Closure. After ten weeks of ballroom professionals teaching neophyte celebrity dancers, the results of this intensive dance lab are in. By the end of the show we will know who, through scores and votes, will hold up the Mirror Ball Trophy. A cheesy reward, to be sure, but won through so much sturm and drang. A season swirling in controversy is finally a Finale.
In an opening speech overlaid by scenes of the Final Three and their journeys, Tom waxes both nostalgic and confident; much like a commander at the end of a campaign. As such, it should be commemorated.
Fourteen weeks ago three individuals from very different backgrounds embarked on a similar journey; each facing an identical challenge. One entered the contest with a fearless exuberance. The next never expected to be a contestant, but with the weight of the audience behind her, discovered that barrier can be broken. For the last, expectations were impossibly high; to emerge from the shadow of an iconic role would be a challenge. It seemed that greatness would come at a great cost. But, with every expectation, these three, better than anyone else, know what they needed to do. What they didn’t know was – would it be enough. In the end three very different paths have led these three contenders to the same destination. Now they each find themselves within striking distance of realizing their goal. When the dances are done and the votes are tallied, one will stand above the rest; and in that instant the champion will realize what they did was indeed enough.
All right. Maudlin Tom brought tears to my eyes, but that won’t last as the music strikes up and the Pros of Season 11 dance their way down the stairs. Except for Michael Bolton, still in London, and Audrina who is recovering from an illness, all eliminated contestants join their Pro partners for a grand opening number. Then the Final Three make their first appearance on the upper stage behind the swirling dancers and Tom and Brooke finally feel the need to welcome us to Dancing With the *Stars*, The Finale.
In a night of recapping journeys, another one follows where last night’s routines are shown as well as encouragements between the pros and dancers and some tough talk including Bristol’s one fingered stand against her haters.
Tom comes back to explain the scoring system in reaction to all the talk. “Once the judges have given their scores, we work out each couple’s share of the total points the judges gave. We add this share to the share each couple received of your votes and the couple with the highest total is the winner.”
He then calls Jennifer Grey to center stage to discuss her recent medical problem and how it may effect her dancing this evening. She says that during a routine last night she ruptured a spinal disc, but this morning went to the hospital and a doctor fixed her up. She is going to soldier through both dances tonight.
Tom: I’d say break a leg, but the way things are going, I won’t.
Okay –enough talk! Let’s get on with the first true filler of the night. The movie Burlesque premiers this week and Christina Aquilera is here to promote it by singing one of the songs, “Show Me How You Burlesque.” The theme is gold for the costumes and a Burlesque café for the set. The song is beautifully sung and danced – a wonderful opening in a filler filled show.
Tom comes back to set up how the night will play out for the competition. “There are two final rounds left for our couples to complete their judges’ scores. First they’ll be ranked by the judges on their favorite routine. Then an Instant Cha-Cha Challenge for which the music has yet to be revealed.
In the first portion of our competition, the judges will be ranking our *Stars* - comparing them to one another, back to back. They will use their 10/9/8 paddles only once.”
Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer (Schmurgles) Favorite Ballroom Dance: the Tango to “If I Had You” Adam Lambert
Kyle: Before the Tango, we were really on a scoring roller coaster. The Tango was the turning point. It was that week that things took a turn for the better.
Lacey: There is a lot more pressure now that we are being ranked. So not only do we have to dance well, but also show that we can do better than Bristol and Jennifer.
Carrie Ann: I’m so glad you chose the Tango because it shows you can be poised and powerful, in control. What I love about the both of you is that you bring expression to the floor.
Len: Kyle – I tell you what – you’ve come out with such a great attitude. You came out – go for the win. You’re not worried about getting it wrong, you’re not thinking play it safe. You come out, straight out, full on…well done.
Bruno: Kyle – you really are a talented young man. You really have the power to connect with the viewers. You’re a stage animal and you really are a great professional because after we tell you something, you come back and improve and that is a great attitude to have in this business.
Scores Dance 1: CA 9 Len 8 Bruno 9 for a total of 26
Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas (Ballin) Favorite Ballroom Dance: the Tango to “According to You” Orianthi
Bristol and Mark decide to do their Tango from Rock Week and also decide to break hold as they did the first time when they played air guitar. Bristol feels she could let loose and, at the time, it was worth the point that was docked.
Bristol: Our fans got us to the Finale and I don’t want to let them down. I’m going for all 10s.
Carrie Ann: Out of all the dances, this was my favorite. It showed your core strength. There is new command, but it was even bigger and broader this time. Congratulations.
Len: You and Kyle are two sides of the same coin. He’s got the wow, and you’ve got the how. It’s just what do you prefer and there you are.
Bruno: This is the dance that showed us Bristol, the fighter. You’ve earned your place in the finale with this. You’ve always been a clean dancer, but your performance level with this Tango.
Scores Dance 1: CA 8 Len 9 Bruno 8 for a total of 25
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough (Jenougher) Favorite Ballroom Dance: the Viennese Waltz to “These Arms of Mine” Otis Redding
Jennifer and Derek agree to do the Viennese Waltz because it brings them full circle from the first dance to the last. The first time they danced it, Jennifer felt very close to Patrick Swayze because the music is from the movie they did together. This time she feels very close to Derek because they’ve been through a lot.
