Dancing With the Stars 2013 Semifinals Recap: The Maks Factor! Happy With the Final Four?
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Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With the Stars 2013 Semifinals Recap: The Maks Factor! Happy With the Final Four?

Every time the Dancing With the Stars Season 17 judges talked to Bill Engvall this week, it sounded like a eulogy.

They — including dapper guest judge Maksim Chmerkovskiy — gushed over Bill, saying things like "I thank you for bringing the joy back to the ballroom,” then gave him low scores. Maybe they figured he’d definitely be leaving, so why not give him a gentle passing. Or maybe they figured it wouldn’t matter what they said or scored, so why make themselves a target for his loyal fans.

Being in the “bottom two” with Bill & Emma Slater is the kiss of death. They survived again — and this week they did improve (slightly) from last week, so it’s no complaint to see them find their way into the Finals. Their Freestyle should be fun.

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani are now gone. Props to Leah for improving so much from Week 1. She really put in the work, but Bill put in the charm. Charm might just win it all this season.

So here's the final four: Amber Riley, Corbin Bleu, Jack Osbourne and Bill.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next Monday (November 25) in the Week 11 Finals, since a couple will be eliminated that night, then we’ll have the final three battle for the Mirror Ball trophy on Tuesday. It’s very possible that the scores will be so close next week that the fans will decide the winner on their own.

It could easily be Bill or Jack who wins, instead of the Amber vs. Corbin match-up everyone predicted on Week 1.

What did you think of Maks as guest judge? Cher loved everything, but Maks was closer to the Julianne Hough zone — they both brought out their personal connections to the dancers. Who handled the positive comments/constructive criticism balance better: Maks or Jules? Jules may have shared more specific dance suggestions, but Maks did a better job of interacting with the other judges. It was fun to see Bruno Tonioli touch him as often as possible and it was ironic how often Carrie Ann Inaba and Maks not only agreed, but framed their comments in the same way. The line between love and hate…speaking of that, remember when Maks said he’d never speak to Karina again, after their split? That time is long gone. Now he is praising her and she’s sharing kisses. Very cute.

But you know some Amber & Derek fans will cry “bias” or “jealousy” because Maks only gave them a 9 for that Jazz routine instead of giving them a perfect score. Do you think Maks was right about that handsy Jazz routine? It’s not like he hated it; maybe he just thought it spent too long at the table?

Are you surprised by the final four? Happy with this group?

Dancing With the Stars 2013 Semifinals Recap: The Maks Factor! Happy With the Final Four?
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Here’s a quick rundown of where the couples stood on Week 10:

Amber & Derek: 39 + 40 = 79

Corbin & Karina: 35 + 40 = 75

Jack & Cheryl: 33 + 38 = 71

Leah & Tony: 32 + 33 = 65

Bill E. & Emma: 28 + 32 = 60

Read on for a full recap of the Week 10 action:


“When Love Takes Over.” Sexy masquerade ball. They do such a great job with these numbers. Love Maks with his bow tie, sitting between Bruno and Len. Clean-shaven vs. scruffy Maks? Maks is always dreamy, but … Team Scruff.


1. Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani — Paso Doble — Both dances are to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” She’s hoping that she knocks it out of the park, ‘cause this could be the end. Tom Bergeron talked to Maks in the judges’ panel and he said he wants to make sure he’s not a hypocrite. Not sure about Leah and Tony’s “sexy face” but they do look intense. Tony looks almost demonic. She’s given a lot of content and does pretty well.

JUDGES: Len Goodman said the dance was neat and precise, which was lovely. He’d like a bit more shaping through the body but he thought it was a little bit careful. She needed more attack. Bruno Tonioli wanted more of the gritty girl. Maks grabbed Buno’s hand to calm him. Bruno said Leah missed two turns, she has to be sure to get it right. Carrie Ann said Leah definitely brought the drama but maybe it was a bit too internalized. She was off her center a bit in her turns, but she tripped on her dress. This was a rough road for her. Maks said he can’t believe this is happening. Maks liked it, he thought it was great. It was basic, it needed rhythm and shape an she had both. SHe has one of the best technicians in the business in Tony (his BFF). Stepping on the skirt wasn’t a technical mistake so he’ll overlook it. He would like it to be a little more emotional, though, since tonight they have two of the most emotional dances. Even Maks pointed out all the crazy faces Tony makes!

