Welcome back to Dancing With the Stars. Last night the stars donned their spandex, buffed up their spray tans, pasted down their dance pants, and strutted their stuff. The first half of the competition let America dictate the dancers’ every move, like puppet masters intent on making jazz hands. The second half saw the dancers team up for so-called not-at-all euphemistic trio dances. Tonight, the herd of stars will be winnowed to a sleek elite ready for the semifinals, and two of the contestants will be sent home. As Tom Bergeron keeps pointing out that’s one-third of the field, and we will just believe him because fractions are not what we came here for. What we want are results, but first we will have to survive another round of Dance Center and suffer through a five-minute elimination ceremony stretched further than a pair of Derek Hough’s Lycra dance pants.
Here’s what happened on Dancing With the Stars:
Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: After a perfect score last night and a command repeat performance of their intense paso doble (with an assist from Artem) there was no doubt that they would make the cut. Sure enough they were quickly announced safe.
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: Dance Center, as tiresome as it is, does occasionally reveal fascinating behind-the-scenes footage: for example, a clip from rehearsal when Sharna kicked out Noah’s tooth — as if the man hasn’t lost enough. Hopefully she will avoid wreaking any more havoc on the veteran as they prepare for the semifinals. They are safe and will return next week.
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough: The Olympic medalist has had it rough this season what with performing on the show, being in school, traveling from New York to Los Angeles, and then having to cope with working with a new partner, since Derek so rudely got injured. Yet the champion has persevered, so it’s no surprise that she is headed straight to the semifinals.
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: Despite a perfect score, it’s announced that Riker is in jeopardy. It’s clearly only meant to build the drama, but everyone bandies about Willow Shields’ early dismissal as a cautionary tale — mostly because Tom is really bummed that he forgot to make a joke about someone volunteering as tribute when The Hunger Games star was cut. Soon enough, Riker is put at ease and yet another Hough family scion (he’s a cousin of some sort of Julianne’s and Derek’s) is headed to Dancing With the Stars–fueled fame.
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: When it was announced that Robert was in jeopardy, it seemed inevitable that he would be sent home. Sure enough the Shark Tank star was sent packing. His are-they-or-aren’t-they romance with Kym just wasn’t enough to keep voters interested, especially after weeks at the bottom of the leaderboard. He went home without a Mirror Ball, but with months worth of tabloid fodder about his relationship with Kym.
Chris Soules and Witney Carson: It’s not particularly surprising that The Bachelor is in jeopardy. And it’s no real surprise when he is sent home. While he has steadily improved from week to week — and clearly had a dance breakthrough during Spring Break week — he is nowhere near the level of Rumer or Riker. He has some chops, which he can show off while tending to his crops. Or, you know, planning his ABC-sponsored wedding to his blushing Bachelor bride, Whitney.
Carly Rae Jepsen: She stopped by the show to sing her latest hit, “I Really Like You,” and it was adorable, especially because of her new Strawberry Shortcake ‘do. The only problem with the performance is that Tom Hanks wasn’t in it.
Josh Groban: For some reason Josh Groban swung by the stage to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in a sea of pumped-in fog while Maddie Ziegler (of Sia’s “Chandelier,” “Elastic Heart,” and “Big Girls Cry” fame) and a few of her friends performed a ballet-inspired routine. The song was kind of an incongruous choice for the dance, but no one else seemed to mind. In fact, Tom used it as an opportunity to point out how much he misses the Tuesday results show. So say we all, Tom, so say we all.
Best Reason to Come Back Next Week: The top four compete in the semifinals.