Carrie Ann: I’m so glad you chose this dance because it is so nice to see the full journey that you made. The first time you did it, there was this sentimental quality, but tonight when you did it, there was a new wisdom in your body. I love the way you allowed the dance to happen and the magic.
Len: In the midst of ease and elegance, there is an irresistible force. You are the complete package.
Bruno: Quality of movement, artistry, musicality all combine to make a blissfully beautiful waltz.
Scores Dance 1: CA 10 Len 10 Bruno 10 for a total of 30
Now that the first dances have been ranked, it is time to move into the second half of the show. A half that includes eliminated contestants, moment lists and more Christina Aquilera; as well as the Instant Cha-Cha Challenge and the crowning of the Winner.
The Final Three Pros give us their reviews of each other and we learn that Mark and Derek are each going for their third win, while Lacey would like to win just to rub it in their faces.
Cute comedy bits re-introduce us to this season’s *Stars*.
The Hoff can’t get away from his loser status and the honor of being the first eliminated, no matter where he goes. His angst drives him from the beach, in full Baywatch garb, back to the studio where he lands on stage singing and dancing with babes. Male fantasies rule the night.
Kurt and Rick square off as two athletes of different sports usually don’t, but this includes dancing, so…After a lot of trash talk, they end it on the dance floor with a dance battle to “Eye of the Tiger.”
Margaret and Florence, dubbed the Fun Ladies, have fun with a Latin dance where multi-colored streamers fall from the rafters.
The Situation indulges in his own fantasy of being all powerful yet can’t find satisfaction and needs one last dance. With Karena he makes his entrance on the stage through the Time Machine they used in their futuristic Paso Doble. Like the Hoff, he is surrounded by beautiful women and manages to ditch the shirt so everyone can view the Sitch.
Aww…this is my fantasy; Brandy and Maks reprise their lollipop Quickstep in such a lovely manner as to bring the crowd to its feet in a standing ovation delight.
Enough with the sighs and giggles; Tom must bring us back with a pedantic section of the show: The Lists.
Most Dramatic Moments of the Last 10 Weeks:
1. Jennifer’s emotional breakdown when the music for the first waltz is revealed.
2. Maks and Brandy having words in rehearsal.
3. The Situation dropping Karena on a couch.
4. Audience boos that the press reported were aimed at Sarah Palen when they actually were aimed at Jennifer and Derek’s low judging scores.
5. The Situation complaining about the unfairness of being scored low and walking out of the kiss and tell booth.
6. Derek and Jennifer having a blowup over his temper and the semantics of temper.
7. Jennifer’s injuries.
8. Bristol’s homesick breakdown in the kiss and tell booth.
9. Maks and Carrie Ann’s biting words.
Most Memorable and Surprising Moments:
1. The Hoff elimination
2. The dog house
3. Eating of the onion
4. The Time Machine
5. Florence displaying her bra and her seductive side.
6. Steve-O distracting Kyle with horns and nudity.
7. The Audrina Elimination
8. The Rick Fox Elimination
9. The Brandy Elimination
Christina Aquilera returns to sing her song, “Beautiful” and that it is. In a foggy atmosphere non-show dancers surround her platform and not only dance, but use sign language to interpret the song. It is haunting, unique and beautifully done.
While all of this frivolity has been taking place, the couples have been rehearsing their Instant Cha-Cha-Chas to the song, “Raise Your Glass” by Pink, which was revealed at the end of the first round. Also at the end of the first round, they drew from the mirror bowl for their dance order. The judges rankings for the first round are also announced.
To give the couples a few extra minutes to prepare for the stage, Len, Carrie Ann and Bruno give us another recap – this time the *Stars* dancing strengths in what Len calls the battle for the Mirror Ball.
It is time for the Instant Cha-Cha Challenge and the three couples stand in anticipation on the upper stage as Tom introduces their order and says more stuff. The three will dance for a certain amount of time then, while the music continues to play, the next couple jumps into the dance and the previous couple leaves the floor. All the women are dressed in Latin fringe and off we go…First out on the floor is Kyle with Lacey, then Jennifer and Derek and the dance ends with the solo by Bristol and Mark. When the music stops all three couples huddle in the middle of the floor with hugs and breath catching.
Tom: The dances of Season 11 are history!
The couples line up in front of the judges who each comment on the dances then head to the celebriquarium for their scores.
They return to the upper stage to await their fate. Tom tells us the final judges’ scores for the night:
These scores along with the audience votes from the performance show will reveal the winner.
As the heart-beat drum seems to go on forever, Tom finally announces that Bristol and Mark are eliminated in third place. There is another recap of their journey and statements such as…it was a great experience, etc.
The final two couples join Tom on the dance floor and once again the heart-beat drum drums up nerves and eats up many seconds as Tom holds his breath. He lets it out in a loud exclamation: The Winner of Season 11 is . . . Jennifer Grey!
Gold confetti dumps from the rafters as cheering and screaming fill them back up. Mark hoists Derek on his shoulders and Kyle helps Jennifer settle on Corky’s. The Mirror Ball Trophy is held high for all to admire, and with that, it is over. Closure.