After huge scores in the men's 10m preliminary on Friday, there were plenty of missed dives and a number of shocking departures in the men's 10m semifinal on a hot Saturday morning with little wind at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
China's Chen Aisen set the tone, totaling 559.90 points for first place. China's Qiu Bo took second place with 504.70 points and Mexico's Ivan Garcia finished third with 497.55 points.
But the real story Saturday morning was Great Britain diving icon Tom Daley, who failed to qualify for the semifinal with 403.25 points and a last-place finish.
Daley, the reigning 10m bronze medalist, delivered a near flawless program a day earlier, producing a massive score of 571.85 total points, which would have been enough to take gold in both the 10m final at the 2016 World Cup in Rio and the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
But missed entries on his second, third and sixth dive in the semifinal produced a precipitous 168.60-point dropoff and an early and disappointing exit for one of the field's most popular divers.
USA's David Boudia, the reigning gold medalist, was outside of qualification going into the final dive, but delivered an 88.20-point back 2.5 pike with 2.5 twists to jump into 10th place and secure a chance to defend his Olympic title Saturday afternoon.
Boudia's synchro partner Steele Johnson, however, will not be joining him. The 6-foor-2, 20-year-old closed a consistent if unremarkable list with his strongest attempt, scoring 82.80 in the sixth round after five dives in the 70s. But his 447.85 points left him in 13th place, one spot shy of qualifying for the final in his first career individual Olympic event.
Chen was all alone at the top after scoring upwards of 90 points on all but one of his dives, dropping to a still-impressive 88.20 in the third round.
Qiu, on the other hand, was uncharacteristically inconsistent, delivering early dives in the 50s and 70s to leave him in 10th place after three rounds. But Qiu, the three-time World champion and favorite to take gold going in, dropped a 102.60 score on his back 3.5 pike -- just as he did in the preliminary -- to leap back into third and cement his spot in the final.
The following 12 competitors will advance to the final, taking place Saturday at 3:30pm ET: Chen Aisen (CHN), Qiu Bo (CHN), Ivan Garcia (MEX), Benjamin Auffret (FRA), Sascha Klein (GER), Viktor Minibaev (RUS), Rafael Quintero (PUR), Martin Wolfram (GER), German Sanchez (MEX), David Boudia (USA), Domonic Bedggood (AUS), Woo Haram (KOR).
The following competitors were eliminated from contention: Steele Johnson (USA), Vincent Riendeau (CAN), James Connor (AUS), Hugo Parisi (BRA), Nikita Shleikher (RUS), Tom Daley (GBR).
David Boudia's list
1. Armstand back double free 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 86.40
2. Inward 3.5 tuck -- 3.2 -- 86.40
3. Foward 4.5 tuck -- 3.7 -- 61.05
4. Reverse 3.5 tuck -- 3.4 -- 69.70
5. Back 3.5 pike -- 3.6 -- 66.60
6. Back 2.5 pike 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 88.20
Total score: 458.35
Steele Johnson's list
1. Armstand back double free 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 70.20
2. Inward 3.5 tuck -- 3.2 -- 76.80
3. Back 3.5 tuck -- 3.3 -- 70.95
4. Forward 4.5 tuck -- 3.7 -- 74.00
5. Reverse 3.5 tuck -- 3.4 -- 73.10
6. Back 2.5 pike 2.5 twists -- 3.6 -- 82.80
Total score: 447.85