How better to close out a monster of a season that featured the most couples to date, the oldest and the youngest competitor, the longest shows and ever-increasing harebrained ideas such as the introduction of four ho-hum dances, than with a monster two hour extravaganza of a show? Of course they could just announce the winner in a nice compact 30 minute show and save us all the pain of seeing Cloris again but since when has Dancing showed any restraint or inclination for mercy?
Between the recaps, the special guests, more recaps and all the sequins you can stare at, this is going to be one gluttonous hog of a show. Get a glass – or better yet, a whole bottle – of wine/vodka/whatever and let's get to it before it's time to collect on Social Security benefits.
After a night of freestyles, all three couples are ready for one final dance of their choice tonight. Tom and Jerry are ready as well with all the half-baked jokes and inane banter they can read off of their cue cards. I also sense a bit of giddiness coming from both of them. Perhaps the prospect of taking a break from all the cheese just brings a smile to their faces too. Now, let's get to the filler, shall we?
Even though the producers managed to bolt the studio doors and succeeded in keeping her out after her elimination, I guess it was inevitable that Cloris would be back for the finale episode. Turns out Cloris has been sleeping in a cardboard box ever since they booted her off the show – haha, but now she is back to interview poor unsuspecting passersby about who they want to win. Predictably, we find out nothing new but three whole minutes of show time have been wasted which, I guess, was the actual point. Oh, well. There's more filler where that came from though.
Alicia Keys is first up to provide some diversion and she gives it a try. I truly hope this wasn't her best though. With four dancers, background singers, a full band and a lot of mileage covered around the dance floor, you'd think there was no need to fast forward even a bit through her segment. You'd be wrong. I endured about 30 seconds before it became apparent that this song called “I need you” is not only completely boring but totally devoid of melody and style. What the hell was she thinking? On a happier note, I did spy Renee Russo in the audience. Glad she's still around.
Fifteen minutes in and not a second of dancing so far. Now we're into the sweet nostalgia phase where Dancing reminisces fondly about contestants past, some memorable and some not so much. Who was that dude with the permanent five o'clock shadow, Jeff somebody? I can't recall and I don't care enough to look him up but even he makes the recap segment. As the first three eliminated couples dance the Quickstep, Foxtrot and Mambo, I can't help but be happy that: a) they got eliminated when they did, and b) that I don't remember who they are. Selective amnesia is bliss. It is my duty however to tell you that they were Jeffrey Ross, Ted McGinley and Kim Kardashian and they all suck just as bad as they did when they competed. Kim's Mambo to “Baby Got Back” is particularly atrocious, but at least she's consistently wooden in her delivery. I spy some more butt shaking but that's about it.
After the commercial break another recap brings back
unwantedmemories of the early rounds of competition, including Misty's dramatic injury. She and Maks are back to talk to Tom and Jerry. Misty is able to walk now and says she's itching to get back on the dance floor eventually while Maks is rooting for everybody to win. Yes, but does he want to see some more of those losers who got booted a long time ago? Nobody consulted him, I bet.
Rocco DiSpirito is back with Karina and a Mambo that's just as bad as it was when he first danced it, even as Karina is just as good as I remember her. Lucky for him there are no scores tonight. As bad as Rocco's Mambo it's not nearly as bad as an entire segment on Cloris chronicling her entire painfully embarrassing stint on Dancing. From the cleavage, the leg lifts, the cheap dramatics to the eyeball scorching “dance” moves that defied description, it's all recalled again. Damn them! Just when I almost managed to forget...
Just in case you were wondering, Toni Braxton will be on the Dancing tour dancing and singing. Two birds with one stone, I guess. She is not doing any of it tonight, due to some recent surgery she had, but she and Alec are both looking very good. Especially Alec. I just had to throw that in there because I wouldn't want to deprive anybody of that vital piece of information. Because I have everybody's best interests in mind (as well as my own) I would, however, like to deprive you of descriptions of the following bit which is Clorky's Tango. Just imagine a train heading straight for you at 100 miles an hour while you're tied to the tracks. Your life is flashing before your eyes and then... whoosh!! It's all over. Well, that's Clorky's Tango in a nutshell, minus that whole merciful whoosh part at the end. Oh, okay it's not their worst ever dance but I'm still glad when it's over and Cloris manages to show a lot of restraint buy not exposing any body parts or putting her leg up on the judges' table.
