After weeks and weeks of competition, and stupendously long shows that seemed to go on and on forever, we're nearing the Dancing finish line at last and finally getting a one hour show. Perhaps they just couldn't find enough filler? No matter. Who am I to question this incredible gift from the Dancing gods? I'm sure they'll be back next year with 32 couples, six hour shows and enough sequins and beads to bedazzle Mt. Rushmore, the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, with some left to spare. If there's anything I've learned from watching Dancing is that you can never have enough bling, enough cheesy music, enough skimpy costumes and apparently enough prime time air time either. Of course this is only the first part of the finals, consisting of a Cha Cha dance-off and the freestyle performances; another two hours of wholesome aged dairy products await you during the second part of the finale. Read on.
Tom quickly runs down the numbers for the season which include three emergency room visits, countless gallons of spray tan, numerous hours of rehearsal and lots of scores. He neglects to mention the 7592 hours of show time we've
After last week's show, the couples drew the order in which they'd be dancing in the Cha Cha face-off. Each couple gets one minute of dance time and they go into the dance according to the draw order. Cristian and Cheryl drew first, Jason and Edyta second and Kristi and Mark will go last.
Rehearsal is now serious business for everyone. Cristian, with his arm still bandaged, talks about “crazy moves” that Cheryl is trying to make him do. Sliding on the floor under her legs is harder than it sounds. Edyta is tough with Jason, but he knows that this is the last opportunity for him to show that he can pull off a good Latin dance. Mark wants to see improvement from Kristi, especially in the performance side of the dance. Not enough emotion in her dances has always been Kristi's Achilles heel.
After the routine rehearsals, they come together for a group practice to put the performance together, in the correct order. This is an opportunity for each one of them to sneak a peek at what the others were doing and fine tune their part accordingly. Cristian and Jason lament that Kristi and Mark came in with only a 30 second tidbit of their part. He claims that Kristi and Mark will go back to the studio and outdo them both now that they've seen what Cristian and Jason can do. They're all very conscious of the fact that this routine could make or break their chances to walk away with the big cheesy mirror ball trophy.
Cha Cha cage match
The music is Dancing on the ceiling and the big Cha Cha dance-off opens with Cristian running down the stairs to meet Cheryl in the middle of the dance floor. They're both wearing shiny magenta outfits, with Cristian's shirt unbuttoned all the way down. Their portion is lively and well done, although Cheryl does most of the work. No surprise there. They end with a dramatic slide across the floor, allowing Jason and Edyta to take the floor. Edyta is wearing ten pounds of fake tanner, a yellowish orange outfit that is a cross between a bathing suit and a small handkerchief. Their moves are more flamboyant, with Jason leaping high in the air over Edyta's shoulders, crawling backwards under her legs, closing their segment with some complicated looking twirls. Kristi and Mark are last in and they start off running around the floor, clapping and Kristi jumping over to give a big smooch to Bruno. Kristi is wearing a white and blue beaded flapper dress that swirls dramatically as she does her turns. While they don't do any complicated jumps, it's a very tight segment, quick and precise. Kristi needs to work harder than the other two in the Cha Cha since most of the moves are meatier for the women and she does an outstanding job.
At least my pits don't smell...
At last they all come together to finish the dance as a group, with Cristian and Jason lifting Kristi high up in the air with flourish in a final dramatic move. Len was very excited, he loved the dance-off. He liked Cristian's hips, Jason's elegance and Kristi's complete package. Bruno, still wearing Kristi's lipstick on his cheek, says Cristian can “bang like the best”, Jason was great but lost a bit of timing and says Kristi is in a class of her own. Carrie felt it was interesting. She thought Cristian was fantastic but a bit stiff in the posture, felt Jason could've done better with a Ballroom dance but he managed to put a lot of fun into this as well. She says Kristi won this round hands down.
Their scores are:
- Cristian and Cheryl: 8-9-9 for a total of 26 points
- Jason and Edyta: 8-8-8 for a total of 24 points
- Kristi and Mark: 10-10-10 for total of 30 points
We all deserve a 10!
