Dancing With the Stars Season 13, Week 9 Recap: The Highs and Lows of the Semifinals
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Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With the Stars Season 13, Week 9 Recap: The Highs and Lows of the Semifinals

Who is this Rob Kardashian fellow and how is he scoring so many 10s?

Judge Len Goodman compared Dancing With the Stars Season 13, Week 9 to a dinner with three different courses and he seems to have topped them off with a Kardashian kocktail. Rob had a better semifinals night than both Hope Solo and J.R. Martinez and only lost to Ricki Lake by two points — 67 to 65 — after three dances.

J.R. twisted his ankle over the weekend and it affected him in all three routines, leaving him with a total of 56 points. Hope ended the night with only 49 points, but she also decided to make her own points in the Celebriquarium — including one against judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who commented on Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s little smile during judging for their Argentine Tango.

Now that it’s Ricki and Rob at the top, is Hope going to be eliminated tomorrow or is (gasp!) J.R. in danger of not making the finals? Is that possible?

Read on for a full recap of Week 9:


1. Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Paso Doble to “Can’t Be Tamed” by Miley Cyrus — Hope has 13 anchors in her shoulder? She is in pain all the time. Her doctor gave her a major shot. She was saving the drugs for the Olympics, but she needs them for the semis. So now it’s a competition: Who is in the most pain? Their Paso has a dramatic start, with her chained to the stairs. The dance itself takes a while to start. Will Len Goodman say something about that? Good song for them, anyway.

JUDGES: Len Goodman started by saying he thought it was amazing for them to do three dances in one week. He liked Hope’s attitude and aggression, but it’s a negotiation and in the trade-off the dance lost control and finesse. Bruno Tonioli said she was unchained and untamed like a raging torrent of danger. Because of that, she was a bit unsteady and it lacked artistry. Bruno waved himself around and almost hit Len. Len loves that. Carrie Ann Inaba said she nailed the character of the dance. But she thought the hold was out of sync and she lost some shaping, grace and fluidity.

SCORES: 7, 7, 7 = 21 out of 30. That’s their lowest score since the 20 they got on Broadway Week (Week 6).

2. J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff — Paso Doble to "The Mask of Zorro” theme — They realize the bar is so much higher now that he’s had two perfect scores. For their Paso, they are channeling Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in The Mask of Zorro. J.R. reiterates that he does not have previous dance experience and, although he makes it look easy, he messes up a lot. Cue the clip where he twisted his right ankle. Ouch. He twisted his ankle again in the dance. Is J.R. now winning the injury contest or does it still go to Hope … or Ricki?

JUDGES: Bruno said he could really feel the thrill and excitement of the chase. The role-playing was great. But his posture wasn’t there all the way through. But the performance was good. Carrie Ann gave him so much credit for attacking the routine with a hurt ankle, but she has to judge on what happened and his posture suffered. There were also some moments of uncertain pauses. Len said certain dances suit you and some don’t and this dance didn’t suit him at all. “It was more zero than Zorro.”

SCORES: 8, 7, 8 = 23 out of 30. A 21 and then a 23? These are basement-level scores for Week 9. Maybe three dances are just one too many.

3. Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke —Samba to “I Go To Rio” by Peter Allen — Everyone keeps talking like the Argentine Tangos are first, but they are not airing them that way. First they have the Samba and Rob’s big butt is his secret weapon. Cheryl wants him to shake it all. They ride a little float onto the dance floor. This song is hilarious in a rainbow Love Boat kind of way, but it’s fun.

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said “Who are you? What was that?” She didn’t like the float, but then she thought it was a bootilicious Samba. He didn’t miss a step, it was fluid. Len said the same about the float, but he loved the dance. Bruno said Rob exceeded all expectations. That’s how you turn a handicap into an asset. “Keep using that butt!”

