We started out with what seems like fifty celebs vying for the one and only cheeseball glitter trophy but now that we have finally come down to just three of them, my interest is waning. Okay, so it's non-existent at this point. It happens every season, you see, where I have a cynical start, I like absolutely nobody, then I snicker all season long at one pathetic famewhore or another convinced that I'll celebrate their ultimate fall from grace with wicked glee and a healthy dose of schadenfreude. Then something happens and it seems like whatever my annoyance was suddenly just... poof!, no longer matters anymore. In other words, I'm wiping the Dancing slate clean for this final performance night much like the show itself is doing. Or perhaps I'm just ready to “take the world in a love embrace”. Hmm, probably not. Let's get to it.
Tonight we have a three-way Paso Doble Faceoff and the much heralded Freestyle and you know it will be mega super fantastic epic extra incredibly special because Host Tom says so and I belive him since he's always so restrained...
Help, I need somebody's help!
As in previous seasons, each judge took some time out this past week to hop into a limo and meet with the finalists to dispense sage advice that will matter not one iota in the end, but let's pretend otherwise for a minute. Mostly because I feel duty bound to not fast forward through it all. I can be strange like that
once a yearsometimes.
Sadly interrupted by Len's phone call while lounging poolside somewhere, tanning his Speedo-clad self, Bruno is instructed to go help out Shawn and Mark. His best advice is that Shawn should go for something new with her Paso and “dance like a champion”. There seems to be more fire in Shawn during rehearsal so, I guess, the advice is working.
Next up to receive manna from judge heaven are Melissa and Tony. Carrie Ann descends on their rehearsal space and offers not just hands-on choreography help but tips for Melissa on how to barrel through the Paso and how to sideline all the ballet stuff in favor of more Ballroom intensity. They even practice Melissa charging on Carrie Ann, which is kind of funny. Perhaps I'm too easily amused today.
The big cheese himself, Len, visits with Gilles and Cheryl and says Gilles needs to forget about being hectic and just dominate. Everything else, he says, might be a disappointment. The hallowed tradition of Len dancing with the male star follows, Len works up a bit of a sweat and now we're on to the group rehearsal. They all coo about how they need to work together but still need outdo each other and how ready they all are for that. This part is extra short because, really, who wants to see them outdo each other without body glitter, sequins and two quarts of super hold gel in their hair.
We're on the 8th season of this show now but the music is still as horrible as ever. Can you imagine a Paso Doble danced to Pink's “So what?” Contemplate for a minute, then let that specific horror sink in. Now imagine having to dance to this thing. I like Pink but not for a Paso Doble. To their credit, the three couples make the most of the loser card they were dealt. They start out at the orchestra level behind walls of smoke and surrounded by hot lights before Shawn and Mark set out for their solo portion. Dressed in black and white, they tackle the Paso Doble and make as much of it as they can almost as if they were in a zone dancing to better music. Shawn is serious and energetic, projecting more toughness than in previous weeks although Shawn's back seems to be a bit stiff and maybe slightly hunched over even. Or maybe I'm just nitpicking.
Melissa and Tony are up next. They're wearing red and black, costumes that strongly remind me of the awesome black slightly bondage inspired outfits Mel and Maks wore for their great Paso routine a few seasons back. The glittery black bathing suit she wears and the killer black fishnets work well but the constant gratuitous leg lifts are back so that's a problem. Then she stumbles very visibly midway through a move, which disrupts their flow somewhat. Melissa shows more intensity than before and I even like the whole being dragged away by Tony thing they do at the end. Very matador-like.
Last to do their solo are Gilles and Cheryl who opted for a white matador-ish getup for Gilles that show of his fab abs – of course – and a white floral skirt and white sequined midriff baring top for Cheryl. They look white hot and the choreography is sharp and full of charge. The music detracts from the overall effect but Gilles is very good at projecting the passion past it. The whole performance closes with a brief ensemble moment and then they're off to be judged.
Len thought Shawn's part was full of excitement, he noted Melissa's mistake but felt they were convincing while he says Gilles' part had full-on intensity and none of that hectic feel from last week. Bruno commends all of them for working as a team and he thought they were all splendid. He says Melissa looked confident and Gilles like a leading man. Carrie Ann gushes that they're all incredible but did notice some things while comparing them side by side: she didn't feel Shawn's emotional commitment, loved the attack in Melissa and saw perfection in Gilles.
Their scores are: Shawn 9-9-10 = 28, Melissa 10-9-10 = 29 and Gilles 10-10-10 = 30.
Scream: The dance
For their Freestyle dance, Shawn and Mark practice loads of athletic stuff that Shawn is good at but she knows it's not all in the tricks. Then we get a truly squee-worthy moment when Apolo Anton Ohno shows up to offer them some winner's tips. He says that Shawn has that Olympic spirit edge that nobody else has and should work it fully.
