"DWTS" Week 9: The Semi-Finals

Well hey, this is fun: For the first time in a loooong time, there's not really a clear front-runner going into the final week of "Dancing with the Stars." Even the two eliminations announced during last night's semi-finals round were far from obvious—the top five couples were all on relatively equal footing after last week's performances. But there's nothing like an intense Trio Round to separate the "DWTS" finalists from the also-rans, amirite? And with every couple performing not just a routine featuring a third dancer, but also a full-on second routine, "intense" is definitely the right word for last night's craziness.

First, let's talk about Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas' trio samba with Alan Bersten. We were feeling the sultry jungle vibe of the routine—and so were the judges, who gave it a perfect 30/30. But we were also partial to this one because it featured Club Des Belugas' "Hip Hip Chin Chin," which meant we kept having delightful flashbacks to one of our all-time favorite "So You Think You Can Dance" numbers (DANNY TIDWELL 4EVERRR):

Also earning a perfect 30/30 was Wanyá Morris and Lindsay Arnold's passionate paso doble trio, with Arnold's bestie Witney Carson as guest star. In a way their stellar performance wasn't surprising, given the magic Arnold and Carson worked with Alfonso Ribeiro in that epic "Turn Down for What" paso trio two seasons ago:

Wanyá was straight-up on fire last night. His second routine, a charming Charleston, couldn't have been better suited to his personality, and earned him and Arnold yet another perfect score (plus infinite bonus points for the sequined bow tie):

The final members of last night's 30/30 club? Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd, whose romantic Argentine tango included a steamy blindfold sequence. Kudos to Murgatroyd for recognizing that Nyle tends to do best in these kinds of emotional, story-driven routines:

We all knew the elimination was coming, and we all knew it'd be a toughie. But while sending Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess home felt about right after their middle-of-the-pack performance last night, the Wayná-Lindsay shocker was extra painful in light of all those 10s. Saaaad faaaaaace.

Now, though, it's anybody's game! Who do you think will take home the mirror ball trophy? Let us know in the comments, and check back here next Tuesday for our recap of the grand finale.

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