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Dancing with the Stars: The Finals!

Once upon a time, 16 minor league celebrities got together to tempt fate in the most ruthless competition on reality TV.  Or at least, the most sparkly competition on reality TV. And slowly, week by week, they were whittled down and sent home until only the Chosen Three remained. And now, the final survivors – war-weary, exhausted, and spray-tanned within an inch of their lives – must battle it out, for only one can be named the champion and claim the fabled Mirrorball Trophy. Yes, it’s the finals of Dancing with the Stars, and we’re in for a wild ride.

Three couples, three dances, three judges, three … something else. First up, each couple will perform a brand-new routine. After that, it’s the first-ever “mega-mix challenge”, which I can only assume is served up on the beach while Jennifer Lopez plays in the background. Then, the moment we’ve been waiting for all season – freestyle!

Round One: New Dances

Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van AmstelArgetine Tango: The tango is a risky gamble for Kelly, since she didn’t do so well the first time around. I would have preferred to see her rock the jive or a jitterbug here and make use of her cuteness. Carrie Ann drops by rehearsal to give them some pointers, and repeats the word that has defined Kelly all season: transformation. And hey, who’s that senorita that looks like Kelly Osbourne? Kelly did a great job here, and hit some beautiful shapes along the way. There were a couple weird stumbly moments and a couple bits of leg flailing, but she’s come such a long way in this competition I find it difficult to fault her. Len says she epitomizes what the show is about, Bruno wanted to see more strength in her hands and more passion in her dancing, and Carrie Ann praised her intensity and how far she’d come since rehearsals.  Scores: 9-9-8.

Mya and Dmitry ChaplinPaso Doble: I’m glad that Mya and Dmitry chose the paso, because it’s a fabulously dramatic dance that has a great track record in the finals (Mel B and Maks, Apolo and Julianne). Grumpy Judge Len popped by rehearsals to bury the hatchet and give them some tips on punching up their paso. I assumed this would be a strong dance, given that Mya’s amazing and Dmitry is a killer choreographer, but … meh. It was okay, but it lacked a lot of the sexual tension and fire that I’ve come to expect in a finale paso. And honestly, I think their song was distracting. Was it well-executed? Yes. Did it rock me? Kind of. Bruno called her fearless and flaboyant, Carrie Ann deemed her “the queen of the paso doble,” and Grumpy Len called it on par with the Mel B/Maks showstopper. Scores: 10-10-10.

Donny Osmond and Kym JohnsonCha Cha Cha: This week, Bruno and Donny were reunited in the rehearsal studio. “You’re not doing Vegas, you’re doing Dancing with the Stars,” Bruno explained. I wasn’t aware there was much of a difference. Donny does seem to be profiting from Bruno’s advice on small details like not looking down, and choosing a party dance like the cha cha cha is a good strategy move. This routine was classic Donny Osmond – fun, entertaining, and crowd-pleasing. Bonus points for the silver shoes. Carrie Ann praised his hips and energy, Len said “ding dong Donny,” which is apparently a good thing, and Bruno called him the ultimate professional. Scores: 9-9-9.

Round Two: Mega-Mix Challenge

In this round, the couples perform identical numbers (Viennese waltz, salsa, and jive) side-by-side. Nick Kosovich returned from DWTS obscurity to choreograph the routines. Kelly has an insecure moment during rehearsals, but it’s fairly clear Mya and Dmitry are in a league of their own. Meanwhile, Donny keeps playing the “old” card.

Right off the bat, there were some sychronicity problems, and Kelly’s skirt didn’t detach during the transition to the salsa. The routine was pretty good, but a mega-mix it was not. I would have much rather seen each couple do a second individual dance.  I think Donny had a huge advantage here, because you couldn’t really see him. In ballroom, the focus is always on the female, and he had Kym shimmying and sparkling in front of him the whole time. The judges don’t bother actually judging anything and declare it a draw, which is weird, since there are rankings. Kelly and Louis are given third place, with Donny and Kym in second, and – no surprise – Mya and Dmitry get top scores.

Round Three: Freestyle!

Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel: I wouldn’t have picked a disco freestyle for Kelly, but okay. And everything was going wonderfully … and then it wasn’t. The opening was cool and dramatic (love the cape!) but then, tragically,  she fell mid-lift and also flubbed the ending trick. The good news: she kept beaming through the whole thing, and her infectious smile is pretty darn tough to resist. Bruno said (correctly) that she’s never looked more beautiful, Carrie Ann said she is what everyone hopes to be on this show, and Len loved her smile and energy. Scores: 8-8-8.

Mya and Dmitry Chaplin: Can Mya get another perfect score? I was wondering whether she would go the hip-hop route, but no. There is a kerfluffle in rehearsals over what kind of dance to do. Dmitry wants to do a Broadway-Hairspray number (probably because that worked out so well for Benji and Donyelle in his season of So You Think You Can Dance) and Mya wants to do … Vegas. Mya, didn’t you hear what Bruno said to Donny? This is DANCING WITH THE STARS. Geez. Turns out Dmitry may have not made the right call. It was a fun number, but it didn’t allow them to reach the heights of difficulty they are capable of. And I know it’s their third dance of the night, but Mya’s energy was not where it needed to be. On top of that, the band slowed down the song, which made the dance seem sluggish. I’m disappointed. Where’s an awesome freestyle when you need one? Carrie Ann said it was “not outstanding,” Len said the dance went nowhere, and Bruno said he wanted more. They may have just lost the Mirrorball. #dmitryfail.  Scores: 9-9-9.

Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson: Donny and Kym are wisely going the Broadway route, and the fact that they’re closing the show means they’re going to be awesome. And in my opinion, they clinched the title with this one. From the adorable opening to the closing homage to all the great moments in between, Donny and Kym delivered the perfect showstopper to end the season. That’s what a freestyle looks like. That’s entertainment, folks. I’m so proud of Donny for making it this far, and I’m so happy for the fabulous Kym Johnson, who’s been a wonderful part of this show for many seasons. Len called it a showstopper, Bruno called their dance show business at it’s best, and Carrie Ann gave them a place in the Freestyle Hall of Fame. Scores: 10-10-10.

If you had asked me any other week, I would have said Mya and Dmitry were a lock to win, but Donny was the man of the evening. If I had to put money on it, I’m betting on Osmond. He deserves it, and it’ll be fun to watch him win tomorrow night.

Missy will be blogging the results show, so let me say thanks so much for following along with me this season. It’s been great fun sharing the highs, the lows, and the DeLays with you. Who do you think will be this season’s champ? Shout it out, loud and proud, in the comments section.

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