Who made it to the Season 23 finals of ‘Dancing With The...

Who made it to the Season 23 finals of ‘Dancing With The Stars’?

Terrific Trio performances showing just how far the semifinalists have all come made it especially rough to send one couple home before next week's finals.

Laurie Hernandez and the Chmerkovskiy brothers brought a little slice of a dancer's life to their Samba. It charmed the judges for a perfect score. Photo: ABC

SAN DIEGO, November 14, 2016 – The competition on “Dancing With The Stars” in Season 23 is as close as the presidential election. Would there be a shocker from Monday’s semifinals?

Who came up short of the finals and went home tonight? Scroll down to the end of our recap if you’d like to find out.

Sharna Burgess was back just in time to dance a sultry Argentine Tango with partner James Hinchcliffe, made more difficult by a blindfold on Sharna, and the use of a chair made it extra treacherous. James can’t match Calvin for lift strength but he makes up for it with execution. No one can match James for precision with his feet, although Carrie Ann Inaba said she saw a bit of a wobble at the start. They scored 29 points.

Terra Jole and Sasha Farber drew the Rumba, one of the most difficult styles to get right. Judge Julianne Hough admitted she didn’t think Terra could do it, “but you prove me wrong.” The judges raved about the quality of Terra’s fluidity, hip action and the deep emotion between Terra and Sasha. “The quality of your movement is the quality of you, it’s untouchable” said Carrie Ann. They received a perfect score of 30 points.

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko danced a light and frothy Quickstep. Photo: ABC
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko danced a light and frothy Quickstep. Photo: ABC

Jana Kramer is one of many competitors over the years on “Dancing With The Stars” who came to the show to take her mind off problems in her real life. She surprised fans and herself getting to the semifinals. Her Quickstep with Gleb Savchenko looked like she didn’t have a care, frothy and carefree. It had a slightly shaky start but only got better up to the end. Judges rewarded with with 28 points.

Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold attacked their Tango and while it was impressive, Carrie Ann Inaba felt Calvin overpowered partner Lindsay Arnold. There was also an unfortunate slip-up visible to all. Calvin said he thought he got a step ahead of himself. It scored 26 points, not a good week to have a bad performance.

Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold had the right attitude and style but a misstep kept them from getting a perfect score for their Tango. Photo: ABC
Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold had the right attitude and style but a misstep kept them from getting a perfect score for their Tango. Photo: ABC

Laurie Hernandez had a difficult week with the death of her grandmother, who was interviewed for the show this week and passed away the next day. Feeling emotional over her loss, Laurie and Val Chmerkovskiy ended the individual dances with a Foxtrot. She delivered with precision and passion, “channeling it into something beautiful for all of us” said Julianne Hough. There literally wasn’t a dry eye in the ballroom, including host Tom Bergeron who called the performance “the most incredible display of courage in 23 seasons of Dancing With The Stars.” It rivaled the moment Bindi Irwin finished a routine dedicated to her father to look up and see a photo of him smiling down on her. It richly deserved its perfect score of 30 points.

After everyone got their emotions back under control, it was time for the second round of critical performances in the semifinals, the Trio Dances. The addition of another pro gives the competitors just the right jolt of energy and creativity when they need it most. These performances never disappoint, and they often soar.

It was all high octane in the winner's circle for James Hinchcliffe, Sharna Burgess, and Jenna Johnson in their Jive Trio. Photo: ABC
It was all high octane in the winner’s circle for James Hinchcliffe, Sharna Burgess, and Jenna Johnson in their Jive Trio. Photo: ABC

Leading off were James and Sharna with Jenna Johnson, dancing a Jive complete with his Indy car on the stage. It was as high octane as the fuel in the car’s tank. Having the advantage of dancing with Jenna the past two weeks helped the team dance perfectly in sync, which is especially visible in the Jive’s kicks and flicks. It scored a perfect 30 points.

