With just one week until the Dancing With the Stars season finale, tensions are running high among the dancers. And it isn't just owing to the night's redemption performances — in which each couple is made to repeat a style of dance they struggled with earlier in the season while one of the judges mentors them. No, several of the stars are also dealing with personal issues, which ultimately come to bear on the dance floor (for better and for worse). Here's how the semi-finals went...

REDEMPTION PERFORMANCES

Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko
Paso doble / "Stronger" from Kelly Clarkson

Following last week's bottom two performance, this week truly is one of redemption for the country singer. With instruction from Len to focus on more traditional paso doble choreography, Lauren and Gleb (and, like, half a dozen back-up dancers) hit the dance floor to largely positive reviews from the judges. Mentor Len calls it a "lovely mix of expression and aggression" and tells them their performance is "so much improved." Bruno and Carrie Ann mostly agree — though both point out minor infractions (a lost hand here and locked knees there, respectively). And, unfortunately, Lauren and Gleb don't receive bonus points for their flashy velvet and leather get-ups.
Score: 27/30

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Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson
Tango / "Get Ready" from The Temptations

Can Kel carry last week's perfect-score mojo into the semi-finals? His fate rests on the tango — a dance he performed during the very first week, which Bruno would like him to improve upon. (To be fair, was anyone hitting all their marks during week one!?) Happily, Bruno is impressed with his pupil: "You delivered on everything I asked," he tells Kel, before pointing out one tiny error. Carrie Ann hails the turn as "fantastic," while Len praises the dancers' intensity. But it's not quite enough for straight 10s.
Score: 27/30

Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber
Viennese waltz / "Perfect" from Ed Sheeran

Ally's aim this week: to perfect her footwork and framing, which she admits have historically been her weaknesses. Mentor Len will also be on the lookout for the hallmarks of a prototypical Viennese waltz, namely lots of rotation. Len ultimately gets what he wants, praising Ally's metamorphosis "from a caterpillar to a butterfly." Bruno and Carrie Ann applaud both the technical performance and its emotional wallop.
Score: 29/30

Tom Bergeron, Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson, <em>Dancing with the Stars</em>Tom Bergeron, Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson, Dancing with the Stars


Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten
Rumba / "Dancing With a Stranger" from Sam Smith and Normani

Emotions run high as the one judge who really pushes Hannah, Carrie Ann, is appointed her mentor. And when Carrie Ann tries to correct Hannah during training, the former Bachelorette tears up, feeling personally attacked. Yet, the week's earlier drama doesn't seem to negatively affect her performance on the dance floor, as Hannah turns in a confident, sultry rumba. The judges recognize her improvement too, with each pointing to her expert hip movement. ("The hips are the rhythm and the arms are the melody, and you married those two beautifully," says Len.) To quote Shakira: These hips don't lie!
Score: 27/30

James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater
Cha cha / "Canned Heat" from Jamiroquai

The actor's dreams come true when Len "The Ballroom Expert" Goodman arrives as the pair's mentor for the cha cha. The judge tells James he wants fewer gimmicks — a request that isn't entirely fulfilled. (C'mon, Len, he did cut out the Worm!) "I would have liked to have seen more cha cha cha," Len tells James following the disco-themed performance. Meanwhile, Carrie Ann offers criticism on James' posture, and Bruno points out that he was off the beat a handful of times. Overall, not much of an improvement on his earlier cha cha.
Score: 24/30

After the redemption performances, each couple dances once more — this time in a style they never have before.

Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko
Viennese waltz / "Humble and Kind" from Tim McGraw

Clad in the dreamiest pink gauzy gown you ever did see, Lauren takes to the dance floor to deliver a Viennese waltz that Bruno calls, "so sophisticated, so classy." The other judges agree, praising the couple's grace and chemistry. Somehow the snoozy Viennese waltz is proving to be one of the strongest, most interesting dances of the night!
Score: 27/30

Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson
Contemporary / "I Will Always Love You" from Whitney Houston

Sure, they're no Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, but Kel and Witney bring the heat with this Bodyguard classic. (That lift timed to the beat drop? Chills!) The couple get a long, well-deserved round of applause from the audience and plenty of kudos from the judges. Bruno calls the performance "pure art," complimenting the couple's fluid lifts and sincere delivery. Choked up, Carrie Ann praises the storytelling aspect of the dance (which is dedicated to a friend Kel lost to gun violence as a kid). And Len, eschewing words, offers a simple standing ovation. Excuse me while I wipe away the tears...
Score: 30/30

James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater, <em>Dancing with the Stars</em>James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater, Dancing with the Stars


Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber
Charleston / "Sing Sing Sing" from Benny Goodman
Ally needs to prove she deserves to be in the finale: Could the Charleston be her ticket to next week's competition? In the words of Carrie Ann: "Consider it done, done, done!" The high-energy performance, which mixes in the Lindy Hop and elements of swing, captures the imagination of the judges, with Len calling it "fast! Fun! Fabulous!" and Bruno dubbing it a "tonic for the spirit." Get these two to the finale, stat!
Score: 30/30

James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater
Foxtrot / "Take Me to Church" from Hosier
In the night's most emotional package, we learn that James and his wife, Kimberly, experienced a tragic loss this week with a miscarriage. James explains that the only reason he's even dancing this week is because Kimberly told him she wasn't done watching him. (Seriously, why did Tom Bergeron not warn us to keep a box of Kleenex handy!?) James channels his raw emotions into a beautiful foxtrot, and the judges are unsurprisingly moved, offering nothing but positive feedback for the actor. (He even pulled up his posture for Carrie Ann!)
Score: 27/30

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten
Contemporary / "Lose You to Love Me" from Selena Gomez

The final dance of the night is a strong showing for Hannah and partner Alan. They let their bodies do the talking in this contemporary performance, earning mostly accolades from the judges. "Excuse me, madam!" Bruno exclaims. "For a first-timer at contemporary dance, you did pretty well. You've got a wonderful dynamic in the lifts and drops." Len agrees: "I'm not a big fan of contemporary, but I must say I thought the emotion came out and it was a great dance together."
Score: 27/30

After the two performances, Ally and Sasha are in first place with 59 points; Kel and Witney are in second with 57; Lauren and Gleb and Hannah and Alan are tied for third with 54; and James and Emma are in fifth with 51.

When the votes are tallied, James and Emma and Ally and Sasha are in the bottom two. It's a tough decision, to be sure, but ultimately the judges decide to save Ally and Sasha. (Ally, to her credit, tearfully offers to give her spot to James, but the substitution isn't allowed.)

And with that, the finale lineup is as follows: Lauren and Gleb, Kel and Witney, Ally and Sasha, and Hannah and Alan. Mirrorball trophy, here we come!

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.