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'Dancing With the Stars' recap, Can Tommy Chong make it past the semifinals?

It's Week 10, the Semifinals. The contestants are billed as four aces and one wild card (and yes, it's Tommy Chong).

In the opening number, it looks like the female performers are wearing the same extremely red lipstick. Derek is wearing suspenders over a vest, which looks as stupid as it sounds.

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Contestants will be dancing two dances to "plugged" and "unplugged" versions of the same song. So that's two different dances, two different versions and one song.

Sadie Robertson & Mark Ballas will Quickstep to "Problem" by Ariana Grande. Sadie is still dealing with forgetting the end of her routine last week; rehearsal footage is full of teenage angst. It probably helps that most of this dance is in hold. She's smiling by the end of it.

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Len Goodman says the dance was so fast it could have gotten a speeding ticket, and teases the booers in the audience by saying he's a little disappointed ... there was nothing in the dance he didn't like. Dapper host Tom Bergeron says Len hates it when he's happy. Julianne Hough babbles about Sadie's infectious light and Bruno Tonioni compliments Mark for putting in plenty of content. Carrie Ann Inaba likes their work in hold.

Scores: Carrie Ann, 9; Len, 10; Julianne, 9; Bruno, 9. Apparently it paid off for Sadie to tweet a picture of Len holding a 10-paddle for #ManCrushMonday. Len gets all blushy.

Tommy Chong & Peta Murgatroyd are next, dancing to "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. Rehearsal footage starts with a replay of their surprise save from last week, even though Tommy had the lowest scores from the judges. Peta is wearing a black catsuit that is half lycra and half mesh, all the better for following the Waltrip Formula: man stands still, woman does all the flashy bits. They are, in fact, pushing the Waltrip Formula envelope by having Tommy in a chair for part of the dance.

There is no reason for Tommy to continue after tonight. He's always been fun to watch, even though 70 percent of his dancing success is Peta grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and dragging him through the routine; the other 30 percent is his sense of music, charisma as a performer and willingness to keep going. Lea Thompson, last week's surprise elimination, was a better dancer, but unlikely to make the finals; her dance skills, as well as the chemistry with her partner Ardem, fizzled out somewhere in the middle of the season.

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Tom points out we have Tommy Chong and Peta's thong, which describes her costume pretty well. Julianne says she has a crush on Tommy. Bruno calls Peta the human defibrillator. Carrie Ann says Peta made Tommy the MVP of the season, while Len says he couldn't have done the season Tommy's just done.

Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Julianne: 7, Bruno: 7. I think this dance was supposed to be the Argentine Tango.

Bethany Mota & Derek Hough dance the Samba to "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. Rehearsal footage is full of Derek angst: his creativity is blocked! The horror. Bethany has to do the cheerleading and the pep talking.

If one can ignore the suspenders-over-vest outfit, their routine is cute, with Derek finding Bethany on a park bench with Sasha, one of the pro dancers, and wooing her away. At the end, he and Derek accidentally kiss and finish trying to scrape the man-cooties off their mouths.

Bruno starts with "You little tease…" but is talking to Bethany. Carrie Ann says it was a solid Samba but a little disappointing, and tries to ward off the boos by saying it's because she's seen more to Bethany in past routines. Len calls it cotton candy, light and fluffy but a bit sticky. Julianne tells Derek to get out of his own head.

In the skybox, Derek talks about how the student becomes the master, rising to the occasion. The camera cuts to Emma, Mark, and Sasha, and their faces clearly say they're not buying what he's selling.

Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Julianne: 9, Bruno: 9.

Janel Parrish & Valentin Chmerkovskiy are dancing the Paso Doble to "Blame" by Calvin Harris. Val's brother Maks stops by during rehearsal; Val's feeling the years after being on the show for seven seasons. The song's hook is "don't blame it on me," which seems pretty weak and whiny for a Paso.

Carrie Ann says I wanted more! and so did I -- not that I wanted it to be longer, it was just Paso-by-the-numbers for me. Len says it was just enough of everything; Julianne says they danced as one. Bruno says they set the stage on fire.

Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Julianne: 10, Bruno: 10.

Google teased me this morning with rumors about Alfonso Ribeiro getting injured in rehearsal, but he & Witney Carson are here to dance to "Love Runs Out" by OneRepublic -- it's good for the Argentine Tango.

There might be a bit of Waltripping in this routine to spare Alfonso's back, but he's not exactly standing still. Tom asks him, "Is that the hurting smile?" and Alfonso says "Yeah."

Len tells Alfonso he can dance and pain is temporary and glory lasts forever. Also this is Sparta and tomorrow is Saint Crispian -- no, really, just the part about pain and glory. Julianne calls him a fighter and you can tell he's in pain and Alfonso gets teary. Bruno calls him Don Alfonso, Prince of Buenos Aires, and Carrie Ann says that, because of the injury, his posture was phenomenal, and he should go safe but go hard.

Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Julianne: 9, Bruno: 9.

