By Amy Watts
10:00 AM EDT, May 23, 2012
Tom opens calling it the "hardest fought season ever." I'm not sure about that, but I will say that this is one with a lot of strong competitors, few loathsome personalities, and a satisfying final three.
It starts with the pro dancers (the "real" pro dancers, not just the troupe) dancing to a song I would probably know if I were 20 years younger, but I'm not and the only 16-year-old in this house is a cat. At the end of the song, we get the pros walking the floor with their celebrity partners. finishing with the three finalists at the top of the stairs. Streamers!
Footage from last night: I remain unconvinced that William has a personality that would entertain me in the least. It's fun to hear Bruno cheering Katherine and Mark on during their Paso Doble. It's true: the judges really want the couples to succeed. During Donald and Peta's freestyle, Bruno looks very very worried about one of the lifts. Peta high fives Donald and then shakes her hand afterward from the force of it. Ha! She's not a lineman, Donald.
Encore dance is Donald and Peta's freestyle, which, yeah, NO DUH. They even got Cowboy Troy back to sing again. Good gracious, that one move they do that's basically a jumping squat? They must both have thighs that could crack walnuts. This is really just such a fun routine, jam-packed, fast, daring and thrilling.
In a clip package, the judges sum up the contestants: William's a hunk that revs up the ladies. Katherine makes beautiful lines, but is maybe a bit tightly wound. Donald is a crowd favorite with good physique and posture. Len, with a straight face, compares this finale to the battle of Gettysburg, Bunker Hill, and the Alamo. Give that man an acting Emmy.
Sherri Shepherd is back to dance the cha cha to "It's Raining Men" with several of the male pros. If you like Sherri's shtick, look up the clip from rehearsal.
We get more clips from the season, sort of a greatest hits. I guess this is for people with poor memories or who only tune in to the final? Oh, no, wait, it's so they can sell advertising for 2 hours instead of just one. Gotcha.
Brooke is backstage with the three couples as they rehearse their 24-hour-dance. Everybody's in neon and it's painful on the eyes. We find out, shockingly, that William and Cheryl will be doing a salsa.
They welcome back Martina & Tony and Jack & Anna. Martina looks exactly like a contestant eliminated after only two dances. Jack is too sexy for his shirt as he and Anna reprise their samba.
This is a very green show tonight, what with all the recycled footage.
Gavin and Karina are back. Gavin's sporting some scruff and gets to dance with four women instead of just one for the first part of the song. It's worth it to get kicked off, eh? Ah, at the end he's dancing with all four again. See, if you put four beautiful women around him, his dancing starts to look a lot better.
Backstage again and we find out Katherine and Mark will be doing a jive, which they last did in Week 2. Jaleel joins several of the pros to dance to "Shaft." It's kind of a cool routine and Jaleel looks like he's having more fun than he did most weeks on the show.
Melissa Gilbert is back with "The Dancing Chmerkovskiys" to perform their trio dance again. The twist this time is that it ends with the boys putting their hands on her bottom, instead of her putting a hand on each of theirs.
Roshon and Chelsie are back to do a freestyle, which is Roshon's background, so this could be a lot of fun. In his solo moment, Roshon does some moves that make it look like he doesn't have a bone in his body — totally noodly!
Kelly Clarkson's on hand to do a medley of "Stronger" and her new single "Dark Side." Kelly and Tom banter afterwards and I think Tom's positioning himself as "Cool dad" to a lot of young Hollywood.
Derek and Maria are performing their Argentine tango, which was my personal favorite of their routines, so I'm happy to see it again.
So we get teasers for next fall's All-Stars season - they'll be bringing back "champions, finalists, fan favorites, and controversial characters." I hope it's mostly the first two categories and very few of the latter. We're told we can go to abc.com to say who we want — can I vote for who I don't want?
William and Cheryl are on to do their last scored dance, a salsa to the music they received last night. It's not reinventing any sort of wheel in what works for William, but that's because Cheryl's no dummy. His exuberant fans chant his name through most of Len's comments. That's just rude — stop it. All the judges like it.
Carrie Ann: 10
As if there was any doubt.
Katherine and Mark are jiving to "Splish Splash." Of course Mark takes a jive routine as an excuse to bust out a breakdance move that pulls the spotlight entirely on to him while Katherine's in the background. That's the thing I dislike most about Mark - how often he needlessly pulls focus from the star he's supposed to be supporting. Bruno and Carrie Ann liked it, Len calls Katherine "the complete package."
Carrie Ann: 10
Knock me over with a feather.
Donald and Peta up now with their cha cha, and Donald loves us because he gets the shirt off almost immediately. Aside from him being an attractive man, I kind of enjoy watching how a well-muscled body moves while executing these dance moves. It's like a lesson in anatomy and how our bodies work. Guess what? Guess what? The judges like it. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10, Len: 10, Bruno: 10. My jaw is on the floor.
Gladys Knight is here to sing "The Way We Were" - hush now, y'all, I'm gonna listen. Donald is FEELING it. Katherine is about to bawl - whether from seeing the images projected on the screen or just general nerves getting the best of her.
Third place: William and Cheryl. HOLY EXPLETIVE! I didn't expect that AT ALL. Aw, they show William's little boy and he seems to be crying. It's OK, kid; Dad's still hot and will have even more fans coming out of this than he came in with.
So who wins the Mirror Ball trophy? Katherine really looks like she might cry or throw up or both. DONALD AND PETA WIN! And Donald goes ABSOLUTELY nuts — flinging himself literally around the stage in joy. Trophy, streamers! Donald's beautiful wife and cute, cute kids! Donald's littlest looks upset by all the noise. But she's dressed in hot pink like Dad and STILL ADORABLE.
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