‘DWTS: All-Stars’: Semifinals Stun as Two Champs Go Home

Dancing with the Stars: All Stars - Cheryl Burke, Emmitt Smith (ABC)

Semifinal week on “Dancing with the Stars” was coming to an end with a double elimination that would cut the All-Stars cast down to the final three. While I was sure Shawn Johnson would coast to next week’s finale, I had no idea who the other two stars would be with everyone so evenly matched. I was looking forward to a night of surprises.

Before the show even started, there was a sweet scene in the audience as some guy proposed to his girlfriend with host Tom Bergeron taking a picture of the happy “DWTS” fan couple and Brooke Burke-Charvet offering congratulations. The first DWTS engagement? Would Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy be next, this time on camera? Ha. Just a joke after their steamy moves last night!

Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff performed the encore dance and then we saw Shawn and partner Derek Hough’s behind- the-scenes footage from Monday. The judges were shouting that they loved the pair’s first routine and for their second dance, heartthrob Derek asked a crowd of girls in the audience to scream really loud for them. Quickly, no suspense here, Shawn and Derek were told they were going to the finals! Smiles and hugs all around for the ex-gymnast and “DWTS” pro Golden Boy.

In a rare flub for him, Tom got all giggly before throwing it backstage to Brooke, who was mingling with the rest of the celebrities nervously waiting for their verdicts.

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Apolo and Karina were shown agonizing on Monday night when the speed skater slipped during their first dance, a circus themed performance. After their cute Caveman routine, Melissa and Tony were exulting and they performed their second dance as though it was their last. I was hoping it wasn’t as I watched the couple cry backstage in footage from Monday.

So it was Melissa vs. Apolo for elimination and one would be sent packing right then and there. The star going home was…Apolo. Which meant Melissa would be going to the finale. Apolo said the competition was hard from the beginning and the show was amazing far beyond the mirror ball — “It forces you to be confident,” the athlete said with devoted partner Karina by his side.

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Next, pop icon Paula Abdul was performing a medley of her greatest hits. It started with Paula writhing on a bed to “Forever Your Girl” and then she was surrounded by dancing boys. There was some cool animation behind her and Skat Kat from her old “Opposites Attract” video made his appearance, as expected. She cavorted to “Straight Up” in a hot pink dress and Maks Chmerkovskiy made a fun cameo shot with the singer kicking him off the screen. Very entertaining!

Derek then performed live in an exhibition number that Tom promised would be jaw-dropping. Shirtless Derek partnered with four different dancers in a modern number that looked more like “So You Think You Can Dance” than “DWTS.” It looked like Kelly’s “surfer flamenco” pool from last night came in handy, as Derek ended the dance by splashing in the water with the gals accompanied by some cool slow motion special effects.

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So we were down to the final two couples who would learn their fate — Kelly and Val and Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke. Kelly revealed backstage she never spray-tanned during her run on “DWTS” — shocking! If Kelly made it to the finals, she would turn herself brown, she warned Val. Meanwhile, Emmitt couldn’t remember what dance he was performing on Monday night, backstage footage revealed.

Drum roll, please! The final results were revealed and the star going home would be Emmitt Smith! Sadness for the football great and Cheryl and a stunner for me as Emmitt was the last man standing in the competition. Didn’t see that coming!

Tune in to the “DWTS: All-Stars” season finale next week as Shawn, Melissa and Kelly will duel for the special All-Stars mirror ball trophy in the first ever all-female finale on “DWTS”!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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