We're now more than 45 minutes into the show with no end in sight. Susan and Toni are back for a sedate a Paso Doble, Maurice and Cheryl Salsa once more and we get more flashbacks, this time to week 7 and 8 of the competition. Before we can move on to some actual content, Jeffrey Ross – the dude with the five o'clock shadow – is back to roast some of the competition. Yeah, compelling stuff. I'd really like to tell you about it buy I had to go mash some sweet potatoes for tomorrow – I'm a big fan of early prep - and I missed it all. Oops. But I hear it was hilarious.
Somehow I thought we were done with the loser dances, but it seems I forgot about Cody the Man. He and Julianne are doing their Lucy and Desi Jitterbug which is fun but I'm now growing impatient and I couldn't care less. Still an hour to go and they've dispatched a lot of the filler I was expecting which is good and bad. What kind of padding do they have left?
The last re-dance
The three finalists are about to dance their final dances, with Warren going first. After a long journey on the show, Warren and Kym bring on their Hustle which is as much fun as it was the first time around. Compliments come from all the judges, as you might imagine with Len saying that he's the people's favorite, Bruno commending their fun and Carrie calling him inspirational. Their scores are 9-9-9 for a total of 27 points. Their total with last night's scores is 80 out of 90 points.
Lance and Lacey, the edgy kids you know, have had their share of good and bad times but Lance is happy to have found a new great friend and self confidence. Aww! Their last dance is the Jitterbug, the one with the sailor and his girl. They have a lot of energy and the dance is fun, maybe a little too much fun. All the hoopla and acrobatics are overwhelming and technically difficult, and the audience is on their feet. The judges, who are not about to trash a performance at this last stage of the competition, are complimentary. Bruno says they had flair and panache, Carrie saw some struggle but was inspired and Len thinks he deserves to be in the finals. Their scores are 9-9-10 for a total of 28 points tonight and 81 in total.
Brooke and Derek have had an amazing -drink! - time on the show. Brooke discovered that she has a dancer's body, Derek discovered that he had a good chance of making the finals and together they discovered that they make a good pairing. Their last Viennese Waltz is as good as it was a few weeks ago when they first got all 10s for it. The judges still love them too. Carrie says Brooke is a star and says they deserve the trophy. Len thinks she's amazing and Bruno calls Brooke the “jewel in the crown of this great finale”. Everybody is a bit emotional and Brooke's husband even starts crying in the audience. Their scores are all 10s for a total of 30 and a grand total of 88 points.
All hail the conquering dancer
With the final dances thus dispatched, it's time to send somebody home in third place and it's quickly announced that Lance and Lacey are it. Well, that's what happens when you let the viewers vote who couldn't tell a good dancer from a goat to save their lives. But now Lance is gone and Miley Cyrus is here screaming mercilessly into her microphone, prancing about with half a dozen dancers dressed in black and white and generally putting on a scream of a performance that only a preteen could enjoy.
Backstage, the two finalist couples take a few minutes to tell each other how fabulous they all are and how much they love each other. Meanwhile, Tom wastes a few more minutes to suck up to all the dearly eliminated stars as we're one more commercial or two away from the final big announcement.
Indeed, as soon as we're back from the break the dramatic Dacing music plays ominously as the final two are facing each other. The winner is finally announced and it's Brooke and Derek who look happy but not particularly surprised. Brooke says she can't believe it, Derek claims he can't believe it either, but I can't believe he can't believe it. Amazingly, ABC doesn't cut away as everyone starts celebrating and the confetti falls over the ballroom and the happy winners are carried on shoulders.
After a season filled with more drama than a soap opera episode and a Lifetime movie combined, after a lot of mediocre dancing and even more bad dancing, it's good to see that the best technical dancer won the second time in a row. The law of averages says that next season somebody with two left feet who is a former football dancer needs to win again, you know, to reestablish order in the universe. I'm looking forward to it. No, really, I am.
Thanks to my millions of readers who have deluged me with messages of love all season. Thanks to my tireless partner in crime, MotherSister, whom I successfully conned into co-recapping with me.