I can’t believe we’ve already reached the finals of Dancing With the Stars. Last week, we said goodbye to Chad and found out which three couples would be competing in the finals. This week, each pair will perform a “redemption dance” chosen by the judges – i.e. they will get a second chance at a dance they had trouble with earlier in the season – and a freestyle routine where anything goes. As we’ve seen in past seasons, the freestyle really could go either way. We could see another show-stopper like Drew and Cheryl’s “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” or we could end up with a head-scratcher like Marie and Jonathan’s living doll catastrophe.
In other news, Brooke seems to have lost a fight with a teasing comb. I’ve managed to say very little about Brooke this season, but really, I never thought anyone would make me miss Samantha Harris. At the beginning of the season, Brooke was stilted and awkward, but I hoped she would improve. No such luck. I actually liked Brooke before this season started, but now it’s time to vote her off the island. My choice for Tom’s sidekick next season: Drew Lachey. You know he wouldn’t constantly utter phrases like “Thank you for sharing that with us.” Enough about Brooke and her inadequacies. Let’s get on to the dancing!
Erin and Maks
In rehearsal, Bruno arrives to help Erin and Maks with the Samba, which will be their redemption dance. Erin is nervous about it, but Bruno says they can win this – just need to get it into her head that she can actually do it. As Bruno coaches them, he gives Erin tips on how to move her hips better. When she succeeds, he cries “Look at your ass!” Erin admits she needs to suck it up and sell it.
When Erin and Maks hit the dance floor, he immediately starts taking his shirt off only to have Erin stop him and put it back on. Len is probably the only one who really appreciated that. Honestly, the costume designer on this show must hate me. Their costumes are so orange that my poor little picture tube is crying. They look like an orange blur. Still, it’s easy to see that Erin is having a great time out there. She and Maks are interacting and having fun with each other. Plus, Erin definitely freed up her hips. They finish the routine up with the judges, where they both give Len a big kiss on his cheek.
Len says Maks just fulfilled one of his dreams: he’s always wanted to be kissed by a man with a beard to see if it prickles. Um, yeah. Oversharing there, dude. Len acknowledges that the demands of the finals are so much more. He thanks Maks for keeping his shirt on and says the improvement from the last samba Erin and Maks performed is terrific. Bruno says his head is still shaking from watching Erin’s hips move. Carrie Ann says this dance was all about redemption. Erin just moved herself up three notches with that dance. The movements were sharp and crisp and her confidence was there.
Carrie Ann: 10
Bruno: 9…he’s probably jealous that Maks kissed Len instead
Evan and Anna
Len arrives at rehearsal to help Evan and Anna with their redemption dance. They’ll be performing the Viennese Waltz, which is the dance they performed in week 1. The judges felt they didn’t show any chemistry in that dance, so Len is there to help Evan to focus on Anna in the dance, instead of just focusing on the choreography. Evan says he want to bring everything from last 10 weeks to the dance floor tonight.
Evan and Anna dance their Viennese Waltz to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and, seriously, I don’t need to hear this song again on this show. Ever. The dance itself is lovely and elegant and there’s definitely more of a connection between them than there was the first week. This is again proof that Evan should just wear a tux with tails everywhere he goes. Not many men can pull off that look. I have to say, it’s just so nice to see Anna in the finals. She looks so happy.
Bruno says the dance had fluidity and lyricism. They were very good in hold and had a good connection: it was smiling and romantic and sweet. Carrie Ann says that the last time Evan and Anna performed the Viennese Waltz, they had a lot of problems. This time, all the problems were gone. It was enchanting. Len says it had grace and elegance and lots of movement. Unfortunately, with so much movement, Evan’s standing leg collapsed a bit at times. Overall, it was wonderful.
Carrie Ann: 10
Nicole and Derek
Apparently, Nicole has the highest point total for any celebrity ever on the show. Hold back your surprise. Carrie Ann chose the Rumba as Nicole and Derek’s redemption dance since Nicole’s nerves took over when they performed the Rumba the first time – she was so nervous that her ankles were quivering. When she visits Nicole and Derek in rehearsal, Carrie Ann tells Nicole that she wants to see some vulnerability with Derek and urges Nicole to just let herself go.
Nicole and Derek perform their Rumba to “The Lady in Red,” which is a song I HATE. Never have I wanted to mute a song this much….and I watched Miley Cyrus last week. It’s sexy and smooth and very good, although Nicole’s sexy face is a bit frightening….it’s almost as scary as Derek’s sexy face. I think that was a lift at the end there as he picks her up and carries her off. I’m sure Carrie Ann will flip a switch over that.
