The stakes are higher than ever on Dancing With the Stars. The season 28 semi-finals have arrived so that means we’re just one episode away from the finale. The remaining couples will be performing twice during the semi-finals: a redemption dance and a dance they’ve never performed before. First up are Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko. Their redemption dance is the paso doble and Len Goodman is their mentor judge. Their performance is fierce and a huge improvement from the first time they performed it. Len says the performance was a “lovely mix of expression and aggression.” Bruno Tonioli tells Lauren she did a “great job” and there was just one mistake throughout the whole routine. Lauren and Gleb’s scores: Carrie Ann Inaba = 9; Len = 9; and Bruno = 9. Total score = 27 out of 30.
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson are up next and their redemption dance is the tango. Bruno comes to the studio to mentor them. Kel and Witney’s performance is beautiful and eloquent. Bruno calls Kel the “perfect student” and it was a “pure, real, proper tango.” Carrie tells Kel that he’s come the farthest this season of all the contestants and always takes the criticism. Len loved the intensity and the fact that Kel “attacked” the dance. Kel and Witney scores: Carrie = 9; Len = 9; and Bruno = 9. Total score = 27 out of 30.
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber’s redemption dance is the Viennese waltz and Len steps in to help. Their performance is the definition of emotional and Ally wipes tears away at the end. Len says there was a “lovely gentleness” about the routine but there were a “couple of places where it lost a little fluidity.” Bruno tells Ally and Sasha that they were a “joy to watch.” Carrie Ann raves over how emotional of a dancer Ally is. Ally and Sasha’s scores: Carrie = 10; Len = 9; and Bruno = 10. Total score = 29 out of 30.
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten’s redemption dance is the rumba and Carrie Ann is their mentor. When Carrie Ann comes to rehearsal, the tension with Hannah skyrockets. When Carrie Ann critiques Hannah, Hannah gets really frustrated. Later, Carrie tries to walk over to Hannah. Hannah snaps, “I don’t want to be touched.” Carrie Ann tells Hannah that she’s not an “adversary.” She just wants to help.
Hannah and Alan’s rumba is sensual and Hannah really opens up. Before the judges give their critiques, Hannah apologizes to Carrie for being “dismissive” of her comments. “I didn’t handle my emotions very well,” Hannah admits. Carrie Ann says she wasn’t offended at all by what happened. Carrie Ann also tells Hannah that she was “more open” and she’s “really proud” of her. Hannah and Alan’s scores: Carrie = 9; Len = 9; and Bruno = 9. Total score = 27 out of 30.
James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater are tasked with the cha-cha for their redemption dance. Len is their mentor judge. James and Emma bring the disco era to 2019 with their fun performance. Len says there was “too much messing about.” Bruno admits that he noticed James was “not quite on the beat at times.” Carrie Ann critiques James’ posture big time and says she’d hate to see him “lose it over small little details.” James and Emma’s scores: Carrie = 8; Len = 8; and Bruno = 8. Total score = 24 out of 30.
The couples perform once again during the semi-finals. Lauren and Gleb dance the Viennese waltz for their second routine. They earn a 27 out of 30 from the judges. Kel and Witney tackle a contemporary. The performance is an emotional and raw tribute to Kel’s friend who was killed by gun violence. He earns a perfect score from the judges. Ally and Sasha’s Charleston is fun and energetic. They earn a perfect score as well.
James and Emma dance the foxtrot but the actor has heartbreaking news to share: his wife, Kimberly, suffered another tragic miscarriage. James admits he didn’t think he’d be dancing tonight but his wife gave him the encouragement he needed. His scores: 27 out of 30. Hannah and Alan’s contemporary is simply stunning and they earn a 27 out of 30.
Kel and Witney are announced as the first couple going to the season 28 finals. Hannah and Alan are going to the finals along with Lauren and Gleb. Ally and Sasha are in the bottom two along with James and Emma. Carrie Ann and Bruno choose to save Ally and Sasha. This means that James and Emma are going home. “Can I give it to James?” Ally asks Tom before she begins to cry. What a sweet gesture. The rest of the semi-finalists gather around James in the final moments.