Craig Sjodin/ABC
Annie Barrett
May 18, 2010 AT 04:00 PM EDT

On the week 9 performance episode of Dancing With the Stars, the final four truly stepped it up and took their clothes off already. Just kidding. They did do that, but Evan Lysacek, Nicole Scherzinger, Erin Andrews, and Chad Ochocinco turned in excellent routines for the ballroom and Latin rounds of last night’s semifinals. There was a thrill in the air! Derek was so excited/injured that he just plumb fell right down. Brooke was so excited/jealous that she wore a paso doble dominatrix costume and wouldn’t stop referring to everyone’s ”package.” Donny Osmond was so excited/proud that he remained motionless while weeping, livin’ on a prayer that his understated devotion to the televised ballroom would outshine the Star power of Kate Gosselin. (I say it did.) Bruno even said ”F—!” It was a night for the ages. This show has been on for ages.

Thanks to some adorable and often heartbreaking childhood clip segments, we learned why the remaining contestants turned out like they did. Coffee lover Evan had a growth spurt at 14 and endured a seemingly mellow smackdown from his mama that he would have to work twice as hard to be the best again. Erin still hunches a lot because she’s always been insecure about her body. Chad’s teachers used to tell him he’d never amount to anything, so he responds best when berated by Cheryl. Nicole had a grandmother named ”Tutu,” so she is obviously a ringer and has been a perfect dancer since she was born. Now we know.

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inaba!

Evan Lysacek and Anna Tre-BUN-skaya: 29 in ballroom round + 30 in Latin round = 59/60 I’m still trying to figure out what the deal was with that single ”tile” of Anna that Evan was admiring and kissing in front of the judges at the beginning of his foxtrot. Why a tile? Was he considering it for the new floor in his soon-to-be-remodeled master bathroom? Because he should. Evan decided he needed to show some personality in the foxtrot, and with some help from his adorable nephew and an iPhone, he delivered his most happy-go-lucky performance yet. At least twice, he sort of dipped Anna down diagonally with a distinct facial expression that screamed ”If you haven’t noticed it yet, check out my jaunty bow tie!” The judges loved the dance, though I’m guessing DANCMSTR docked Tom a few points (in the nightly scores he awards to Tom) for messin’ about with a prop cup of coffee. Bruno accused Evan of being ”high as a kite” and nearly died laughing after Tom’s mere suggestion of Bruno looking in the mirror. Pot, meet kettle. Or perhaps Ketel 10. (”Tehhhhhhhhn!”)

NEXT: The whirler is a vampire

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