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Dancing with the Stars: The Finals

The finals are here! Twelve weeks later, we’re down to three surprise finalists (okay, two surprise finalists). After a long and crazy season, it’s finally time to see who has the goods to take this all the way. Tonight, each couple will do a “Redemption Dance” – a routine (chosen by the judges) based on a past performance that deserves a do-over. Then … the much-anticipated freestyle!

 Redemption Round:

 Kyle and LaceyFoxtrot: You may remember Kyle’s first foxtrot as being mostly crazy disco nonsense and very little foxtrot. Not so tonight. He delivered a straight-up foxtrot that was straight-up class. He’s made it to the finals based on his charisma and personality, but it was nice to see that when the pressure is on, Kyle can still deliver a great performance with solid technique. Len said he went from messy to marvelous, Bruno said his technique has improved tremendously, and Carrie Ann said he can do better. Scores: 9-9-9.

Bristol and MarkJive: Hey, remember that time Bristol did a dance while dressed as a gorilla? Well, they’re redoing it. This time around … still not good. Her kicks had zero energy, she wasn’t really into it, and the whole thing was weird and awkward. If anything, she’s gone several steps backward since last week. Not good enough for the finals, sorry. Bruno enjoyed it, Carrie Ann said she was brighter and more vibrant than ever before, and Len said she went from gorilla to thriller (say it in a British accent – it’ll make sense). Scores: 9-9-9.

Jennifer and DerekPaso Doble: Jennifer didn’t really have a bad dance all season, but the paso was definitely her weakest moment (meaning she received – gasp – 8s.) And no surprise – she more than redeemed herself here. It was one of Jennifer’s strongest performances all season (the costuming and the music helped), and the first routine so far that’s been finals-worthy. Carrie Ann called it the meaning of “redemption,” Len gave them a standing ovation, and Bruno yelled a bunch of things that made me uncomfortable that translated to “I loved it.” Scores: 10-10-10.

Freestyle Round!

Kyle and Lacey: I had been looking forward to Kyle’s freestyle all season, and he totally delivered. Presenting a 90’s era hip-hop served with a hefty side of booty shakin’, this dance is what the freestyle round is all about. Pure, unadulterated, fun. It will be a hard one to beat. Len called it great entertainment, Bruno called it explosive, and Carrie Ann called him The Fresh Prince of Dancing. Scores: 10-9-10.

Bristol and Mark: I think the world was morbidly curious to see what Bristol would do for her freestyle. Well, world, they did a Broadway routine. And from the rehearsal footage, it was clearly all Mark’s idea. Although honestly, I’m not sure what other non-ballroom style they could have done. The routine was based on the famous “Cell Block Tango” number in Chicago, and it was … okay. There was a creative use of props (well done Mark), but Bristol is no Catherine Zeta-Jones. It’s highly unlikely that she’ll win, but she can walk out of the ballroom with her dignity intact. Bruno said it wasn’t at the level that the song required, Carrie Ann gave her credit for dancing in a cage, and Len thought it was fantastic. Scores: 8-9-8.

Jennifer and Derek: Has anyone else noticed that whenever Derek is allowed a blank slate, he always does a 50’s routine? This dance was more or less a recycled version of his freestyle with Brooke, only not as good. There were lots of tricks, some more successful than others, but it was nowhere near the level of freestyle awesomeness that Kyle served up earlier. Carrie Ann said it was amazing, Len called it fantastic, and Bruno said it was brilliant. Scores: 10-10-10.

 I think it’s pretty clear that the judges want Jennifer to win, but I’m pulling for Kyle all the way. Who do you think will take the beloved Mirrorball Trophy?

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