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“Dancing with the Stars”: Semifinals Brings Tears, a Dance Len Goodman Would've Loved and 1 Shocking Twist

Jason Mraz, Alyson Hannigan, Ariana Madix, Xochitl Gomez, and Charity Lawson were all vying for a spot in the finale as they performed two dances on Tuesday night

<p>Disney/Eric McCandless</p> The semi-finalists on

Disney/Eric McCandless

The semi-finalists on 'Dancing with the Stars'

The race to the Mirrorball Trophy became even more intense on Tuesday's Dancing with the Stars!

Following last week's celebratory Taylor Swift night, the stars headed into the semifinals on Tuesday night. Competing for a place in the finals was singer Jason Mraz, actress Alyson Hannigan, Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix, Marvel actress Xochitl Gomez, and Bachelorette star Charity Lawson.

After introducing the celebrities and their pro partners, co-hosts Julianne Hough and Alfonso Ribeiro announced that the couples would be taking on two dances for the evening: one Latin style and one ballroom style.

Then, the semifinals kicked off!

Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov

After two strong performances last week, Ariana was thrilled to make it into the semifinals. "I didn't get any critiques from the judges so I'm feeling amazing," she told cameras.

In rehearsals, Ariana admitted "there's no way to prepare for" the injuries, mental toughness and other challenges that the competition has brought her way. Still, though, the Vanderpump Rules star said, "I really love being able to come into my own as someone who does love to perform."

For this week's dance, Ariana vowed to perform a jive that "makes an impact... no matter what it takes, I'm gonna give it all I've got."

After dancing the jive to "Runaway Baby" by Bruno Mars, judge Derek Hough commended Ariana for "running towards that finale with that dance." He praised her "proper jive" technique and called the routine a "fantastic way to start the night."

Bruno Tonioli was on his feet as he said the routine was a "jewel" that he "loved," while Carrie Ann Inaba told the reality star she has "everything you need to win this competition."

Speaking to Julianne in the skybox afterwards, Ariana said her time on DWTS "has been so incredibly transformative," both physically and mentally, and she was "so fortunate to have gotten this far. I'm really lucky."

Score: 28/30

Related: DWTS: Jason Mraz Gets His 'Swagger Back' on Taylor Swift Night and Another Pair Shows 'Tangible' Chemistry

Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach

Coming off a week in which he topped the leaderboard and got a perfect score, Jason said felt "incredible" and "rejuvenated." He added, "I'm gonna take that momentum with me into the semifinals."

With a Viennese waltz to his song "I Won't Give Up" this week, Jason said he was excited to perform this week to the fitting tune, which he wrote after a breakup when he "felt worthless."

"I wrote that song to indicate I won't give up on myself moving forward," he explained, before finding its relevance to his place on DWTS. "It could not be a more perfect song... a few weeks ago, I wanted to throw in the towel, I'm so glad I didn't."

As rehearsals carried on, Jason admitted he was struggling with the spins required in the Viennese waltz, but even so, he vowed to deliver a "flawless performance that people will remember for a long time."

After the routine, Bruno commended his "proper, correct" dance and told the singer, "You really dance like a gentleman." He also requested that Jason provide "a little bit more drive" next time.

Carrie Ann said it was "very refined" but urged Jason to show "emotional freedom" because he appears "guarded" when he dances. Derek, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude to Jason for writing that song before calling their Waltz "so beautiful and so full of content ... [and] very elegant."

Score: 27/30

Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy

Xochitl told cameras that getting into the semifinals "isn't something I thought would happen, but I'm here, and I'm so happy." She also reflected on her youth, where she used to "fake it till I make it," and said she hopes to find roles that require dance moving forward.

This week, Xochitl and Val were assigned a Samba to "Samba” by Gloria Estefan. The Marvel actress set her sights on receiving a perfect score, telling cameras, "I am determined to make this performance flawless."

She certainly followed through, with the judges raving about their Latin dance afterwards. Carrie Ann called the routine "spectacular" and noted that "the content was off the charts." She also praised Val's choreography, saying it showed off "all the strengths of Xochitl."