SCORES: 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32 out of 40. Leah looks upset. Is her skin thick enough for this show?

Vote for Leah & Tony: 1-800-868-3411

2. Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff — Tango — Corbin is nervous, since even Elizabeth and Val went home after a perfect score. They need to do a dance that’s entertaining and will hopefully get them votes. Karina and Maks were engaged, but that’s not really relevant to his scores, right? Dark vampire-like dance to Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.” What did Corbin spray? How can the judges even see anything with all the lights and pyrotechnics. Intense!

JUDGES: Bruno said fire and brimstone, the dark knight rises with the power of an exploding volcano. He has so much drive and passion it was almost untamable. As much as he loved it, he lost his frame at times. It was brilliant but it needed something. Carrie Ann said it was hot and she’d like to see it again. She’s never seen a Tango danced with that much fury. He delivered beautifully. Maks said it was amazing. A performance on DWTS is a little different from competitions, so forget the frame. There was so much content it was like two routines worth. He liked the fairy dust (ashes) so he can overlook that his butt was hanging out. “I have a similar issue.” Own it, fellas! Len said this isn’t Manic Monday. “It was too full on.” Don’t you want Tango to be full on? Len said it’s calmness, then attack, then calm. There was no light and shade. His frame was too wide. As a Tango it wasn’t his cup of tea. Imagine.

SCORES: 9, 8, 9, 9 = 35 out of 40.

Vote for Corbin & Karina: 1-800-868-3406

3. Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke — Jazz — They’re taking off from some of Cher’s comments. Hooker routine! Jack has been having health issues this week, losing some vision, related to MS. They’re taking a different approach to rehearsals, breaking up training. Cheryl is being very sweet and supportive; she’s usually so tough but you can tell she really cares about him. They dance to The Police’s “Roxanne.” Not a bad routine, but the focus seems to be on Roxanne herself, aka Cheryl. She’s stealing it away from him, performance and dance-wise. Why is Sharon always crying from the audience? It would be more meaningful if she didn’t cry every week. Kelly also stands up to cheer for him.

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said every once in a while the pro nails it too and Cheryl killed that. (Yes.) Carrie Ann said this is very outside Jack’s comfort zone and she could feel it. He didn’t have the weight placement of a Jazz routine. She loved how he went out in the runs for it, though. Maks said Jack is very deceiving; he seems like he’ll have issues and then he just blasts out. He loved it. Len said this lacked some finesse and not a lot of dance quality, but what he did he did well. He really went for it. Bruno said it’s so hard to keep up with a hottie. “I’m a bit hot and bothered myself.” Maks covered his face. Love them sitting next to each other. Even the judges noticed how Cheryl was basically the star.

SCORES: 8, 8, 9, 8 = 33 out of 40. Did that really deserve a 9, or was Maks just honoring how Jack pushed through his MS this week?

Vote for Jack & Cheryl: 1-800-868-3402

4. Bill Engvall and Emma Slater — Cha-Cha-Cha — He wants to move forward in the finals with Emma but he wants that because of great dancing, not like last week. He got an injury this week too! He lifted her up and did something to his groin. On Sunday during camera blocking, it flared up again. OK, so it’s all injuries and health stuff this week. Hunger Games! They have a fitness theme routine to LMFAO’s "Sexy and I Know It." Emma’s outfit is something else! This dance actually might have more content than what he did last week. He’s not great, but he’s still fun.

JUDGES: Maks said Bill is a lot of people’s inspiration. He doesn’t believe in talent, he believes in hard work. There were a lot of holes and issues in the Cha-Cha but don’t worry, keep doing what you’re doing. A lot of people are looking up to him to even attempt this. Len congratulated Emma for the whole season. Bill isn’t always the judges’ champion but he’s the people’s champion. Bruno did a whole let’s get physical thing. Bill brings pleasure, laughs and pure enjoyment. Carrie Ann said she’s taking points off everywhere, but it’s with a smile. She thanked him for bringing the joy back to the ballroom.

