We are officially just one episode away from finding out who will win Season 27 of Dancing with the Stars. Four couples are moving on to compete in next week's finale in hopes of being the next dancers to put their name on the Mirrorball trophy.
Before we get there though, our semi-finalists had a hell of a night to get through. Each couple had to perform two dances for the judges. The first dance was a dedication to the special people in the contestants' lives. Then each couple was paired with a judge to be mentored for the Judges' Choice dance. Who was able to rise to the occasion and take one more step toward becoming the reigning champ? Check out our recap below!
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess: Salsa — "GDFR" by Flo Rida
The dance: Bobby hit every step for his first time ever on the show! That's a shocking statement to be making for a semi-finalist, but this has been a weird season. It was a very nice tribute to his fans though, as he dedicated the dance to them. Even if it wasn't a technically perfect dance, everyone agreed it was a lot of fun and Bobby really pushed himself out of his comfort zone to give us something fun to watch.
What the judges said: "He looks like someone who just gatecrashed a Victoria's Secret show. ...We were bedazzled by this spectacle," Bruno raved. All of the judges agreed the dance was fun to look at, though it wasn't a traditional salsa by any means. Carrie Ann was the only one to call him out on shoddy beat work though.
The dance: The showmance reached cheesy new heights as Alexis dedicated her first semi-final dance to Alan. It quickly went from saccharine to sexy though as the two performed a sensual waltz under the DWTS rain machines. Homegirl used those swimsuit model legs to her advantage and created a beautiful spectacle on that dance floor.
What the judges said: "What's incredible is that there's something that's matured in how you expressed yourself today. This was your best dance," Carrie Ann praised before pointing out that there was an illegal lift in the Waltz. Len jumped on the bandwagon and said that even though the dance was beautiful, it was not enough of a waltz for him. Bruno was over the moon because he's the cool judge.
Turns out Carrie Ann and Len weren't nearly as displeased as they made themselves out to be.
The dance: Joe continued to prove that he is the sweetest man in this game by dedicating this dance to the women in his life: his mom, grandma and girlfriend Kendall. It turned out to be more sensual than Joe originally bargained for, so it was mostly for Kendall, but still! Contemporary is Joe's strongest genre so far! Jenna still mostly used him to stand there and lift her, but it was elegant, soft and made it look like Joe has more grace than we've seen all season.
What the judges said: "You didn't do much, Joe, but you didn't do much very well! It was what it was, but I enjoyed it!" Len said. Bruno added that it was "fashionably minimalistic" because Jenna did do most of the work. It was brutal, but not untrue.
Joe got another 8!
The dance: Juan Pablo showed up with the most tear-jerking package of everyone and dedicated the dance to his mom, who beat cancer. He said the tango reminds him of her "warrior spirit," oy vey! The tears were followed by FIRE though as Juan Pablo showed everyone how to dominate a dance floor. It wasn't our favorite dance of his, but it went to show that he definitely deserves to be in the final. It featured fantastic technique and was steamy to watch!
What the judges said: "I will always remember that Argentine Tango because that was fabulous," Len said after a STANDING OVATION. Bruno said it was the best Argentine Tango he's ever seen on the show, and Carrie Ann said that Juan Pablo is in "a class of his own." You can guess how the scores came out.
The dance: Fresh off her perfect score last week, Evanna also went sentimental for a dance dedicated to her late friend Simon Fitzmaurice, who died of ALS complications last year. In comparison to Joe's contemporary dance, Evanna spun around this dance floor beautifully. Keo flipped her through the air and their motion was poetry.
What the judges said: The judges had nothing but praise for Evanna, calling her fierce. Carrie Ann said she's turned into a "warrior," and even Len said it was fabulous.
The dance: Milo dedicated his tango to his mom, Camryn Manheim, who we love, so maybe we'll get over another sexy dance dedicated to a mother. Milo's lines were fantastic, but it didn't do him any favors to have to do this dance after Juan Pablo's perfect execution. There was no way to top that, but Milo still showed off how much he's improved over the course of this series with some beautiful lifts and on-point footwork.
What the judges said: "Stylish. Sharp. Strong. I have to say all the sequences of lifts you did were very good," Bruno pointed out and was surprisingly the one to talk about technique in this dance. Carrie Ann and Len were also complimentary, saying mostly that Milo didn't fall apart having to do a tango after Juan Pablo's performance.
