It was the semi-finals on "Dancing With the Stars" All-Star Season 15, and we were down to a battle between the five best celebrity dancers and their partners. Unfortunately, the sixth good dancer (Gilles Marini) was eliminated last week, and the seventh (Sabrina Bryan) went home in Week 6. Now, it will be up to who dances the best ... and who has the strongest fan base.

Tonight, the couples first had to perform a dance -- a weird mix of theme and style -- that they had never done before and was chosen by another couple. For their second appearance, the dancers paid tribute to Michael Jackson's "BAD" album on its 25th anniversary ... which just so happens to be featured in an ABC special Thanksgiving night. Each of the couples danced to a song from the album, with Jackson's mom sitting in the front row of the audience.

None of the celebrity dancers copied the title of Jackson's album and instead of being "bad," they were determined to be the best they could be. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough climbed back to the top spot on the leaderboard with a "Knight Rider" bhangra (Indian folk dance) that was more Bollywood than Hasselhoff, but received raves from the judges and a lengthy standing ovation from the audience. After giving Shawn a big hug, judge Bruno Tonioli called it "another hit and this time, they did it bhangra-style!" Judge Carrie Ann Inaba observed that Shawn was "finally out of breath," then head judge Len Goodman, usually very conservative and restrained, shouted, "Shut up! Close the door! Call me Mary! This was fantastic!" Their second dance was an Argentine tango to "Bad," and it was "baaaad" in a very good way. Bruno said it was "breath-taking," Len said they "nailed it," but although she said "every line was perfection," Carrie Ann thought it lacked passion. And only a score of 9 from Carrie Ann denied them two triple-10's.

Only one and a half points behind the leaders were Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani, who ruled the leaderboard last week, but first there was more drama and an injury update on Tony. During rehearsal, he pulled something in his back and was flat-out on the dance floor. Host Tom Bergeron announced that Tony had been cleared to dance, but noticing the couple's costumes for their "Caveman" hustle, he added that it may have "impacted (Tony's) fashion sense." The pair took one of the strangest combinations and made a huge success of it. "Fred and Wilma never danced so well. Melissa had the hustle, Tony had the muscle," said Len. He added that they "captured the flavor of the caveman," at which Tom asked, "Does that come up often in dance?" However, both Bruno and Carrie Ann noted that the dancers lost their footing and balance at times. Their choice from the "BAD" album was "Dirty Diana" and they did an Argentine tango that was very different from Shawn and Derek's. Bruno said the "sequence of lifts was absolutely extraordinary," and I agree -- I need to go back and watch that dance again, and maybe one more time. As Carrie Ann said, "'Dirty Diana' meet Magnificent Melissa -- those lifts were out of this freaking world!"

The third couple to perform the weird-mix dance was Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff, who had the unfortunate luck to be assigned "Big Top" jazz. They were really trying but it just didn't do much for me. It was a bit sloppy and Apolo even had a slip in the opening steps. The judges described it as "disjointed" and with "a couple of awkward moments," but Bruno really liked it, saying it was a combination of "Cirque du Soleil" and "Clockwork Orange" and that it was "excellent." In their second dance, if they planned to leave a lasting memory of a winning dance with the viewers, Apolo and Karina managed it in their sexy, sensuous rumba to "Man in the Mirror." It was so sizzling, heat waves seem to shimmer off the pair. Carrie Ann pointed out that "you don't have to over-dance to achieve perfection. You reached into my heart and melted it," and Len said, "It was wave after wave of effortless motion." If that dance is all the voting viewers remember, the pair will be in next week's finals.

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke took their mixed dance, "Espionage" Lindy hop, and had a lot of fun dancing well. As a bad spy and a good spy, the couple put a cartoon-ish spin on it that had Bruno calling it "a Looney Tunes version of James Bond," while Carrie Ann told Emmitt that it was "the most animated performance I've seen." Len said the whole package was excellent but needed a little more Lindy hop. Then, dancing a traditional tango to "Leave Me Alone" in matching burgundy outfits, the pair received generally admiring comments from the judges. "In both routines (you did tonight), you really brought your 'A' game. However, your hold was a bit broad," said Carrie Ann, being kinda picky.

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy, the fifth and final couple to compete, tackled a "Surfer" flamenco that was more paso doble than flamenco, but which really won over the audience and had them screaming long after the dance was done. Since it ended with Kelly in a swimsuit and Val in a Speedo, splashing their way through dance steps in a shallow pool, I don't know whether the screams were for their routine or their outfits. Len said they "went 'all in' with verve and attack," but Bruno said the placement and hand motions weren't there for flamenco. If the pair were all wet for the first dance, the heat generated by their rumba to "I Can't Stop Loving You" dried them off quickly. Bruno called it "smoldering, driven by desire, wonderful," Len said it had "controlled emotion, the light and shade were fantastic," and Carrie Ann pointed out the "honest vulnerability." In addition, at the dance's end, the lights went down and the two, who are rumored to be more than just dance partners, locked in a passionate kiss. Wow!

Now it's up to the voting viewers to add their points to those of the judges, and Tuesday night's results show will end in a double elimination, sending the remaining three couples to the finals Nov. 26. The hourlong show tomorrow night will feature a Macy's "Stars of Dance" performance by Paula Abdul, and a medley sung by The Wanted. Also, Parris Goebel, a self-taught dancer from New Zealand, will do her "polyswagg"-type hip hop in the AT&T Spotlight Dance. Who do you think should advance to the finals next week?

Celebrities and combined scores (mixed dance + dance to Michael Jackson song = total):

Shawn & Derek (Knight Rider/bhangra): Carrie Ann, 10; Len, 10; Bruno, 10 = 30 + (Argentine tango) 9; 10; 10 = 29; total of 59

Melissa & Tony (Caveman/hustle) -- 9; 9.5; 9 = 27.5; (Argentine tango) 10; 10; 10 = 30; total of 57.5

Apolo & Karina (Big Top/jazz) -- 8.5; 9; 9.5 = 27; (rumba) 10; 10; 10 = 30; total of 57

Kelly & Val (Surfer/flamenco) -- 8; 9; 8.5 = 25.5; (rumba) 9.5; 9.5; 9.5 = 28.5; total of 54

Emmitt & Cheryl (Espionage/Lindy hop) -- 9; 9; 9 = 27; (tango) 9; 9; 9 = 27; total of 54