Season 20 of Dancing With the Stars is reaching a fever pitch, and the show's approach to the semi-finals has heralded the return of the elimination episode -- a second, hour-long show that airs the day after DWTS' regular Monday competition.
This week the stakes were even higher than usual as two stars were facing the axe, meaning a third of the show's remaining six contestants were going to be hitting the road.
But how do you stretch out a simple elimination announcement to a full hour? Stuff the show with awkward comedy sketches, brilliant dance routines by professional performers, and a beautiful musical number by Josh Groban singing a semi-operatic version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" featuring an interpretive dance by 12-year-old dancing sensation Maddie Ziegler.
But for real DWTS fans, it all came down to who was in jeopardy, who was moving on to the next round, and who would be going home.
Throughout the show it was revealed which stars were safe from elimination -- thus automatically moving on to the semi-finals -- and who was in jeopardy.
The first safe couple were Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy. Despite Rumer finding herself on the chopping block in Week 7 -- when Willow Shields was totally and unjustly voted off -- Rumer and Val came back on Monday with two dances that blew the judges away and were rewarded with perfect scores.
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough (and Sasha Farber, technically) were also safe from elimination this week, likely due to Hough's popularity and the fact that Nastia is an amazing dancer who often looks like she's one of the show's pros. It's no surprise that she'll be moving on.
The first two stars facing ejection were Noah Galloway and Robert Herjavec. Both have had relatively low scores throughout their time on the show, but Noah's inspirational struggle and appeal (and abs) were enough to give him the edge and Robert was sent home packing along with his pro-partner Kym Johnson. Now they can kiss all they want without having Erin Andrews grill them about it every week.
At the end of the episode, it all came down to Chris Soules and Riker Lynch. Chris has, nearly every week, had one of the lowest scores. Meanwhile, Riker has consistently been at the top of the leader board, so it should have been a no-brainer. However, after Willow's defeat, and with Chris's Bachelor fame propping him up, anything was possible.
Luckily, America didn't make the same mistake twice and Riker ended up securing a spot in the semi-finals while Chris and his partner Witney Carson were eliminated. While Chris was improving -- and Witney is always one of the most adorable people ever -- it was time for the reality star to go home.
Dancing With the Stars returns on Monday, and proves to be more competitive than ever. Check out our look at the semi-finals' best, worst and weirdest moments after the episode airs Monday, May 11 at 8 p.m. on ABC.