Workin' it in style
The freestyle is no time to hold back and Kristi and Mark are determined to put more oomph into their routine in order to trump the other couples. They practice some hair raising moves such as a back flip where Kristi needs to give Mark a boost. It's dangerous and the crash pad gets a lot of use. Julianne Hough, who used to be Mark's dance partner, shows up to help out and show some lifts to Kristi. She gives good pointers and demonstrates some crazy lifts. Kristi is determined to beat the odds and become the first woman in four seasons to win the competition.
Their freestyle dance is to Workin' day and night, and they come out wearing pajamas and dressing robes which they both strip down to reveal heavily sequined Jive style pant outfits and Converse gym shoes. Right at the beginning they launch into some complicated looking lifts and turns, moonwalking, and fun funky moves. The back flip goes off without a hitch as does a crazy looking shoulder lift right after it and another lift where Kristi crawls up Mark's front, then down his back and comes between his legs. They end their dance sprawled on the floor amid deafening cheers from the audience. Bruno was amazed by the great fusion of Mambo and hip-hop, he felt it was demanding, difficult and for him it was worthy of the championship. Carrie says she was a big crowd pleaser, loved all the moves. Len, not a hip-hop lover, declares that this dance held his attention, it was slick, quick and full of energy and “absolutely loved it”. They earn 10s all the way for a total of 30 points for a final grand total of 60 points.
Kristi, I'm going to hop in the shower now.
Beach bod bingo
Edyta thinks that in order to make it, they can't hold back in the freestyle. They will use Jason's height to their advantage, by incorporating as many lifts, twists and tricks as they can. Practicing these lifts, however, looks painful on Edyta as Jason drops her repeatedly. She brings in Jason's wife and two little kids so they could practice with him and give him a pep talk. Their music is Miami by Will Smith. Both are dressed in cream and white, and Jason comes out bouncing a huge beach ball, then ripping a dress off of Edyta, leaving her wearing a skimpy bathing suit style outfit and a straw hat which is quickly discarded quickly. The stripping continues when Jason takes off his shirt, keeping a tank top on, as they hip-hop across the floor doing some big lifts and turns along the way. The ending is another lift and Jason's tank top comes off as well revealing an impressing amount of slick male chest real estate. The audience howls loudly, Len blushes and Jason sheepishly puts on a shirt before the judges weigh in. Carrie liked the ending, congratulates Edyta for making it to the finals finally. She loved the lifts and thought it was fantastic. Len was amazed by the lift and enjoyed the whole South Beach theme, saying something about a thong and a Speedo that you're better off not knowing about. Bruno says it was like watching two centerfolds dance, fun and funky with plenty of great lifts. Their scores are 9-9-9 for a total of 27 points and a grand total 51 points.
Give Daddy that shiny mirror ball trophy!
Still impaired and unable to use his left side, Cristian and Cheryl need to work around his problem and use the rest of his body to bring their freestyle dance to reality. Cristian is determined to put difficult moves into their routine but Cheryl would rather cut back. Their rehearsal is a mixed bag of pain, and determination. Cheryl even brings in her trophy to provide some inspiration for him. Dressed in lime and gold, with Cristian in a shiny unbuttoned vest, dancing to Suavamente they launch into their Latin flavored freestyle. Although they work some pretty good lifts with Cristian's right arm, the stiffness on the left side is still noticeable. All in all an enjoyable routine that ends with both of them sliding across the floor, but not an outlandish or superior freestyle offering. Len loved the Latin flavor but compared to the other competitors, the lifts were not quite spectacular enough. Bruno felt they did very well despite Cristian's one armed delivery. Carrie saw a winner despite the fact that she doesn't think they compared to Kristi and Mark. Their scores are 9-8-9 for a total of 26 points and 52 total points.
Cheryl, you're slipping!!
After both rounds of competition the standings are Kristi and Mark with 60 points, Cristian and Cheryl with 52 points and Jason and Edyta with 51 points. After another elimination Tuesday night and another round of dancing we will finally have our winner for the season. I have my fork ready and I conned lildago into buying the turkey.
Thanks to my fearless co-recapper lildago and my hordes and hordes of rabid devoted fans who deluged me with long squealing fan prose, pics of Maks to make up for his absence, all through the season and sent me expensive alcoholic beverages to dull the pain of interminable shows. Oh, okay, still waiting for those, but thanks for reading! Peace.