SCORES: 10, 9, 9 = 28 out of 30. He got a 10. Rob is now in the lead. That’s … amazing. And scary. A 10? Kris Jenner hid her face she was so proud … or maybe her makeup smeared. But a 10, really, Carrie Ann? And what was Brooke’s quip about Rob entering Bruno’s world? Ha!

4. Ricki Lake & Derek Hough — Samba to “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte — Ricki wants to enjoy every moment and not get down about her rough patch last week, but she’s always down about any mistake. She’s worried about being lifted in the Argentine Tango, because of her weight. She doesn’t want to break Derek. Don’t worry about it. Maks would’ve done it already. (Kidding!) If she lets loose in the Samba, she thinks she’ll be pretty good. That Big Bird costume is pretty distracting, but the song is fun. Beetlejuice memories... The dance is fun and peppy, but does she have enough hip action?

JUDGES: Len said “no change, no floats, no funny costumes” — he liked that she got straight into the dance. “Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.” She took again step into the finals. Bruno called it sizzling hot and bright and brilliant. He was dazzled. Carrie Ann said she worked her shoulders and showed how technique can make a dance.

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Their first perfect score. Of course, Len had to say “From Len, a 10.” His is the only score that matters.


As Len put it, “If you think of ballroom Tango as a husband with his wife, think about the Argentine Tango as a husband with his girlfriend.” Bad Len! Besides, women can be naughty too. What about wives and their boyfriends? Before the couples dance, the pros show what an Argentine Tango should look like. Lifts are allowed in this dance, but chances are we won’t see amazing lifts they these guys show.

1. Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Argentine Tango to “Whatever Lola Wants” — At this point, we hear stories about what shaped the celebs to be who they are. Hope’s sister, brother and grandma talked about how competitive Hope was growing up. Hope was always daddy’s little girl. Her dad was a Vietnam vet. “He loved his family very much but he didn’t have the capacity to stay at home and be a husband and be a father.” One day her dad basically kidnapped the kids and she remembered seeing the sirens come take him away. Several years after her father went to jail she spotted a homeless-looking man at her soccer game. It was her dad. He died a few weeks before the World Cup in 2007. That was when she said her coach made the wrong decision to not put her in goal. She fell into depression, but when the odds are against her she picks herself up.

She starts the dance lying on the judges’ table until Maks comes to pick her up. They do some athletic moves. Very impressive!

JUDGES: Len said it was far, far better than the Paso Doble. The lifts were clean, it had a lot of content. Bruno said it was a full-on display of athleticism. She was sexy and looked really into Maks and didn’t look like she was going to kill him. It was much better and more controlled. Carrie Ann thought there was more fluidity and they worked with each other in the movements, but the ins and outs of lifts are what’s important. (“You can smile like that, that’s fine Maks.”) But some of the grace going into the lifts wasn’t there. But they were very ambitious and they get points for ambition.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30. In the Celebriquarium, Brooke asked if Hope felt like she was defying the odds. She said “I think from day one they’ve wanted me off the show but I’m here in the final four and I’m hoping to get in the final. And I have to say, Maks was smiling because we should be smiling, that’s what it’s all about. So, Carrie Ann, thank you, Maks was smiling. This is my partner. Finally, we’re happy.” Yeah, real happy. Everyone is always against them, according to them. It’s getting old. And sometimes Maks does make passive-aggressive little smiles and faces, especially when Carrie Ann is speaking. It’s no secret he doesn’t respect her opinion as much as Len’s.

2. J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff — Argentine Tango to "Bust Your Windows" by Jazmine Sullivan — J.R.’s family members and fellow soldiers talk about his accident in Iraq. J.R. said he hit his lowest point when he saw his body and face for the first time. His mom said he wanted to die right there. He never thought anyone would love him (but he has a gorgeous girlfriend). His mom said “Whoever is going to be in your life it’s going to be with J.R. for what J.R. is inside.” Getting the role on All My Children in 2008 was amazing. Susan Lucci said he has an ease about him and he’s very comfortable in his own skin.