When regular recapper Amy Watts asked me to cover this episode while she's out of town, she didn't say this would be the one with the sappy biography montages. Sadie's biography: she was a kid, and then there was Duck Dynasty.

Wikipedia tells me Sadie Robertson ranked 36th in Louisiana for javelin throwing, so Adam and Eve for the Famous Couples week was a lame choice compared to Jael and Sisera. True, Jael staked Sisera to the ground with a tent peg and mallet, not a javelin, but they're both pointy sticks. Or they could have been Herod and Salome, negotiating through dance for Len's head on a platter.

Sadie and Mark start round two dancing an Argentine Tango to an acoustic version of "Problem," sung by Noah Guthrie. Mark has put a guitar between himself and Sadie while they're in hold, so there's no full-body contact. At the end Sadie lays the guitar on the judges' table instead of channeling The Who and bashing it on the dance floor. Missed opportunity there.

Tom calls their dance the Guitargentine Tango. Len says they could have lost the guitar a little earlier, but tells Sadie she should be in the final. Julianne says Sadie is true and authentic. There's a shot of Sadie's mother and grandmother in the audience, leaning forward to catch every word. Bruno says her steps were correct, and he agrees with Len, she should be back next week. Carrie Ann says she loved the guitar, and Tom says next week Mark will do a Quickstep with an accordion.

In the skybox, Sadie tells Erin she was only hoping to get past week three; with all this talk about Sadie going to the finals, I feel like we're getting set up for her surprise elimination.

Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Julianne: 10, Bruno: 9.

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Tommy and Peta are next. Tommy grew up in poverty and used humor to keep from getting smacked around by the bigger kids in the orphanage, and no, I'm not exaggerating that part. He started as a musician, but was a better comedian, and after the comedy improv troupe in the topless bar fell apart he went to LA with his wife and Cheech Marin.

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Peta is now wearing a kind of red plush biergarden ballerina outfit: they're doing a Rhumba, and Tommy's a crazed toymaker, taking comfort in the arms of Peta, the doll from the giant snowglobe. The acoustic version of "Tainted Love," by Hannah Peel, is slow and soft and makes the whole thing quite creepy.

Julianne says it was fantastical and magical and brought her back to "The Nutcracker"; Bruno says it's Tommy and Peta reimagining "Coppelia," one of his favorite ballets. Carrie Ann is crying. Len says Tommy's not always been the judges' favorite, but he's America's favorite and maybe he'll get further.

Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8; Julianne: 10, Bruno: 8.

Bethany grew up shy in a small town in California. After being bullied in school, she started her YouTube videos in 2009, when she was 14.

She and Derek will be doing a contemporary routine. Once I asked Amy Watts the difference between Jazz and Contemporary, and she told me with Jazz you wear shoes, and yes, Bethany and Derek are both barefoot. They're grappling with a large white picture frame, which adds a slight whiff of Cirque du Soleil pretension.

Bruno calls the dance a modern masterpiece. Carrie Ann says it was total emotion, danced as one. Len calls it a Picasso of a dance, adding "Loved it," just to be clear. Julianne says picture-perfect and Derek mugs a bit with the frame. He's shirtless but is no Chmerkovskiy.

Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Julianne: 10, Bruno: 10.

Janel was born in Hawaii, and her dad says she was a ham. Her first role was Cosette in "Les Miz," which required her family to relocate to L.A. She got the role in "Pretty Little Liars" when she was 18.

She and Val will be dancing the Argentine Tango, with "Blame" performed by Time for Three, a string trio. Val has a violin when the song opens, and if he's actually playing he's probably a better dancer. There are a lot of fancy lifts in their dance.

Carrie Ann says Janel is the most dynamic of the female performers and what she says about the lifts makes the audience boo. Len says she puts the oo in mood. Julianne says she dances with everything she has. Bruno says he loves the lifts, so he gets applauded.

Erin asks Val about the violin and he says he played until he was 17, but dancing is a better chick magnet.

Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Julianne: 10, Bruno: 10.

Alfonso was born in New York and played the "Tap Dance Kid" on Broadway, and after that a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson. After that he was on "Silver Spoons," then "The Fresh Prince of Belair." Dan Quayle is in his bio tape. I don't know why.

Alfonso and Witney will be doing a contemporary routine and yes, they're barefoot. No Waltripping in this routine; no skimping with movement or lifts, though the lifts aren't fancy.

Len admires Alfonso for working through the pain. Julianne says contemporary is about being free (of more than shoes, I'm guessing) and Witney did well with the choreography. Bruno compliments their chemistry. Carrie Ann says she saw a whole new side of Alfonso.

Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9; Julianne: 10, Bruno: 10.

I want Alfonso to star in an Americanized reboot of the Poirot mysteries.

Time to send a couple home. Alfonso and Witney are going to the finals, and so are Janel and Val and Bethany and Derek. Sadie and Tommy are left and ... Tommy's going home, after the best-possible run. Erin and Peta are weepy as Tom rolls the highlight reel.

Amy Watts will be back next week for the finals. I'm rooting for Alfonso.

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