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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Return of the Maks; Leah Remini exits

November 19, 2013|By Allyssa Lee
  • Can't hold on: Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani were the latest couple ousted from "Dancing With the Stars."
Can't hold on: Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani were the latest couple… (Adam Taylor / ABC )

It's like what's old is new again: The “Dancing With the Stars” Season 17 semifinals had each of the remaining five couples performing two dances to two versions of the same song.

It also marked the return of the Maks. Bad boy of the ballroom Maksim Chmerkovskiy came back buttoned up and in a bow tie, sat between Len Goodman and a thrilled Bruno Tonioli, and offered up his two cents as a guest judge and an unabashed supporter of the Pros.

Too bad Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Valentin Chmerkovskiy were voted off last week or we would have had the pleasure of witnessing another Brothers Chmerkovskiy interaction (though Maks adorably held up a 10 paddle after his little brother danced with Witney Carson after a commercial break).

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Actress Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani lost a bit of the ballroom love as they were the latest couple eliminated from the competition. God bless Tony for resolutely keeping that frown upside down despite his less-than-pleased partner. Even “after 16 seasons … I’ve never looked so forward to practices every single day,” the Albanian stallion said.

This, of course, meant fellow “in jeopardy” (but again, not necessarily in the bottom two) couple Bill Engvall and Emma Slater were going to the finals.

As were Amber Riley and Derek Hough, who regained the top spot this week. After getting the green light to dance with abandon from her doctor, the “Glee” actress was on a mission to redeem herself after a lackluster fortnight. And I’ve got to hand it to Derek in their Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” jazz number for coming up with clever steps that were heavy on the jazz hands but light on the knees. Len “Chuckles” Goodman simply pointed at Amber to “do it again.” Bruno said, “The sync was out of this world.” Carrie Ann said Amber reminded her of Einstein, and that the routine was so intricate it “felt like a mathematical equation,” she said. “And you solved it.” Maks said the routine was like a modern-day Bob Fosse number. And then he got his first boos for giving her a 9. 

Kevin McHale and Chris Colfer spoke out in support of their “Glee” costar during a biographical segment. “She makes me think I could do something I couldn’t,” “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy said. Amber, however, had her own best line, saying if you have a passion for something, “Your gift will make room for you eventually.” And her love of dancing has really let her shine. “There was smoke on the floor but there was fire in that performance,” Len said of her Viennese waltz. Carrie Ann said Amber was “so special” in the way she interprets “the music as well as the movement.” Maks pointed out that Amber has “a guy who knows how to win. … You’re in amazing hands.” Amber and Derek received a 39 for their jazz routine, and a perfect 40 for their Viennese waltz. Total: 79 out of 80.

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Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff played with fire in their tango, starting out in mysterious capes in front of a trash can fire and then consuming the ballroom in flames by the routine’s end. Bruno said Corbin came out with the “power of an exploding volcano … but you lost the frame at times.” “That was hot and I would like to see that again!” Carrie Ann said. “I’ve never seen a tango danced with so much fury!” Maks liked the content and the wisp of fairy dust, and “I can overlook the fact that your butt was sticking out a bit,” he said. Len, however, was not so impressed with the all-consuming passion. “It was too full on!” he complained. “It was good as a performance … but as a tango it wasn’t really my cup of tea.”

Thanks to his family, Debbie Allen and Kenny Ortega, we learned Corbin was accepted to Stanford and had a good head on his shoulders. Carrie Ann, however, only had eyes for his body during his sultry stripped-down rumba. “Your body is a wonderland,” she said. “I’m so glad you took your shirt off. … You transported me to another world.” “The quality of movement was unbelievable,” said Bruno. “It was like watching a series of stunning sculpture in perpetual motion … the storyline was flawless.” Len liked the light and shade. Maks said Corbin had a huge advantage having a partner in Karina, Maks’ former fiancée and one of the “top 5 female dancers of all time.” All together now: Aw. Corbin and Karina received a 35 for their tango, and a perfect 40 for their rumba. Total: 75.

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