JUDGES' CHOICE DANCES
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess: Jive — "Gimme Some Lovin'" by The Spencer Davis Group (mentored by Len)
The dance: Wow, Bobby! After his last out of control jive, Bobby really paid attention to keeping his "kicks and flicks" under control and it really showed off! The standout moment was when he jumped over Sharna's head and made it! It wasn't the most refined dance, but for Bobby, it was a great improvement and once again was really, really fun to watch, which is actually what counts the most.
What the judges said: "Your steps were very refined. ... The world needs more Bobby Bones," Carrie Ann complimented. The judges all agreed that it wasn't the most classical jive they've ever seen, but he gets the award for most improved.
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten: Jive — "Yes" by Merry Clayton (mentored by Bruno)
The dance: Bruno gave Alexis the jive to help her show how much she's learned over the course of the season, and it was a great improvement from Week 1! They went with an '80s exercise class motif that was dazzling to watch, and Alexis was on point with every kick and flick. She's become one of the competition's most precise dancers.
What the judges said: "There was nothin' fuzzy about that one because it was clearly brilliant! You were surrounded by so many people, but you were the star of the show, my darling," Bruno said of the couple's second dance. Carrie Ann and Len agreed that Alexis has come a long way and that every kick was precise and sharp. The scores reflected their sincere praise.
Joe "Grocery Store Joe" Amabile and Jenna Johnson: Quickstep — "Check it Out" by Oh the Larceny (mentored by Carrie Ann)
The dance: It turns out all Joe needed to do was learn to breathe! This all-important tip from Carrie Ann helped Joe to give one of his most movement filled dances in weeks! And he was mostly on beat! You could even tell it was a quickstep. Was it a great semi-final dance? Not compared to everyone else, but it was far and away Joe's best dance of the season so far. Color me shocked.
What the judges said: "Your frame was better," Len commented, "It was a clean, clear, routine. ... From start to finish, there were no mistakes. You got through it, what an improvement!" Each judge pointed out some polishing that could be done to the routine, but by and large, they all agreed that it actually looked like a routine and that was great for America's favorite contestant.
Score: 24/30 — his highest score yet!
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke: Salsa — "Tu Sonrisa" by Elvis Crespo (mentored by Bruno)
The dance: Is it a little unfair for Juan Pablo to get two latin dances? Maybe. Do I care? Nope! Baby boy's main objective in his salsa redemption was to connect his upper body with his hips — move his shoulders along with his lower half. As the clear frontrunner, Juan Pablo nailed the advice in spades. It was sexy and fun and made us wonder if Juan Pablo should be a pro next season.
What the judges said: "I'm going to call you the midwife because you keep delivering dance after dance," Len said. "If you're not in the final I'm going to go home and pickle my walnuts." Is Len the new Bruno? Bruno and Carrie Ann also couldn't fit enough praise into their short time to talk. Juan Pablo is the judges' favorite, by far.
Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe: Foxtrot — "Rewrite the Stars" from "The Greatest Showman" (mentored by Len)
The dance: Evanna has really come into her own at a great time in this competition. She and Keo retried their Foxtrot from Week 1 and what. a. transformation. This was the most beautiful dance that Evanna has ever done, but we worry that a foxtrot is not flashy enough to get through to the final even though Evanna has proven that when she brings her A-game, she's one of the most beautiful dancers to watch.
What the judges said: "It's like watching another girl from what I saw in Week 1. Everything about your performances are so much more focused," Bruno said. The dance made Carrie Ann cry as well! Len was also very complimentary, though he called out Keo for a missed step.
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson: Cha Cha — "Good Feeling" by Austin French (mentored by Carrie Ann)
The dance: Milo was another one that needed to use his judges' dance to show how much control he's learned over the course of the show. It was a far sharper dance than his Week 1 Cha Cha, but when compared to Juan Pablo (which is who Milo always gets compared to), he is just one rung down on the ladder. It was still a really fun dance though, and he's really cute!
What the judges said: "It's full of youthful exuberance. You come out and there's a joy about your dancing. You don't hold back," Len said, before saying that the dance could still use a little more polish. Carrie Ann agreed that Milo had gained more control, but it still wasn't enough for her to call it perfect.
Elimination: Joe, Alexis and JUAN PABLO found themselves in jeopardy at the end of the show. Yeah, the last announcement had everyone in shock. In the most shocking turn of a shocking season, Juan Pablo and Cheryl were sent home along with Joe and Jenna. Juan Pablo has consistently been the top performer of the entire season and it is tragic to think that he is going home. As for Joe, everyone was expecting this weeks ago and his dancing was not up to par with the rest of the couples moving on.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.