Next week is the Dancing With The Stars semi-final, meaning each celebrity needed to step up their game this week. They were challenged to not only two dances, but also a 15 second solo to show of their dancing abilities without the help of their professional partner.

Cody Linley, still paired with partner Edyta Sliwinska due to Julianne Hough surgery, performed both the foxtrot and mambo this week. He was bummed due to having the lowest score and being in the bottom two last week. Some of his friends came to visit and boosted his spirits; they also got a kick out of dancing with Edyta. Cody said he was ready for a comeback. Len was pleasantly surprised with his foxtrot performance, calling it "a top notch job." Bruno, who hasn't been a fan of Cody's in the past, was also pleased and said it was the most grown-up and sophisticated dance he'd done so far in the competition. Carrie Ann was the only one to have a negative comment for Cody's foxtrot. She called Edyta on a lift, which I personally didn't see, but oh well. Cody got a 24 overall for his ballroom number. As for his mambo, Len said there were some good elements, but that he seemed too stiff and angular. Carrie Ann was slightly more positive this time around and said he got an "A for effort and energy." Bruno also said he appreciated Cody's effort, but said the dance looked spastic. Cody came away with three eights again, making his total score for the evening a 48 out of 60.

Brooke Burke and Derek Hough danced the tango and the mambo this week. Derek said he was going to start treating Brooke like a professional and make her work harder on the technical aspect of dancing. As far as her ballroom round went, both Carrie Ann and Bruno thought she lived up to the hype. Bruno described her dance as stunning and Carrie Ann called it phenomenal. Len, on the other hand, judged Brooke from a professional standpoint and said she was out of sync, had bad posture and the whole dance was riddled with mistakes. She received two 10's and an 8 from Len. Her ballroom score was better than her Latin round score. Her solo consisted of her hiding her feet behind the judges' podium, which I saw as completely unfair. Len said it was an ambitious dance, but took an issue with her legs. Carrie Ann pointed out some posture mistakes as well. But, the last female standing still managed to take the top spot again this week with a combined score of 55 out of 60.

Maurice Greene and Cheryl Burke found themselves in good graces this week, playing on strengths. Maurice already had practice at the paso doble from last week's team dance and his running abilities came into play during his ballroom quickstep. He did, however, think that attached running was much harder than what he normally does for a living. Carrie Ann loved his quickstep, though. Len agreed that his feet were excellent and Bruno was impressed that he didn't start dragging in the middle of the dance like he normally does. He tied Cody with a 24 for his ballroom score. As for the paso, Bruno described it as very strong and powerful. Carrie Ann also loved the intensity. Len, who normally doesn't like gimmicks, felt that Maurice's cape work on the paso was in the nature of the dance and felt that he did an overall good job. But those rave reviews gave him another 24 for the Latin round, leaving him with 48 out of 60 for the evening.

Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer found a nice balance this week of pleasing themselves and Len while performing both their numbers. As for the ballroom foxtrot, Len was very pleased at Lance's "extreme makeover." Bruno was pleased that Lance showed off his quirky side while still doing a classic dance in a classic style. Carrie Ann went so far as to call him a "bright light" in the competition. He received two 9's and an 8 for the foxtrot. His Latin round samba didn't fair as well though. The judges knocked Lance's solo for his pigeon-toes and distracting twirls. Len didn't think his solo was in the same flavor as the samba. Bruno, however, was Lance's saving grace and said that he had more content in his samba than many others and was pleased with his performance. Lance only managed to get a 24 in the second round leaving him with 50 out of 60 for the evening.

And performing last, once again, was Warren Sapp with partner Kym Johnson. If it hadn't been for the team dancing last week, Warren would have been at the bottom of the scoreboard instead of Cody, so he too was slightly bummed and ready for a comeback. Warren danced both the tango and the jive this week. His "mean" tango, according to Bruno was a good start at getting better scores. Len said that while last week was a "flop" this week he'd be on top. For the ballroom round, he tied Brooke with a score of 28, but fell short in the Latin round. The judges attacked Warren's jive because of his footwork. Len said everything about the performance was great, except for his feet; "words cannot describe them." Carrie Ann called him flat-footed, but loved his energy. Bruno was impressed, but he did comment that Kym definitely choreographed the dance to Warren's strengths and tried to cover up his weak points. He got a 54 out of 60 overall.

If you thought the judging was harsh this week, just wait for the semi-finals! It'll only be a few more weeks until a new champ is named.

Story by Beth Wickman

Starpulse contributing writer