Welcome back to Dancing with the Stars, where the spray tans are bronze, the sequins are silver and the stars are solid gold. It’s the show’s 300th episode and we can only assume that they are celebrating with glitter champagne and confetti cake. There are five stars in the semi-final round, with four moving on to battle it out for a chance to compete for the Mirror Ball Trophy in the finals.
The voters had their work cut out for them after the stars earned four perfect scores during the performance round — only a few points separated the top competitors. So who goes home? Maybe the guy who didn’t score a perfect 30? Sorry, Ingo Rademacher! While the soap opera star has vastly improved over the course of the competition, he’s not in the same league as, say, Zendaya. And lest you forget, Dancing with the Stars isn’t a popularity contest. If it was, Cloris Leachman would spend her evenings polishing her disco ball. That said, Zendaya’s fans may have been so traumatized by her low score that they had to go shop their tears away and spent the evening at Hot Topic instead of online voting. This is Dancing with the Stars, after all — and anything is possible.
Here’s what happened on Dancing with the Stars:
First Finalist: The second Tom Bergeron said the words “Your mama,” it was clear he was either making a poorly-timed joke — or that Baltimore Raven Jacoby Jones was safe. Sure enough, Jacoby is one step closer to putting the Mirror Ball trophy next to his Super Bowl champ one.
Best Mom: Jacoby’s mom made her own ’10’ paddle, so she could give her kid a perfect score every time. That’s not overzealous — that’s just zealous. Also, good parenting.
Repeat Performance: With four perfect dances to choose from, the judges opted to see Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough’s Argentine tango again. For good reason, too. The dance was mesmerizing and managed to simultaneously call to mind the opening sequence to a James Bond movie and a Boris and Natasha cartoon.
AT&T Spotlight Performance: Sophia Lucia started dancing when she was two, and now at the ripe old age of 10, she trains 40 hours a week. If you don’t already feel lazy and unfulfilled, she’s also already set a Guinness World Record for consecutive pirouettes, performing 55 spins in a row. Her favorite dancer in the world is DWTS pro Chelsey Hightower, so for the penultimate (ultimate?) spotlight dance of the season, the dancing prodigy gets a turn under the bright lights of the DWTS ballroom. There’s a lot of spinning involved. No word on whether Dramamine sponsored the segment.
Best Message: UK bad-boy boy band The Wanted stopped by the ballroom to perform “Fill A Heart,” a song by their sister-in-management-company Tori Kelly, who penned the number to draw attention to the nearly 17 million children facing food insecurity in the United States.
Best Tie-In: Immediately following The Wanted’s performance of “Fulfill A Heart” and their recitation of facts about child hunger, the show cut to an ad for Con Agra reciting the exact same facts using the exact same song. When it comes to fighting childhood hunger, some things are worth repeating.
Poppiest Interlude: Avril Lavigne stopped by to sing her new single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up.”
Least Surprising Finalists: Consistent high scoring frontrunners Kellie and Derek are going to the finals.
Most Surprising Jeopardy: When there are five semi-finalists and three “in jeopardy” spots, even perpetual leaderboard pole-sitters are at risk of going home. Still, it was surprising to hear that Disney star – and the first contestant to win a perfect score this season – Zendaya was in jeopardy. It’s surprising, even though there’s no way that she’s leaving and the producers are just toying with us.
Most Dramatic Performance: Two of the show’s newest pros – Sharna Burgess and Gleb Savchenko – showed their stuff with a dramatic performance set to a dramatic song on a stage set with dramatic curtains, which they appeared to have turned into costumes Sound of Music-style.
Least Surprising Jeopardy: Ingo.
Missed Opportunity: After Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman’s and Mark Ballas’ groundbreaking (and cultural stereotyping) Afro-jazz routine, judge Bruno Tonioli declared that if they didn’t make it to the finals, he would judge the final round in his Speedos. Sadly, Aly and Mark did make it to the finals and now Bruno will never get to live out his dream.
Bottom Two: It’s Ingo versus Zendaya in the bottom, which is such a ridiculous match up that the outcome is obvious. If the producers had paired Ingo up against Jacoby or Aly it would have been a slightly more suspenseful few minutes, but they didn’t. So now it’s the bottom scorer against the top scorer. And the results are self-evident.
Who Goes Home? Ingo, of course. He takes it all in stride with a big smile, too. Know why? Because he lives in Hawaii. So whatever lousy thing happens to him in Hollywood, he gets to go home to Hawaii.
Best Reason To Come Back Next Week: It’s the finals!