Right off the bat, the trophy for weirdest Freestyle costume goes to these two when they show up in head to toe black jumpsuits, white sequined masks and white gloves, looking all scary and Eurotrash dance-club-edgy at the same time. They do some moves up in front of the orchestra for a few seconds, like a pair of horror movie serial killers dancing merrily to the beat before finally stripping off the weird jumpsuits to reveal a lime green tiger striped bra top for Shawn and a shirt for Mark putting an end to my visions of blood squirting out of gaping knife wounds. What follows is pure energy set to Do your thing from Basement Jaxx. This freestyle has lifts galore, athletic moves, jumps, throws and even a smattering of dance steps. As Freestyles go, I've seen better but this works and it's right up Shawn's alley. The audience, including several former DWTS stars, are on their feet and the judges are smiling.
Bruno screams that Shawn is going for gold with an explosive performance. Carrie thought it was flawless, energetic and precise. Len loved their drive, the fun and the precision. After all that drooling from the judges, they get all 10s for a total of 30 points.
Okay, I did say that I was wiping the slate clean here but then Host Tom starts yapping again about how Melissa came on the show with “just two days of training”. Can we not stop with that crap already? It's old news. But Melissa wants to win, badly she says, and Tony is still mad from his finale loss from Season 1 so they're going all out. In the midst of some involved lifts and throws, Melissa manages to smack Tony in the right eye giving him a nice big bruise. She then quips that he cracked her rib and she broke his eye. Ughh.
After all that drama – a constant with these two, it seems – we're on to their routine. I don't know what it is, whether it's this Zen place I'm coming from for the last couple of weeks, or Dancing fatigue and total saturation that's got me losing my dismissive edge, but when their music comes on and it's C&C Music Factory's Gonna make you sweat I'm suddenly paying attention to Melissa. Weird, I know. I even like their costumes, in all their black everything-ness and sequined bra, zippered pants, chains-all-over hip-hopped glory. Well, at least they go a long way toward erasing the memory of that aqua Disney mermaid from hell look she had going on the first show.
The routine plays up to Melissa's strengths: Hip-hop style butt shaking and pumped up 90s dance club swagger infused with showy throws and loads of rhythm. A bit cheerleader-ish and fragmented in places, but I'm now convinced she can neither help that nor does she know how to get rid of it, but all in all, this was the best they've been all season.
Carrie Ann loved their attitude, their attack and commitment but feels the choreography was a bit disjointed. Len didn't quite get it and would've rather seen ballet elegance. Really? Bruno liked the lifts but agrees with Carrie Ann and thinks it wasn't quite perfect enough for a final dance. Hah! They built her up and now down she comes. You can practically see the script saying “De-pimp her, now !!” Their scores are all 9s for a total of 27 points. Figures that the one routine they've ever done that I actually like, gets a sound smackdown.
What a good-weird retro feeling!
Last to dance tonight are Gilles and Cheryl. Coming off of a pretty good week in which Gilles reached a perfect score of 60, you'd think the man would be more confident. However, he says he feels like an underdog. Hmm, now this is seemingly hard to believe but he has a point: Shawn is a gymnast who can do crazy tricks and Melissa's got the whole cheerleader angle she can work. Cheryl tries to pump him up by saying that both of her winning routines showcased personality over athleticism. Even so, they practice lifts although it's not going so smoothly. Or at least they try but then Gilles' shoulder acts up again and he gets a doctor to come by and apply a patch on him. Wasn't there a production assistant available to do that? Next season some star will probably be shown undergoing brain surgery before the finale right in the rehearsal room. They're shameless!
Their music is another old time favorite, the iconic 80s dance tune from Flashdance called What a feeling. It doesn't take much to make me happy about a Gilles routine but a pair of ripped jeans, a slashed black T-shirt on him and a short hot pink sequined Flashdance-y looking thing on Cheryl complete with legwarmers is about as retro-awesome as you could ever get on this show costume-wise.
The choreography is clever but some of the lifts look a bit strained and of course it's Cheryl getting thrown around, not Gilles.
Len thought it was slick, sexy and loved the slow section they had at the start and thinks this proved Gilles is a great dancer. Bruno felt it was all retro-fun but wanted a bit more dancing. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno and she feels they made an odd choice, Flashdance being all about Alex – a girl - strutting her stuff. Their scores are 9-10-9 for a total of 28 points.
Well, that's it for me for this season. Tuesday night the final two will dance for supremacy, or actually just judges' scores, and somebody will have a new shiny prop to put on top of their toilet tank. Should be fun.
Thanks to all my millions of wonderful readers. Please stop sending me Valium and cheap vodka in the mail. Summer is coming, I'm already in a 12 step Dancing recovery program and I'm working through my many DWTS related issues. Namaste.