Credit: @DancingABC

Whew!

Important question:
Val Chmerkovskiy’s hipster Hip Hop, Derek Hough’s shirtless-with-suspenders Flamenco, Mark Ballas’s Afro Jazz attack, Jacoby Jones’s sultry Argentine Tango, or Ingo Rademacher’s Samba hip trusts — who/what was hottest on the Dancing With the Stars Season 16 Semifinals? Let's make them do it all again so we can decide!

There was some ridiculously good dancing on Week 9, from the hot men to the even hotter ladies. It’s still a woman’s world this season. Jacoby is tied for the top with Aly, but — love him to pieces — Ingo is just not quite in the same league. On any other season, he would be doing pretty well, but he can’t keep up with this group of standouts. He is the answer to that “one of these things is not like the others” song.

Still, Zendaya took a bit of a drop this week, thanks to her Quickstep. She and Val made up for it with their end-of-night Hip Hop, but did they win over fans who were already frustrated that she got Hip Hop to begin with? Val was the celeb this week and Zendaya the pro, which they seemed to openly acknowledge themselves. Will that affect them at all, or is it just a given that Ingo will go home, so we can get to the final four we all saw coming around Week 2?

LEADERBOARD
Here’s a quick rundown of where the couples stand after Week 9.

JacobyKarina — 30 + 29 = 59
AlyMark — 30 + 29 = 59
KellieDerek — 30 + 28 = 58
ZendayaVal — 25 + 30 = 55
IngoKym — 24 + 27 = 51

Read on for a full recap of the Week 9 action:

ROUND 1

1. Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough — Argentine Tango — Who doesn’t love a good silhouette start? Although, can the judges really see everything when they are in shadow? (According to Carrie Ann, yes!) They are as sharp and precise as you’d expect. Stellar! Have we ever had two such near-perfect dancers battling it out like this, before K vs. Z? We’ve had “ringer” types before, but two on one season?

JUDGES: Len Goodman smiled at them and told kellie what’s happened in the past is of no consequence. That was a mix of pride and joy - pride in technique, joy in the performance. “Close the door, call me Mary, that was fantastic!” (Mary?!) Bruno Tonioli welcomed Len to the world of the sublime. The silhouette section was like two people together as one. It was superb. Carrie Ann Inaba can’t believe it’s only been 8 or 9 weeks since she’s been dancing. “It was perfection.”

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30. Perfect score right out of the gate!

Vote for Kellie & Derek: 1-800-868-3401 (1-800-VOTE4-01)


2.
Ingo Rademacher & Kym Johnson — Samba — They’re making him dance to “One More Night”? Is he supposed to take the hint? Their Samba has a dysfunctional couple theme. Ingo seems like a great guy, and he’s getting better all the time, but he doesn’t have enough time to be good enough. However, everyone loves an underdog, and it’s so obvious that everyone (including Ingo & Kym) expects them to go that we could see a surge to save them.

JUDGES: Bruno said he loved Ingo’s determination. He’s like a dog with a bone. But from one extreme to the other. He put the work in but he lost timing and didn’t have enough bounce. Carrie ANn said she’s never seen more fervent hip rolls before. She called him an underdog and said he has to step it up a hair more. He’ll be into it, then have a sloppy move. Len said through the darkest clouds, occasionally a ray of sunshine breaks through. He did a good job with a difficult dance. He was stiff in parts, and Len apologized to viewers of a sensitive nature (ha!) for all of Ingo’s hip thrusts.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8 = 24 out of 30.  Because they know they are underdogs, the pressure is kind of off them and they are just having fun. For that alone, they seem less intense and competitive than the others. That could help them.

Vote for Ingo & Kym: 1-800-868-3403


3.
Alexandra Raisman & Mark Ballas — Rumba — She really put work into getting into character. Great job. Decent singer, but you have to feel sorry for anyone not named Bruno Mars who sings “When I Was Your Man.”