SCORES: 7, 7, 7, 7 = 28 out 40

Vote for Bill E. & Emma: 1-800-868-3409

5. Amber Riley and Derek Hough — Jazz — Last week they took a step down because of Amber’s knees. She went to the doctor to make sure everything was OK. There’s no permanent damage so she’s ready to redeem herself. She has the eye of the tiger now. Derek has been able to do intricate choreography that isn’t too tough on her knees. He sees a difference in Amber this week. She’s on fire and her knees feel better than they did two weeks ago. Painkillers? She could barely even walk last week. They do this whole thing at a table with synchronized movements to Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out of Heaven.” Nice moves in sync (although not always toward the end). Maybe it’s the long time at the table, but it didn’t really have a lot of oomph and energy. Knee thing?

JUDGES: Len pointed at Amber and said “Do it again.” Bruno said she’s just incredible. That was totally fierce and constantly surprising. The sync was out of this world. Her versatility is astonishing. Carrie Ann said she’s in a class of her own. If Einstein could dance it would be like her? It was that intricate and it felt like a mathematical equation that went on, and she solved it. Maks agreed; if Bob Fosse lived now he would be proud. It looks like it comes easy to Amber. Great job.

SCORES: 10, 10, 9, 10 = 39 out of 40. Is Maks going to take heat from the Derek fans? Team Maks on this call.

Vote for Amber & Derek: 1-800-868-3407


1. Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani — Argentine Tango — We hear about Leah’s life story, her tough times as an actress when Living Dolls was canceled to her success with The King of Queens, etc. Her buddy Chelsea Handler spoke for her. Love the acoustic version of the song.

JUDGES: Len said he liked it fine, he didn’t see any glaring blunders. She’s an actress, eac dance has a character and he never felt like she quite embraced teh dance fully. The audience booed him into silence! Bruno said nice instrument she’s got there, she should playi t more often. H liked the intimate side. He touches Maks again. There are many ways of playing the AT and they played it in a very intimate way. There were some very good lines. Her footwork wasn’t perfect. Leah admitted it wasn’t her best. Bruno said it was very pretty. Carrie Ann said it comes to pure love. She relates to her. They haven’t spoken enough about how far she’s come. She worked her way up. She needs to have more confidence. She stops her movements short and that makes them feel small. She wants Leah to let it all out, balls to the wall, if she’s in the Finals. Maks said she’s a real woman and she brings what the competition needs. He sees her in the Finals but she needs her to go in the next gear. The Leah he met needs to come out.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8 9 = 33 out of 40. Total of 65. Maks said his 8 was different from Carrie Ann’s. She ran over and hugged him around the neck. “We agreed!”

Vote for Leah & Tony: 1-800-868-3411

2. Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff — Rumba — We also hear about Corbin’s upbringing. Corbin wanted to be a pediatrician and he got accepted into Stanford, but it was at the same time that he booked High School Musical. He was at a crossroads. Kerli performs for the acoustic version. Very sexy, but still dark story. Shirtless Corbin! He’s definitely the star of this routine. He has previous dance training, and he always puts it to work.

JUDGES: Bruno said from hell into heaven. The quality of movement was incredible. It was like a series of stunning sculptures in perpetual motion. He is a virtuoso performer. Carrie Ann said his body is a wonderland. The way he moves it is amazing. Taking his shirt off shows every undulation. He transported her to another world and she’s so glad she went on the journey. Maks judges a little different. Corbin’s body is not a wonderland to him. He has a huge advantage in this competition in that he’s dancing with one of the top five dancers of all time. Aww! Dump Kate Upton and get back together with Karina! He’s a purist, he loves traditional ballroom. Karina went to give Maks a kiss! Why did the cameras run away? Len said he loves when you get light and shade, quiet and then loud. His technique was great. “That was a great Rumba.”

SCORES: 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40 out of 40. YAY! Finally.

Vote for Corbin & Karina: 1-800-868-3406

3. Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke — Argentine Tango — We watch Jack when he moved from London to L.A. and they did The Osbournes. He and Kelly both numbed themselves to fit in. Jack drank too much and got depressed. Sharon said she went into Jack’s room one night and his breathing was really shallow. It terrified her. At 17 he went into rehab. Not to be cynical, but where were his parents before that point? How did both kids get to such dark points so young? They do the Moulin Rouge version of Roxanne. Isn’t AT Cheryl’s favorite dance? This is much better for him than his previous dance. Wow! That was great. Enough with Sharon, though. Please.