Derek said he "loved it" and was blown away by the content of the routine. "The quality of movement, you can see the details you put into that routine... that was jam-packed!" he said.

Bruno was on his feet and said he's "still partying" after their routine. "She is the Samba diva!" he added. "Nothing left out, always, always delivered, like a star!"

Score: 30/30

Related: DWTS: Whitney Houston Night Delivers the First Perfect Score of the Season — and a Shirt-Ripping Salsa!

Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev

Charity was on cloud nine after Taylor Swift night. "Last week was incredible ... and getting two 10's was [chef's kiss]," she told cameras. "Seeing how much strength and resilience I have has been the highlight for me."

She and Artem were assigned a Rumba to "Love The Way You Lie Part III" by Skylar Grey — but Artem was particularly focused on getting Charity to "emote" while she dances in rehearsals.

"This is a moment for me to really step up my performance," she said before taking the dance floor. "At this stage in the competition... I have to perform from my heart."

Following their routine, Derek commended Charity for making it "look effortless," but said it was "still lacking a little bit of emotion."

Bruno disputed his fellow judge's comments, and told Charity, "I really felt the part... you were emoting, you were connecting, you were really feeling the dance."

Carrie Ann concluded their comments by saying Charity "had the breakthrough" she was looking for and said the "beauty of that dance was artistry."

Speaking to Julianne in the skybox, Charity addressed her breakthrough moment, saying: "I knew it was about connecting and emotions and I knew I had a moment like that this season... I knew this week was really the week I had to do that, and I did that!"

"It means a lot to be acknowledged, and know [that] yes, my effort is there," she added.

Score: 29/30

Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber

Alyson admitted that she thought "for sure" she was going home after her scores "dipped" down on Taylor Swift night, and said she was thrilled to make it to the semifinals. "Being the underdog, I am so proud to be here and I do want to prove to all the other underdogs that you can do it," she said

Taking Carrie Ann's feedback from last week into consideration, Sasha was determined to add more content into their Jive to "Footloose” by Kenny Loggins. Alyson took that challenge in stride.

"I am going to do everything I can to pull off a perfect performance because I'm rooting for the underdog too," she said.

After their dance, Bruno said he loved the routine but pointed out a few missteps that Alyson made. "You've improved so much from week one, it's unbelievable, but there were a couple of errors," he noted.

Carrie Ann said she appreciated Sasha for adding the choreography and praised Alyson for the way she was "killing the dance." She also pointed out how Alyson fearlessly encourages everyone to dance, whether or not they think they can do it successfully.

Derek concluded their comments by calling Alyson an "absolute fighter" who is "fighting to be in that finale." He added, "I just can't help but root for you."

Score: 25/30

Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach

With one dance standing in the way of him making it into the finale — a Paso Doble to "Diablo Rojo" by Rodrigo y Gabriela — Jason was determined to make an impact and show that he's "more talented than my fears."

"The pressure is on and I've gotta deliver something amazing," he told cameras.

In rehearsals, Daniella pushed Jason to master what he called "the hardest dance I've ever had to learn." He wasn't phased by the intensity of the dance, telling cameras, "This is our time to put it all out there and focus on the performance because this time, I know I have the momentum and will to get us to the finale."

The judges couldn't be more thrilled after the dance concluded. Carrie Ann said she was "looking for magic" and said "that dance was magic."

Derek raved about the "proper" routine and called Jason "fierce." He added, "That's the way to make it into the finale!"

Bruno also had nothing but good things to say, calling Jason "diabolic" and joked he was a "man possessed by the devil" because it was so good.

Score: 30/30

Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy

Before their final dance of the evening, Xochitl reflected on how far she had come. "I never thought I'd be this good of a dancer, so getting in the finale is fabulous," she said. "Being a 17-year-old and doing this show, I've gained a lot of respect for dancers."

Taking on a Waltz to "La Vie en Rose" by Lady Gaga, Xochitl was determined to showcase a different side of her. "I'm really proud of this Waltz, it's really emotional for both of us," she told cameras.