JUDGES: Carrie Ann screamed for Aly. “Way to go!” The Rumba is all about being a woman and she was all woman. She couldn’t believe the maturity, the drama, the lines, the sensuality. Len said it ha romance but it wasn’t raunchy. It was quiet and understated and had a lovely story. She’s grown. Bruno said the transformation is complete and the butterfly has taken her wings. She showed such a performance level. Her body flow was perfect. Another perfect score coming?

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 30. Their first perfect score!

Vote for Aly & Mark: 1-800-868-3408

 

 

4. Jacoby Jones & Karina Smirnoff — Argentine Tango — These two are very competitive and it’s been a frustrating week for them. Karina was injured and went to the hospital. But she danced and seemed OK. More than OK, actually, she killed it in this dance. Not Jacoby’s best dance, though — just not feeling it from him. There may be room here, for someone else to make a move.

JUDGES: Len said that’s what he’s talking about. Mood, intensity, great feel. Bruno said they were two animals. The sexual tension was unbearable. His mom (again) was crying happy tears. Bruno said it was so slick and clean and his best performance. Carrie Ann had to fan herself. Jacoby went over and gave her a kiss. So she stood up and did some stripper moves. So … no actual critique! Sounds like another perfect score coming.

SCORES: 10, 10 10 = 30 out of 30. First perfect score for them, too! Poor Ingo at this point, since he’s the only one without a perfect score.

Vote for Jacoby & Karina: 1-800-868-3412

 

5. Zendaya Coleman & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Quickstep — Love their race cars, and her yellow outfit. Helio would approve. This is quite a rock n roll Quickstep. Will it be Len’s cup of tea? The song is a bit much. Not her best dance, but great footwork.

JUDGES: Bruno said fasten your seatbelt, this was a Quickstep for the next generation. He saw what she was trying to do. It was so fast and furious it was hardly able to breathe. But she lost her frame and footing a couple of times. Carrie Ann said there’s trouble in paradise. “That was kind of a mess.” (Ouch!) She liked the concept but because of the start it lost its place. It felt like they were dragging each other through the dance. Len thought she had good hold and frame, but the speed was so intense the style went out. (Blame the music!) It was full of energy.

SCORES: 8, 8, 9 = 25 out of 30. Wow. Seems low. Are they trying to create a race with Ingo?

Vote for Zendaya & Val: 1-800-868-3406

ROUND 2

1. Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough — Flamenco — Derek has never done Flamenco before. He wants to make this as traditional as possible, including classic moves so Len doesn’t get grumpy. We see Kellie’s backstory, with a difficult upbringing. It’s Idol again! She was a cheerleader and worked in a fast food restaurant. Kellie had a low self-esteem but her life changed after American Idol. She’s close with her dad, after tough times, and her dad teared up talking about the unconditional love she’s shown him. Brad Paisley talked about how much she’s had to overcome. Carrie Underwood said Kellie would probably win because she’s so dang likable and good. Derek looks hot in his suspenders and hat. Not sure about Z & V, but these two aren’t having an off week at all. They just presented two iconic dances. And how about that FLIP in the end? Holy heck!

JUDGES: Len said Kellie is small but her talent is huge. As far as he’s concerned, she just booked her place in the Finals. Bruno said Flamenco, the pride and the fiery heart of Spain. It’s like a dialogue without words. He has to point out there were a couple of moments when she tightened up, and Flamenco never stops. Carrie Ann said Kellie is so in her element, but halfway through she tensed up. Is it the skirt? Kellie said it was everything. Derek carried her up the stairs into the Celebriquarium!

SCORES: 9, 10, 9 = 28 out of 30. Bruno flashed the wrong paddle at first.

Vote for Kellie & Derek: 1-800-868-3401 (1-800-VOTE4-01)

 

2. Ingo Rademacher & Kym Johnson — Charleston — We get Ingo’s backstory too, from Germany to an Australian farm to L.A. with General Hospital to Hawaii. His friends love how positive he is, even when faced with criticism. He has such great drive, persistence and passion. Love the sepia-toned old-timey film dance opening. He has fun and puts on a fun, light-hearted show. Great performer but, really, he’s out of his league.

