Before the live finale, there's a recap show called "Road to the Finale." I'd completely forgotten about Sean. It almost certainly has to be Amy or Meryl winning later tonight, but I think it's too close to call. Meryl is the better dancer, but Amy's dancing with the prosthetics is so amazing to watch and she has Derek for a partner, no small factor when it comes to winning.
It's an all-ladies finale tonight. Meryl Davis, Candace Cameron Bure and Amy Purdy are shown first in the dance intro, then the judges, then the other contestants this season. Aw, man. There's Danica McKellar -- I'm still ticked she got the boot when she did.
Tom Bergeron tells us the finalists will have one more challenge -- "The 24 Hour Fusion Challenge." Quick recap of the scores last night: Meryl & Maks, 60; Amy & Derek, 59; Candace & Mark, 51. Erin Andrews tells us that Candace's score apparently was the lowest score for a freestyle ever. Dang.
Our first performance of the night is Team Loco doing their salsa routine, the one they didn't get to perform live on the show because of an injury to Amy. It features the three finalists plus Danica and I'm mad ALL OVER AGAIN that she didn't make the finals and Candace did. Seeing them dance right after each other in this routine makes it blindingly obvious how much better Danica is.
Good gracious, Meryl & Maks in their solo are just as special as the judges always exclaim they are. It looks like they're both pros and have been partnering each other for years.
Maks says that no one ever expected Candace to be in the finals. He's not saying it in a mean way, but I'm shouting at my tv, "YOU AND ME BOTH, BROTHER." Derek talks about how Meryl has brought something out in Maks emotionally that's really showing in their dances. Maks is most worried about the fact that Derek is a five-time champion and Amy is tough competition.
Iggy Azalea performs "Fancy" with a '50s prom theme, because why not. Then we get footage from past episodes, starting with the series premiere. It's painful all over again to watch Billy Dee Williams "dance."
Drew Carey & Cheryl Burke are back to reprise their jive. I'm still glad Drew was on this season, because he was fun to watch and looked like he was really enjoying himself. Sometimes that's all I ask of my silly dance show.
We then get a clip montage of Erin, and see that some of her best moments were during dress rehearsal. I wish they'd let her be that loose during the show. She's funny and quick.
Back from commercial, we get a little bit of Charlie White and Meryl dancing together. And, again, as much of a champion pairing as they are, their chemistry is more of the sibling variety than what she has with Maks. NeNe Leakes is back and after her routine, Tom quips, "That woman can move her real estate." Then more clips of past episodes and a reprise of Danica & Val's "Beauty and the Beast" routine to "Be Our Guest" from Disney Night. I'M OUTRAGED ABOUT DANICA'S EARLY OUSTER ONCE MORE.
Cody Simpson is back, not to dance, but to perform his song called "Surfboard." All I can say is that I'm not the target demographic. Then Charlie White & Sharna Burgess are back for the "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" reprise.
I'll tell you who's the hardest working woman on the dance floor tonight: Former pro partner, now troupe member, Lindsay Arnold. She's been a background dancer in so many of these routines.
After James & Peta do an encore of their Michael Jackson routine, we get a montage of guest judge moments. Then Ariana Grande is dressed like Sandy at the end of Grease and sings her hit "Problem."
Montage of "backstage" moments, which concludes with Maks teasing about the children he'll have with Meryl. They'll be named Boris and Oleg and both will be nicknamed Bear. When they cut back to Erin with Meryl & Maks in the ballroom, Maks is blushing and Meryl looks completely embarrassed. Tom promises us a summer series on ABC featuring Maks, "The Blushin' Russian." EXCUSE ME, he's Ukrainian.
Amber Riley is back to sing and dance and if she's not already on Broadway, this is her audition piece.
They've brought back Guy with Silver Box on His Head and he's dancing with Tom. Well, that's my night made.
Amy Purdy & Derek Hough, Argentine Tango / Cha Cha
This is a sharp routine. Amy does this one move where Derek backs up while they're in hold and she just keeps going closer and closer to the floor until she's almost parallel to it. I can't imagine how strong her leg and core muscles have to be to do that.
Len Goodman says that she's an inspiration without question, but it's also unquestionable that she's a fantastic dancer. Bruno Tonioli says her dancing is right up there with the best. Carrie Ann Inaba points out that Derek's partnership with Amy has been fantastic.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
Candace Cameron Bure & Mark Ballas, Quickstep/Samba
It's a slow quickstep followed by some unconvincing hip action during the salsa bits. The camera cuts away during the complicated quickstep footwork segment, so I can't critique it.
Bruno says the ride with Candace has had ups and downs, but Candace has always been adorable, worked hard and has improved. Carrie Ann is giggling and gets out of judging by asking Candace how she feels about the dance. Len calls her the dark horse. Len says she may not have been top of the leaderboard, but she's tops with the fans.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9 As it should be.
Meryl Davis & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Foxtrot/Cha cha
Maks has finally figured out with Meryl that he can skip "business at the beginning" and just go straight into dancing. Part way through the routine, Maks rips off Meryl's long skirt to reveal a leotard with a fringed "skirt." What's interesting is watching Meryl's leg muscles move during the dance. Human physiology is amazing sometimes.
Carrie Ann's comments can't be heard over the roar of the crowd. C'mon, Tom. You usually have better control of the ballroom than this. Carrie Ann says Meryl & Maks were the best part of a mind-bogglingly good season. Len gives a tortured metaphor about the season being like a novel. Then he DROPS A BLEEPITY BLEEP BOMB that this might be his last season and if it is, that was a great dance to be his last one to judge. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Len has to stay.
Bruno says something is stirring inside him and Tom murmurs "Oh no," off camera. Hee.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
So, with last night's scores and tonight's scores combined, the leaderboard is Meryl & Maks: 90; Amy & Derek: 89; Candace & Mark: 78.
Christina Perri caterwauls her way through "Human" while we see images of the finalists and the finalists themselves live up on the stage.
After dramatic music and even more dramatic pauses, Candace & Mark are third place. I'm at a friend's house tonight and she is very glad I didn't have to throw things.
I'm OK with either of these finalists winning. And the winner is Meryl & Maks. Aw, good for Maks. He finally gets his mirrorball trophy. I mean, Meryl has an actual freakin' gold medal, so this is really more for Maks than for her.
I do wonder, though, since Maks has now won a mirrorball trophy, if he'll come back for any future seasons. And we need more information about the possibility of Len Goodman leaving. If he leaves, this isn't the same show.
I'll see you guys next season, regardless.