Following their dance, Derek was moved to tears and spoke about the impact of winning this season because it's the first time someone will win the Mirrorball Trophy since it was renamed in late judge Len Goodman's honor. Through his tears, Derek said: "Len would've loved that dance, that was absolutely perfect."

Bruno called the dance "magnificent" and added "this girl is an artist."

Carrie Ann was also choked up and said Xochitl "touched my heart" with that routine and simply called their dance "stunning."

Score: 30/30

Related: 'Dancing with the Stars' Honors Late Judge Len Goodman During Season 32 Premiere

Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev

Heading into their final dance of the night, Charity and Artem set their focus on nailing the quickstep routine.

"This entire journey has been so life-changing," Charity told cameras, adding that she was looking forward to "carrying that momentum" into the finale.

Though she was determined, Charity admitted the quickstep was a grueling routine to nail and even asked Artem for tips on how to master breathing while smiling. "I'm this close and I'm going for it more than ever," she vowed.

After their dance to “BO$$” by Fifth Harmony, Bruno was brought to his feet, raving about the "sass and pzazz." He told her to "work it because you've got it!"

Carrie Ann said it was "filled with content, top to bottom," and commended her for "finishing strong" and never losing momentum throughout the routine.

Derek also gave them a standing ovation and cheer, telling Charity: "That was a difficult quickstep but you made it look easy and fun!"

Their efforts ultimately paid off as Charity and Artem earned their first-ever perfect score from the judges.

Score: 30/30

Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber

Celebrating how far she's come, Alyson admitted there were "many days" where she didn't know if she'd make it through.

"I just kept showing up and doing the work," she continued. "So it would mean the world to me to make it into the finale."

Recognizing that she needs to "work 10 times harder than the other dancers to prove I deserve a spot in the finale," Alyson added, "I really have to just do everything perfectly."

After dancing a Waltz to "Come Away with Me" by Norah Jones, Carrie Ann said she was "proud" of Alyson and commended her for "drawing us into every moment." She also pointed out a few missteps in her routine but noted, "It's because I care."

Derek called the routine Alyson's "best dance" and said she's a "perfect example of how to approach this show." This prompted Alyson to break down in happy tears.

Bruno also called the routine "so pretty" and said the dance had a "dream-like quality."

Through her tears, Alyson told Sasha afterwards: "If that's my last dance with you, I just love you so much and thank you."

Score: 26/30

Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov

For the final dance of the evening, Ariana was determined to deliver a "perfect" routine.

"I don't know if I thought I would ever make it to the semifinals so going into this week I'm feeling empowered and so excited," she said. "I don't plan on slowing down any time soon because we are one week away so I'm going to freaking fight... I need to prove my worth to be in the finale."

Assigned a foxtrot to "Trampoline" by SHAED & ZAYN, Pasha noted there was "no room for mistakes" as he pushed Ariana to reach her potential in rehearsals.

Ariana's "already-aching back" proved to be a challenge while rehearsing but, she vowed, "Pain hasn't stopped me before and it's certainly not going to stop me now."

She added, "My whole life, I've fought for everything I have. There is a place for me in that finale and I'm coming for it."

Following their dance, Derek commended them for the "smooth, silky, sensual and sensational" routine. "You have this control, this elegance, which was captivating from start to finish," he added.

Bruno was on his feet, telling Ariana: "You unleashed the fox from the foxtrot!" He called the dance "brilliant."

Carrie Ann celebrated Ariana being "back" and praised her for how she pushed through her back injury and "left it all here on the ballroom floor." She added, "A wonderful way to end the semifinals!"

Score: 30/30

Results

Heading into the results, Xochitl and Val topped the leaderboard with 60/60 for the evening. Charity and Artem followed with a 59/60, while Ariana and Pasha had a 58/60 and Jason and Daniella were close behind with a 57/60. At the bottom of the leaderboard was Alyson and Sasha with a 51/60.

Alyson and Sasha, Jason and Daniella, Charity and Artem claimed the first three spots. This left Xochitl and Val and Ariana and Pasha standing as the remaining two.

In a final surprise twist, Julianne and Alfonso revealed that both couples were safe and all five pairs would be competing in the finale, leaving the groups thrilled for one final week together.

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Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and Disney+.

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