Carrie Ann, as predicted, goes off about the lift, which Derek says was after the music ended. Carrie Ann says that she was listening to the music to be sure and they did the lift before the song finished. Still, she thought the routine was mesmerizing. The only way for Nicole to grow any further in this competition was to become more vulnerable and she did that. Len loved the subtlety of the choreography, but still felt Nicole lacked a bit of confidence. Overall though, it was great. Bruno rambles on about eroticism, sensuality and romance. Long story short: He liked it.
Carrie Ann: 9
Erin and Maks
Maks says he wants their freestyle to be different so they can set themselves apart from Evan and Nicole. They’ve decided to take a risk with a contemporary lyrical freestyle. Maks decides they need some help from an expert, so he calls in choreographer Mandy Moore, who many viewers will recognize from So You Think You Can Dance. Maks tells us that this dance will be very passionate and emotional and will tell the story of his and Erin’s relationship.
Well, if this dance is supposed to tell the story of their relationship, then I’d say they’ve answered the questions about whether they’re dating or not. Dancing to “Alone” by Heart, Erin and Maks begin the routine upstage on a couch upstage and then quickly move downstage to a bed. It’s much closer to something you’d see on SYTYCD than on this show and all I can think is that Len is going to hate this. There’s quite a bit of rolling around on the bed and Maks spinning Erin around. It’s not very dance-y, but is very hot. I wish Erin had pointed her feet a bit more but, on the whole, she handled the choreography well and the lifts they did were very good.
Len says the freestyle is all about risk and reward and, in part, they pulled it off. It was a mix of emotion and commotion. He liked it, but didn’t love it. Bruno calls it a psycho drama and says Erin really put her heart into it. If that isn’t a back-handed compliment, I don’t know what is. He says some of the steps they pulled off were incredible. Carrie Ann thinks it was a perfect choice for them and they did Mandy’s choreography very well, although they had one flub on the bed. Maks counters that this isn’t the bed they practiced on, much to Erin’s mortification.
Carrie Ann: 9
Evan and Anna
Evan tells us being in the finals is about taking risks. He and Anna are working together on choreographing their freestyle routine and they pretty much disagree about everything. He shoots down her ideas saying they just won’t cut it for the finals. In the midst of an argument, he has to leave to go to the rink and Anna begins to cry. She admits she’d rather do 100 other dances than do one freestyle. Anna states the obvious – they both hit the wall this week. Because they both want to do their best, Anna brings in Bobby Newberry, who Anna thinks will help them polish their routine and mesh their styles.
Evan and Anna dance their freestyle to “Footloose” and it’s just…..odd. It’s kind of a combination of Broadway and jive and it’s a bit messy and all over the place. The costume designer just needs to be shot. No one should ever wear a short sleeved white dress shirt with a tie unless they’re selling ice cream at a soda fountain in 1955. Plus, considering the problems Evan has had this season with pointing his feet, the white shoes were probably not the best idea. Still, Evan and Ann look like they had fun and that’s a good thing.
Bruno says they really went for it and calls the whole thin “demented.” It was either Footloose or Screwloose. We all know Evan wants this badly, but he lost some precision in his enthusiasm. Carrie Ann says, although she hates to do this, it was odd. In the side-by-side dancing, they really need to match their lines and that didn’t happen. They had great energy. Len says that they took the path of least resistance: it wasn’t what Evan wanted to do, or what Anna wanted to do……or what Len wanted to see.
Carrie Ann: 8
Nicole and Derek
Derek say their freestyle will be non-stop and high-octane from start to finish. They’ll be doing some lifts he’s never tried before and he’s a bit nervous. Still, he wants to give Nicole the best chance to win.
Set to “A Little Less Conversation,” Nicole and Derek’s freestyle is fast and non-stop, but it’s also just odd. They begin the routine in matching suits and then strip down to costumes that are predominantly bright chartreuse green, including the shoes. What’s with the bad footwear tonight? I spend most of the routine watching Nicole’s bright green feet and nothing else. I’m not saying they aren’t good dancers, it’s just that there are just so many different styles that it’s a bit frenetic. There’s a mistake at the end with a lift when Derek just can’t get Nicole onto his shoulder and almost dumps her on the floor. There went what was likely a perfect score.
Carrie Ann says this is the freestyle they’ve been waiting for. It was fantastic except for the slip on that last lift. Len saw the Lindy hop, Salsa, Jive, Quickstep and a fun, fantastic freestyle. Bruno praises Derek’s creativity and says it was incredible and technically superb. There was a slip at the end, but it was because what they were doing is so difficult.
Carrie Ann: 9
Stay tuned for the Grand Finale, where we’ll find out who takes home that tacky mirror ball trophy!