The finals are finally here, finally. All the tears, the spills, the flying shoes … it all comes down to this. Tonight, each couple will perform a Judges’ Choice routine, in which the judges pick the style based on what they think will best showcase each couple’s strengths, and then – of course – everyone’s favorite, the freestyle. Is it just me, or are the finals a little easier this year? I remember back in the day when each finalist would perform three routines, but whatever.
It was pretty obvious from the beginning that this was a two-horse race, but which couple had what it takes to win it all?
Chelsea and Mark
Judges Choice: Samba
Verdict: Ridiculous fringe outfit aside, Chelsea brought her A-game in a sizzling, tribal, wild routine. It was sassy, fun, and technically sound – a great way to start the show!
Carrie Ann: “Hot! Hot! Hot! Chelsea is on fire!” – 10
Len: “I liked what I was watching.” – 9
Bruno: “That was a firecracker of a samba.” – 10
Verdict: Of the three professionals, Mark is the strongest choreographer for a freestyle routine. Remember Shawn Johnson? He tried to recapture that magic here with a samba hip-hop confection, complete with blinking costume lights. It was … okay. There were some spectacular lifts, but during the hip-hop moments Chelsea looked a little uncomfortable, and she appeared to have some sort of costume malfunction. It was a decent freestyle, but I don’t know that it’s enough to shut out Hines.
Carrie Ann: “The freestyle is all about going beyond our expectations, and that was [insert crazy dance moves].” – 10
Len: “It was so much attack, it was fantastic.” – 10
Bruno: “It’s electrifying! ” – 10
Kirstie and Maks
Judges Choice: Samba
Verdict: Okay, we’re in the finals now, and it’s time to get tough. Kirstie’s been a great competitor all season, and it’s been fun having her around, but this was not mirrorball-worthy. There was nothing wrong with this performance per se, but compared to what Chelsea and Hines are dishing out … she’s just not in their league.
Carrie Ann: “I love your movement quality – there’s an ooze quality.” – 9
Len: “It had a lovely naturalness about it.” – 9
Bruno: “Softer, lighter, full of lively pleasures – but you were looking at the floor.” – 9
Verdict: Hmm. Of all the ways they could have gone with this, I would never have predicted a contemporary routine. I mean, it didn’t work with Erin Andrews, why would this work with Kirstie? And I disagree with Maks’ assertion that they HAD to do lifts because they are expected to. Believe me, we’d rather see a clean routine with no lifts than a messy routine that looked like an awkward cheerleading practice at times.
Carrie Ann: “Some of the lifts had an alleyoop feel to them, but you’ve become the new poster child for how life should be lived at 60 years old.” – 9
Len: “You’ve gotta risk it if you want the biscuit – I commend you.” – 9
Bruno: “You have to really appreciate what you have achieved. Respect!” – 9
Hines and Kym
Judges Choice: Quickstep
Verdict: The last time Hines did the quickstep, the judges trampled all over him because of his shoddy footwork. This time around? Much cleaner, and he brought his usual charm and effervescence to this old Hollywood-style routine. He’s been the frontrunner all season, and it looks like he’s sprinting to the finish line.
Carrie Ann: “That was so much fun! When you dance, you make it feel like you are running for a touchdown.” – 10
Len: “It’s not quite there yet – this competition is still anyone’s to win or lose.” – 9
Bruno: “It was like watching a mega-production on Broadway.” – 10
Verdict: Hines decided to do a drumline routine, which is kind of cute, because he’s a football player. Apart from the lifts (and there were many, and they were great), there wasn’t a lot of freestyle in this freestyle. It was a mishmash of various ballroom styles, all well executed, but I wonder if it will freestyle-y enough for the voters at home.
Carrie Ann: “That wasn’t a halftime show – that was a Superbowl.” – 10
Len: “You’ve just given your all.” – 10
Bruno: “You just pulled out all the stops for a crowd pleasing event!” – 10
Who do you think will be crowned the winner?