Spoilers ahead for the Semi-Finals episode of Dancing with the Stars Season 29 on ABC.
The Dancing with the Stars crop of celebrity dancers in Season 29 was narrowed down six when the Semi-Finals began, and it was a double elimination night that meant only four would get to advance to the finals. Sadly, Skai Jackson with her partner Alan Bersten and Johnny Weir with partner Britt Stewart were sent home, even though it looked for a bit like Nelly and dance pro Daniella Karagach would be one of the pairs to go, all due to a jive.
After earning a 26 with their Paso Doble to Woodkid's "Run Boy Run," Nelly and Daniella Karagach were assigned a jive to Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Jump, Jive an' Wail," and Nelly wasn't happy about it. In the montage of their rehearsal for their jive, Nelly and Daniella were visibly tense with each other as they struggled to connect with the choreography. Nelly commented that she was like a sister, but more in the context that she was frustrating him than bonding, and she seemingly wasn't thrilled about him either as he vented his frustrations.
All things considered, it looked like they might not have what it takes to nail their jive, especially when they had the lowest score of the night with their Paso Doble. Surprisingly, however, the jive was a huge hit with the judges, all three of whom gave Nelly and Daniella a 10 for a perfect score of 30. (To be fair, the judges gave every pair a 30 for the second dance of the night.) Between their scores from the judges and audience votes, Nelly and Daniella are headed to the finals. Some fans were happier about this than others.
I for one have found Nelly to be an entertaining performer throughout Dancing with the Stars Season 29, but him making it to the finals over Skai Jackson and Johnny Weir did take me by surprise. Nelly also got the lowest numbers of the night in the first round, before the judges were distributing 10's freely.
Of course, Nelly and Daniella are up against some stiff competition in the finals. Justina Machado and partner Sasha Farber were saved by the judges to advance, with former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe/Artem Chigvintsev and favorites Nev Schulman/Jenna Johnson. Based on some of his reactions in episodes of Dancing with the Stars, Nelly might not be expecting to win.
Not everybody on Twitter felt that Nelly and Daniella didn't deserve to advance, but a lot of people feel that the jive that resulted in the perfect score didn't actually deserve the 10 from each judge.
In Nelly's defense, he was much looser and seemed much more comfortable in his performance than in the clips of his rehearsals with Daniella, but I'm not sure it should have been enough for his perfect score this late in the game with the stakes so high and competition so fierce.
Nelly has definitely improved, and Daniella Karagach has been excellent in her very first season as a pro on Dancing with the Stars. I'm not sure they'd still be in the running if Jeannie Mai hadn't had to bow out of Season 29 early, but it's anybody's game at this point.
In the grand scheme of Dancing with the Stars, there are worse things than fans thinking that a celebrity deserves 8's rather than 10's! Besides, impressing the judges is only part of staying in the game on Dancing with the Stars, and gauging fan reactions elsewhere than social media this year is difficult due to the absence of an audience.
At this point, I'm guessing Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson will be the winners, but we'll just have to wait and see. Tune in to ABC on Monday, November 23 to catch the Season 29 finale of Dancing with the Stars. For what you can watch once the latest season comes to an end, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule and our 2021 winter and midseason premiere guide.