM, 9:37pm — I just want shangela in the finals lol

DM, 9:37pm — Same.

CM, 9:38pm — Trevor is out for sure and Wayne will be in the bottom 3.

DM, 9:40pm — That was a nice dance for Trevor to go out on. It didn’t glide that well, and Len’s right that it was skippy, but good for him

JK, 9:41pm — I wouldn’t count those chickens before they hatch, but I agree.

JUDGES — Len liked the amount in hold, but it was a little skippy. Derek thought the choreography was beautiful, and they have a great partnership, but yes it got skippy in the frame. Bruno thought he looked like the dashing leading man, he worked hard and did very well. Carrie Ann also loves the partnership, and for someone who has never learned choreography before he did well.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Derek (8), Bruno (8) = 33 out of 40

Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy (Paso Doble)

DM, 9:43pm — Yet another paso doble. I wish there had been more variation in the dances even if you’re going with the theme of ballroom and Latin. Gabby’s problem will be getting serious instead of goofy for such an intense dance. But she’s done intense before. I’m not worried for her at all.

DM, 9:47pm — Don’t know if that paso was a good as Charli’s but that’s comparing perfection to perfection. That was a dynamite dance.

JK, 9:48pm — Very unique in terms of the choreography, camera work, and production values.

CM, 9:49pm — Gabby came to win it

JUDGES — Derek was a little nervous at first because she seemed nervous, but then she kicked into gear, she sold it with power and attack. Bruno thought it was a blockbuster of a paso doble, and he was so excited he ripped his shirt open. Carrie Ann says this semi-final is off the charts amazing, she’s never seen her dance with so much ferocity. Len loved the attack and aggression, but the stillness. Lots of control and speed.

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

JUDGES LEADERBOARD

1. Charli D’Amelio — 40 = 40 = 80
1. Gabby Windey — 40 + 40 = 80
3. Wayne Brady — 36 + 37 = 73
3. Shangela — 36 + 37 = 73
5. Daniel Durant — 35 + 34 = 69
6. Trevor Donovan — 32 + 33 = 65

RESULTS

DM, 9:52pm — Gabby and Charli tied at #1, Wayne and Shangela tied at #3, then Daniel and Trevor. Viewer votes will be TELLING.

JK, 9:52pm — Indeed.

CM, 9:53pm — Yes! Whoever is the saved couple will not win the Mirror Ball.

DM, 9:54pm — I think Gabby is 100% safe. Probably Charli too, but I’m not as sure. Wayne, Shangela, and Daniel are a tossup.

DM, 9:54pm — Okay, here we go. The safe celebrities are … Gabby Windey (yep), Charli D’Amelio (so she’s got some fan support), and Wayne Brade (I thought that might happen). Shangela, Daniel Durant, and Trevor Donovan are the bottom three.

DM, 9:57pm — Dead last and eliminated immediately is Trevor Donovan. I think they’ll save Shangela.

JK, 9:58 — I can see that happening.

CM, 9:58pm — Yeah.

DM, 9:59pm — Bruno votes to save Shangela. Carrie Ann votes to save Shangela. Derek votes to save Shangela. Len would also have voted for Shangela, making it unanimous. Daniel Durant is also eliminated.

JK, 10:00pm — It was an interestingly nice run for Trevor. Great run for Daniel.

CM, 10:02pm — The holy trinity clearly has the fan votes.

DM, 10:02pm — Yep, Wayne, Gabby, and Charli were never at the bottom, so it’s a complete tossup who wins the Mirror Ball.

CM, 10:03pm — Shangela is unfortunately going to place no higher than 3rd

JK, 10:03pm — This should hopefully make for one exciting finale.

DM, 10:04pm — I want that Shangela freestyle to be full drag extravagance. Gleb should let her choreograph it LOL


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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