JUDGES: Bruno called it frothy, bubbly, inebriating, and slightly mindbending. The Charleston is about fun and champagne, apparently. Carrie Ann thought he had a grand-slam with that. Len said it was bubbly and full of fizz. The Semifinals is a good time to do his best dance.

SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30.

Vote for Ingo & Kym: 1-800-868-3403

 

3. Alexandra Raisman & Mark Ballas — Afro Jazz — Aly always had a lot of energy and was bouncing off the walls as a kid. They didn’t realize at a young age that she would be an Olympian. Her Fierce Five Olympian buddies all supported her, saying she has what it takes to win. This is kind of like the Tribal Trio thing Mark did with Shawn and Derek last season. Mark is all up in this. Gonna need to see Mark and Derek just go to town on this, the two of them, or with other pros. They’d just unleash. Aly looks like she’s having a blast, though. This does seem like it’d be fun to do, but what in the world would they be judging? If it’s synchronicity, they were off a bit. But in terms of commitment, entertainment and fun? They got it!

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said that was ridiculous. People don’t know how hard that was. Everything was in perfect sync. Len said it was also in perfect sync. He loved the interpretation. He felt they isolated each other a little bit, though. Len made a point to say his comments are his own opinions. Bruno said she’s a warrior princess. Definitely queen of the jungle. She has exceeded all expectations. (And she’s an Olympian! Imagine an Olympian having lower expectations than anyone else.)

SCORES: 10, 9, 10 = 29 out of 30

Vote for Aly & Mark: 1-800-868-3408

 

4. Jacoby Jones & Karina Smirnoff — Lindy Hop — Jacoby’s mom said he always wanted to be a football player, even as a baby. He was small and skinny as a kid. He didn’t make the football team in high school, at first. He was 5’7” and maybe 160 lbs. Now he’s 6’4” and 200 lbs. or so. When he muffed a punt in Texas, he got death threats from fans. It humbled him. But he redeemed himself with the Baltimore Ravens, and they wouldn’t be Super Bowl champs without him. His story is the same as a thousand kids in New Orleans who needed a chance, and he made it. Sweet. These two -- Jacoby & Karina -- man, do they know how to put on a show. They are such big, bold, fun performers. Some of their lifts and tricks were amazing, but they could’ve just kept with the kicks and it would’ve been enough. Whew!

JUDGES: Len said it was high energy, full on, action packed. He got on the wrong foot early on and that disrupted a bit, but it was full on and fabulous. Bruno said that was a frantic, frenzy of electricity. For Bruno, he nailed it. Carrie Ann voted Jacoby the #1 entertainer of Season 16.

SCORES: 10, 9, 10 = 29 out of 30.

Vote for Jacoby & Karina: 1-800-868-3412

 

5. Zendaya Coleman & Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Hip Hop — He knows nothing about Hip Hop. Will her experience hurt her with viewers, or does she have enough fans to overcome the advantage? Zendaya was shy as a kid, but when it’s lights-camera-action she’s a different person. She felt a magical feeling the first time she was on stage. Her dad quit his job and the family was split for a while when she was working in L.A. Kobe Bryant is a fan and she’s a role model for his kids. Val was made for Hip Hop! He does the sexy nerd thing well. This is like a So You Think You Can Dance routine. Love his pink Chucks. Awesome!

JUDGES: Bruno told them to get out of there. It was ridiculous. So cool it gave them chills. He wants to see all of her videos. “Zendaya forever.” Carrie Ann is just waiting for her album to come out. Val got called out too. “Nice job.” Len liked the attitude that they came out with. It had a cheekiness and fun to it. “I thought it was fantastic.”

SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30 out of 60. Of course! Val deserves an extra point for having to learn a dance his star already knew.

Vote for Zendaya & Val: 1-800-868-3406


What did you think of the Week 9 dances and scores? Don’t forget to also vote for your favorite couple here at www.ABC.com.