It’s hard to believe there’s only two more weeks of season 24 of Dancing With the Stars!
The remaining four couples are dancing in the semi-finals during week nine of the competition, and the three pairs that are safe will advance to the finals, one step closer to nabbing that coveted mirror ball trophy.
Now, ET’s breaking down everything you need to know ahead of Monday night’s show, airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC!
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Who has the most points from last week?*
1. Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy: 79/80
2. Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater: 75/80
3. Simone Biles & Sasha Farber: 72/80
4. David Ross & Lindsay Arnold: 65/80
(*Combined scores from partner routine and trio dance)
How many dances will each pair perform?
Two! This week, each duo will perform a full piece in a dance style they have not yet showcased in the ballroom. Additionally, they also have a Judges’ Challenge dance, in which a judge has assigned them a specific task they must execute.
Who’s paired with who for the Judges’ Challenge?
Simone & Sasha: Carrie Ann Inaba
Jive, “Faith” by Stevie Wonder featuring Ariana Grande
Rashad & Emma: Bruno Tonioli
Rumba, “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur
Normani & Val: Len Goodman
Viennese Waltz, “Desperado” by Rihanna
David & Lindsay: Julianne Hough
Foxtrot, “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Michael Bublé
Rashad is working on his footwork, and hopes to impress the judges.
During last week’s show, judge Len Goodman told the NFL pro that while his performance factor is unquestionable, he does have to improve on his footwork. Rashad being Rashad, he hasn’t taken that critique lightly! When ET’s Cameron Mathison crashed one of his early morning training sessions in Los Angeles last Friday, he said he’s been trying to nail down the tricky technique.
“So, in the nature of football, we bend our feet completely different than you do in the ballroom. Completely different, night and day,” he explained. “So, that is second nature for me to point my toe up versus point my toe down. And I wear a size 14 [shoe], I got these large hands, so I really have to think about being fluid and each of those phalanges. That’s something that is difficult for me, but I’m trying my hardest and hopefully will be able to do it right this week.”
Rashad also told ET that he was ecstatic to find out he and Emma were paired with Bruno for the Judges’ Challenge.
“Bruno came in the [rehearsal] room excited as Bruno always is,” the 32-year-old athlete revealed. “I love his energy and he was telling me about my feet, how to point them. He gave me some key pointers about how you want to feel like you’re pulling them through the sand and you want to feel like you’re floating through water. Especially because I have the rumba this week, he wants to see the fluidity between my hands and telling the story with my feet, sliding gracefully across the ground. Because he came in and gave some pointers, I really gotta hit it this week.”
Rashad and Emma have consistently received high scores throughout the season, but now that it’s down to the semi-finals, they know it’s going to take a lot of work to beat out Normani & Val, who have been sitting on the top of that leaderboard for a few weeks now.
“Normani is absolutely magnificent,” he marveled. “She has not missed one step the whole entire show. She can do anything and her [personality] — everything about her is amazing. It truly is.”
Simone is letting loose — just for Carrie Ann!
In case you missed it last week, the Olympic gymnast epically responded to Carrie’s harsh feedback about her performance abilities, saying, “Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.”
Throughout the season, the judges have slammed Simone for putting on a façade and not showcasing her true character and real emotions. ET obtained exclusive footage of what happened when Carrie stopped by a #TeamGoldenGiggles rehearsal, and we’re happy to report that the two have put that tense moment aside.
“Let’s just clear the air, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I loved your comment back to us,” Carrie told Simone, who has yet to receive a perfect score. “Just so you know, I want you to know that. That didn’t bother me at all, in fact, I loved it, because it was very honest of you. I could see you were frustrated, and it hurt, and you were a little mad, and you put up a little wall and you told us what you thought.”
“I liked it!” Carrie continued. “Because I know you’re strong. I know you’ve got emotions. And that’s what I want to tap into.”
ET also spoke to Simone backstage at DWTS last week, where she revealed she was feeling a bit defeated. “I don’t know what more I can do,” she admitted.
Just do YOU, girl!
How did each contestant react when they found out they were going to the semi-finals?
ET recently caught up with each of the four remaining pairs, where they shared how they’re feeling ahead of week nine of the competition.
“I’m ready, man, I’m ready,” said Rashad. “I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m ready for it. I can’t believe I’m still here but since I’m here, we’re going to push it to the limit.”
“Week one, if you would have told me that I would be seeing week nine, I wouldn’t have believed you at all. No way. No how,” he added. “I’ve never ballroom danced. I never properly danced ever in my life and this is the first time I’m getting a taste of it, so every single week, no matter what it looks like on TV, trust me, I’m nervous.”
According to Sasha, brace yourself for a stunning performance from Simone this week!
“We’re going to have a slow, beautiful dance coming up, and it’s going to be very soft and elegant,” he teased. “I can’t wait for Simone to give this one a go.”
That being said, Normani and Val are really going to have to bring their A-game.
“We’ve been the frontrunners from the beginning and I treat every week like the finals,” explained Val. “I treat every week like a freestyle. I want every number to be something she’s proud of for the rest of her life, and we’ll continue to do that this week.”
As for David? The former MLB star, who became a World Series champion with the Chicago Cubs last November, is just happy to have made it this far!
“I can’t even believe what’s going on in my life right now,” he gushed. “There are so many great things … I mean, it’s just overwhelming, and, actually, I was part of the World Series every one forgot about, right?”
“Ah, man. Amazing things,” David added. “I’m so blessed right now.”
What other songs and styles will the pairs be performing to?
Simone & Sasha
Rumba, “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato
Rashad & Emma
Quickstep, “Yes I Can” by Superhumans
Normani & Val
Jazz, “What a Wonderful World” by Ray Chew Live
David & Lindsay
Tango, “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran
Social media teases.
Below, see more of the best moments the stars have shared over Twitter and Instagram as they gear up to take the stage to perform again on Monday:
Which trio are YOU most excited to see hit the ballroom this week? Which three pairs do you think will advance to the finals? Let me know on Twitter (@desireemurphy_ ) or in the comments section on our official Facebook page! And be sure to follow all of our DWTS coverage all season long, right here on ETonline.com.
WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: ‘DWTS’ Judge Bruno Tonioli Breaks Down What Each Remaining Dancer Needs to Do to Win the Mirror Ball!