J.R. was really upset about the dance, having hurt himself. This is just not his night.

JUDGES: Bruno said he was in lover mode. For a man, to attempt those lifts was incredible. He was so charged, the sexual interplay was absolutely beautiful. “Great job, my darling.” Carrie Ann said there was a true fire that bound them together. They had some difficult mounts and dismounts but J.R. commanded it. Len said it had mood and intensity. He was transported to Buenas Aires. J.R. looked upset through the critique. He is in serious pain.

As an aside, Tom announced that Derek Hough and Anna Trebunskaya are the pros doing the Design a Dance routine tomorrow.

SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. Total of 50 out of 60, so far. Karina said J.R. hurt his ankle on Saturday, so Sunday was out.

3. Rob Kardashian & Cheryl Burke — Argentine Tango to “Libertango" by Bond — We see how excited Rob’s dad was to have a son. Rob’s sisters tortured him and put makeup and girls’ clothes on him. Rob and his dad were best friends. After his dad died, Rob lost a part of himself and didn’t share his emotions with anyone. Rob wanted to be an amazing student at USC, in honor of his dad, but he didn’t know what to do after college. (It’s a good thing his family is rich!) Rob’s mom says he entered the competition as a boy and now he’s a man.

Cheryl owned the routine. Her hair didn’t quite fade behind the curtain, but it was a nice touch.

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said there’s no way to fake good dancing. That was good strong dancing. Len said on Dancing With the Stars it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish and he’s finishing strong. Bruno said he started out as a goofy outsider and he looks like a leading man.

SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. Total of 55 out of 60, so far.

4. Ricki Lake & Derek Hough — Argentine Tango — Ricki talked about seeing Annie at a young age and crying because she didn’t want it to end. She knew that’s what she wanted to do. She was molested in her own home and it was hard for her to overcome. She turned to food and became self-conscious about her body. She got Hairspray at age 18, then kept gaining weight and hit bottom. She lost 100 lbs. and looked drastically different. She got a call to have her own show, the Ricki Lake show. After her talk show ended in 2003, she got divorced and moved to L.A. to start a new life. Her friends say she is determined and tenacious.

This is a sexy, wow routine. Very sharp, very Derek. This is the routine that should get a 30, not the Samba.

JUDGES: Len said it had a lovely contrast of movement from fast to slow. The lifts were just part of the dance. “Ricki, I don’t think you know how good that was.” She always does look like it was bad. Bruno was totally transported. The mood was spot on and the dancing was fearless. Carrie Ann said she saw a core strength in Ricki that’s added a whole new pop and shine. She’s always had the passion, now she has the pop.

SCORES: 9, 10, 10. Total of 59 out of 60, so far. What on Earth did Carrie Ann give this a “9” for? She gave Rob’s Samba a 10 but not this?


Each couple is going to be dancing a portion of one song, “I Like How It Feels” by Enrique Iglesias. The lowest-scoring couple only gets 4 points.

1. Ricki and Derek — The routine is very fast and pretty sharp. What’s with all the pointing? Why do the dancers occasionally point to the audience?

2. Hope and Maks — Hope’s fringed black pants are back. Maks looks hot in that vest. This is another fast routine. Lots of movement.

3. J.R. and Karina — J.R. has lots of hip movements, but this just isn’t his best night.

4. Rob and Cheryl — Rob’s shiny shirt is an issue, but he does move a lot. This is the worst of the four, from here.

Len said the whole night has been like going out for a nice dinner, with different courses. Len said his winner wouldn’t be the same as Bruno and Carrie Ann’s winner. Bruno complimented them all on doing three dances. Carrie Ann said when they dance one after the other you could see who was good and who wasn’t quite up to par and it was a surprise.

Ranking fourth place — Hope and Maks — Total 49 points
Third place — J.R. and Karina — Total 56 points
Second place — Ricki and Derek — Total 67 points
Winner — Rob and Cheryl — Total 65 points (Wow, really?)

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