Olympian turned "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Aly Raisman went from soft and romantic to wild and fierce during Monday night's semifinals. The Needham native danced a sensual rumba with partner Mark Ballas before stomping her way through a powerful African-jazz routine that showed off her athleticism and endurance. She earned a perfect score of 30 from the judges for her first number, and 29 points for the latter. Her total score of 59 points tied her in first place with NFL player Jacoby Jones and partner Karina Smirnoff, followed by country singer Kellie Pickler and partner Derek Hough with 58 points.
"Aly, way to go," judge Carrie Ann Inaba said of her first dance. "The rumba is all about being woman and you were all woman out there."
Judge Bruno Tonioli told Raisman her transformation is complete, noting she did it "perfectly."
And judge Len Goodman said it was done beautifully. "It had romance, but it wasn’t raunchy," he said.
As for Raisman, she told host Brooke Burke that she feels like she’s grown up a lot. "It's been such an awesome experience," she said of being on the show. "I'm having so much fun."
Raisman’s second dance also earned her praise.
"Booyah! That was ridiculous. I don’t think people know how hard of a dance that was," Inaba said. "It was just fantastic."
Goodman said she captured the feeling of the dance, but noted he would have liked to see more of a connection between her and Ballas.
Meanwhile, Tonioli had another opinion. "Definitely queen of the jungle," he said. "But I’m telling you one thing, you have exceeded every expectation."
Raisman said afterward that it was the hardest dance so far of the season, and that she’s pretty sore this week.
"General Hospital" star Ingo Rademacher landed in last place with a total score of 51 points. The other contender left is teen Disney sensation Zendaya, who earned 55 points by the end of the show, nailing her hip-hop number with a perfect score from the panel.
So who will advance to next week? We’ll find out during Tuesday night's elimination show at 9 p.m. on ABC, when Avril Lavigne and The Wanted will also perform.
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ContributorsKatie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
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Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.