Artem Chigvintsev joined Terra and Sasha for a fiery Tango. The two men could have overpowered Terra, but instead the routine was perfectly choreographed making the male pros the frame to Terra, and she commanded the center of attention every second. She relished her role as the boss of the boys, and the judges loved her for it. It scored a perfect score of 30 points.

Jana Kramer pushed herself to the limits in her Paso Doble trio with Gleb Savchenko and Alan Bersten. It paid off with a trip to the finals. Photo: ABC
Jana Kramer pushed herself to the limits in her Paso Doble trio with Gleb Savchenko and Alan Bersten. It paid off with a trip to the finals. Photo: ABC

Jana Kramer got her own chance dancing a Paso Doble with Gleb and Alan Bersten. The staging by the DWTS crew put the trio in silhouettes at the start and finish of the routine, and in between every move was sharp and determined. Another perfect score? Of course.

Lindsay Arnold and Witney Carson pushed Calvin Johnson to the limit in a power packed Salsa routine, scoring 30 points. Photo: ABC
Lindsay Arnold and Witney Carson pushed Calvin Johnson to the limit in a power packed Salsa routine, scoring 30 points. Photo: ABC

Calvin Johnson drew a Trio Salsa with Lindsay Arnold and Witney Carson, who have paired for Trios in several previous seasons. It was a high flying routine, taking advantage of Calvin’s strengths. It was a pure party and left everyone watching breathless including the judges. “This is what Dancing With the Stars is all about, inspiring people to get out and go dancing,” said judge Bruno Tonioli. They were rewarded with perfect score number four.

Quite a different mood for Laurie Hernandez in her Trio, dancing a happy Samba with the Chmerkovskiy brothers. The dance mirrored the brothers’ autobiographical stage show this past summer, with Maks playing the dance instructor to Laurie and Val. It was a bit of a risk putting the story up front, but Laurie is built to Samba and she has the style, rhythm, bounce and attitude down to perfection. It was the fifth perfect Trio score of the night.

Sasha Farber and Terra Jole turned out to be a perfect partnership, and they went out with two perfect scores in the semifinals. Photo: ABC
Sasha Farber and Terra Jole turned out to be a perfect partnership, and they went out with two perfect scores in the semifinals. Photo: ABC

After such a strong night, everyone braced for the bad news. Into the finals announced in order were Laurie and Val, James and Sharna, and Jana and Gleb, leaving Calvin and Lindsay and Terra and Jole risking elimination. It was Terra and Sasha going home, but with heads held high.

“Sasha has been extremely supportive throughout this entire process, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Sasha,” said Terra. Her career is a tribute to making the most of what you’ve got, and she’s made a mark on the show and a lot of new fans.

Senior judge Len Goodman will return for next week’s two night finals. Expect couples to perform a routine the judges want to see again, a 24 hour “instant dance,” and the dances fans wait for all season long, the Freestyle routines.

Semifinals Results:

Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot, 10-10-10 = 30 points
Trio: Samba with Maks Chmerkovskiy, 10-10-10 = 30 points
TOTAL SCORE: 60 points
1-800-868-3407

Terra Jole and Sasha Farber: Rumba, 10-10-10 = 30 points
Trio: Tango with Artem Chigvintsev, 10-10-10 = 30 points
TOTAL SCORE: 60 points ELIMINATED
1-800-868-3412

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: Argentine Tango, 9-10-10 = 29 points
Trio: Jive with Jenna Johnson, 10-10-10 = 30 points
TOTAL SCORE: 59 points
1-800-868-3404

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: Quickstep, 9-9-10 = 28 points
Trio: Paso Doble with Alan Bersten, 10-10-10 = 30 points
TOTAL SCORE: 58 points
1-800-868-3405

Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold: Tango, 8-9-9 = 26 points
Trio: Salsa with Witney Carson, 10-10-10 = 30 points
TOTAL SCORE: 56 points
1-800-868-3402

Voting information: For the finals, viewers may cast their votes via phone on Monday night during the show and up to one hour after the end of the DWTS broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at www.ABC.com and on Facebook at https://apps.facebook.com/votedwts/ is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and closing at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Tuesday evenings.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.

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