Where do the stars stand going into next week's finals?

By Patrick Gomez
Updated November 16, 2015 10:50 PM
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Dancing with the Stars‘ four semi-finalists had to think outside the box on Monday’s episode, which saw the stars performing three dances to fill up the two-hour episode in the wake of Tamar Braxton’s exit over health issues.

Bindi Irwin took the think outside the box mandate literally with a box-centered performance her pro Derek Hough admitted was “dangerous” for the 17-year-old star.

“It was incredible to get to tell the story that Derek created for us this week,” Irwin told PEOPLE after the show. “It’s not just dance when we go out there, it’s a complete story with characters and struggles.

The results earned her raves from the judges, but was it enough to secure a top spot on the leader board?

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Monday’s episode of DWTS.

Because of Braxton’s exit, none of the couples were sent home this week, even though co-host Tom Bergeron kept it suspenseful by not revealing that would be the case until the final seconds of the show.

Here’s where the stars stand going into next week’s finals:

Next week, the stars compete in a two-episode finale on Monday and Tuesday. Read on for highlights from the semi-finals.

Carlos (Almost) Kills It with the Charleston

Penavega, Witney Carson and Karina Smirnoff earned rave reviews for their Charleston. The only hold out was Carrie Ann Inaba, who gave the trio a 9 rather than a 10. For more from Penavega, check out his exclusive PEOPLE blog, where he discusses the elimination of his wife Alexa last week.

“I feel like I had a great night, but I’m the only person left in the competition who hasn’t gotten a perfect score,” he told PEOPLE. “But I promise you, I’ll have one before my time on the show is over.”

Alek Reunites with Emma – but There’s No Mention of a Romantic Date

The Paris train hero reunited with his switch-up week partner (and DWTS crush Emma Slater.

“Whenever Emma is within 100 feet of me, it’s hard for me to concentrate,” Skarlatos said in the video package ahead of their trio dance with Arnold.

When judge Julianne Hough pressed Skarlatos, 23, for whether there was romance blooming between him and Slater, the contestant balked and changed the subject.

“Working with Emma is definitely a major perk of being on the show,” he told PEOPLE. As for a date? “We’ll have to see.”

Nick Carter Breaks Hearts … Again

Carter has not shied away from the personal on DWTS, and that was no exception on Monday, when he talked about his sister Leslie’s death of a prescription drug overdose in 2012, admitting he felt he had let people down. Aaron Carter was there to cheer on his brother, whose trio dance with Peta Murgatroyd and Burgess earned straight 10s.

“It’s tough seeing all the hardships in your life flash over that screen in 3.5 minutes,” Carter, 35, told PEOPLE after the show. “But I’m proud to share my past because I know everyone has one and I want to show people you can come back from anything.”

Val Gives an Update on Tamar

Val Chmerkovskiy spoke on his former partner’s behalf by thanking the DWTS family for the opportunity to compete. Braxton remains hospitalized for blood clots in her lungs.

“On behalf of both of us, she loved every moment of it,” Chmerkovskiy said. “It was an incredible season for me. I’m very blessed to have met Tamar.”

Dancing with the Stars concludes its season next week Monday and Tuesday (8 p.m. ET) on ABC. Who are you rooting for?