JUDGES: Carrie Ann said he’s such an inspiration for so many people. He was so in the zone in his dance. His hold is incredible. The intensity of the dance was incredible, he’s so proud. Maks said he has a best friend who’s going through what he’s going through. That won’t get him into the finals but dancing like this will. Carrie Ann and Maks went for the same style. Maks did not want to hear that. It was a classic Cheryl routine. Len said “Jack is back.” He comes out and sells the dance, which is great for someone who isn’t an actor. There were a few little things, but there was so much drama and drive. Bruno said the transformation is unbelievable. Light on his feet, making great shapes. To dance with Cheryl at that level is a great achievement. “I want to kiss you.”

SCORES: 10, 9, 9, 10 = 38 out of 40. Total 71.

Vote for Jack & Cheryl: 1-800-868-3402

4. Bill Engvall and Emma Slater — Argentine Tango — Bill discovered women and beer in college after a normal childhood. His wife thought he was an idiot at first, but he was fun and grew on her. He wanted to be a singer at first. He started drinking a lot while Gail was at home with the babies. Gail supported him through it all. He’s a success but he stayed true to himself. Larry the Cable Guy thought he’d be out the first week. His wife is so great. Emma is amazing out there. She owns this dance. Bill stops being goofy for once, and it’s good. But it’s tough for Bill to do another AT right after Jack’s, which was stronger. Lots of sexy lifts, but mostly sexy just for Emma.

JUDGES: Maks said the musical interpretation was amazing but the physical was just as great. He loves Bill. He has to give credit to Emma, it’s a hard job. Bill didn’t break character or mess up anything. Len said Bill may not have the skill to win but he’s got the will to win. He’s full of heart. It’s different to have a 24-year-old guy to dance with. Emma has nurtured Bill so well. Bruno said they set the mood, Bill played it straight and well and added more content. Everything AT should be was there. Carrie Ann said for the first time he didn’t joke around, he went straight into the game and didn’t miss a beat.

SCORES: 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32 out of 40. Total 60. They raved about the dance then gave it 8s. What did they want to see? There was no constructive criticism. Do they just figure he's score-proof, so who cares what he gets?

Vote for Bill E. & Emma: 1-800-868-3409

5. Amber Riley and Derek Hough — Viennese Waltz — Amber said casting directors have said awful things to her. She’s a little too dark, her hair is a little too kinky, she should lose a little weight. She fell apart when she didn’t make it on American Idol. Didn’t we already hear most of these stories in Most Memorable Year Week? We see how she got onto Glee and her castmates say sweet things about her. Love this Kerli interpretation of Bruno’s song. Smoke machine is back, flooding the ballroom. Haunting!

JUDGES: Len said there was smoke on the floor but fire in the performance. He loved it. Not too much out of hold, “that was a terrific performance.” Bruno said she danced like an angel. Lovely. Carrie Ann said she is so special. It’s the way she interprets the movements. Amber brought her to tears in the way they interpreted the music. (The music alone could bring her to tears!) Maks has been agreeing with Carrie Ann. Amber has a guy who knows how to win. She’s in amazing hands. She has the best partner for the win. All she has to do is exactly that however many times next week. “You're amazing.”

SCORES: 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40 out of 40. Total 79.


Dancing With the Stars 2013 Semifinals Recap: The Maks Factor! Happy With the Final Four?
Credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com    


Who is safe for the Finals? Corbin & Karina, Amber & Derek, Jack & Cheryl

Not necessarily the bottom two: Bill & Emma, Leah & Tony

Who is going home on Week 10? Leah & Tony. Bill & Emma are the kiss of death. You never want to stand next to them! Bill and Emma are so happy! They cry.

Leah takes away so much. She thanked Tony and the crew. “This has been an amazing experience.” Tony has been on the show for 16 seasons and he’s never looked forward to practice as much as his time with Leah. Aww.

How do you feel about this elimination? Fair? Shocking? Who got your votes this week, and why?

VOTE! Don’t forget to also vote for your favorite couple at www.ABC.com or http://apps.facebook.com/votedwts.