'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Kelly Monaco (hopefully) for the win!

Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy

It's the last all-performance show of the season and it's only an hour long. Let's hit it.

Tom says they've been battling for a grueling nine weeks — feels so much longer doesn't it?  This season has felt weird overall, with skipped weeks, non-eliminations, double eliminations.


The first round tonight will be "favorite" dances (aka re-runs!) and the second will be the "supersize" free-style, where they can bring in extra dancers to "enhance" the routine.

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy
Paso Doble
During rehearsal footage, Kelly notes that they made the finals without ever getting a 10. Val rightly points out that her fan base is strong. They're redoing the paso doble because Val feels like it was a "turning point" for Kelly. She says that if you're redoing a routine you don't want to "half-ass" it.


I have to say, one of the main reasons Kelly is the one I'm still rooting for is because of her pottymouth. Swear it up, girl.

I'm not sure, but it looks like they might've missed a hand hold at one point. It could've been a miss or a deliberate piece of "touch me not" choreography. I trust the judges will enlighten us.

Len starts by complimenting the band and musical director. Len says the paso was her best dance to date in Week 3 and her performance tonight is now her best of the season. Bruno talks about her performance covered "a slight mess-up with the hands." Ah, ha! So it was a mistake but they both did a good job covering it and not letting it rattle them for the rest of the routine.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 10; Bruno: 10

Carrie had warned them she'd ding them for the slip-up with the hands. Which is fair.

Melissa Rycroft &  Tony Dovolani
Melissa and Tony have both overcome injuries, his back and her neck. They're redoing the samba they did in Week 3, because they scored really well on it, but only got three 9s, so there's room for improvement.

Bruno loved it. Carrie loves Melissa's abs. Len says they had great technique and great rhythm.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9


Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough
Derek and Shawn are redoing their rule-breaking quickstep. And they're willing to do it again even if it means getting the same lower scores.

Derek says they're more interested in entertaining people than scoring points. YOU CAN DO BOTH, YOU ARROGANT JERK IN A DUMB HAT.

Carrie Ann says, "What can I say? I mean, it's a fan favorite, it's a fantastic routine. I'm sad that you didn't choose to follow the rules because at this point the points do matter.  I'm going to give you ... it's pretty much exactly what I saw last time. I have to say I'm a little disappointed but I hope your risk pays off for you two."

Len agrees with Carrie saying that they did break hold and did do lifts and left him "nowhere to go." Bruno talks about how they've taken risks all season and the fact that the judges are bound by certain scoring conventions takes nothing away from their achievement.

Shawn and Derek both come from backgrounds that involve competitive subjective scoring. Shawn knew if she took an extra bounce — points off. Derek knew if he broke hold in a dance when you're not supposed to — points off.

It really galls me that they're both so arrogant to think that they can "game" the system by saying "Screw you, judges' scores, the fans will save us." If they do end up winning the whole thing tomorrow night I hope it encourages the judges to enforce the rules even more with low scores next season, especially when it's not a mistake but a deliberate breaking of the rules.


Shawn makes a point of saying in her interview that she respects the judges and the rules ("I've lived by that my whole life."), but she really wanted to do something for the fans and the audience and "just having fun." Then go on a show that doesn't have scoring. Bah.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8.5; Bruno: 9.5

Kelly & Val
They're going all out for their freestyle, including adding some aerial work. And Val will be serenading her with the violin. I wonder if he can really play or will be miming. They're dancing to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" because Kelly says that sums up the last three months.

OK, I have friends that do aerial work on silks and while Kelly's moves are fairly basic, they are NOT easy. Color me impressed. Oh, and know they've got a gospel choir on the stairs! And the troupe dancers coming in to dance around them! And they finish with the iconic lift from the movie.

It's not an earth-shattering routine, but it was cleanly danced, romantic and suited Kelly to a T. Len thought the opening was spectacular, liked the lifts and the salsa, but felt it lacked a little bit of originality. But the "actual dancing was spellbinding."

Bruno loved the blend of Cirque du Soleil and Dirty Dancing. He compliments their chemistry. Carrie called it a perfect dance with chemistry and a happy ending and good storytelling.


Val kisses Tom and then Kelly kisses Tom and he quips, "I like it better from you." I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 10

I sort of suspected with that ding about originality that Len wasn't giving them a 10.

Melissa & Tony
They've decided to do a contemporary routine for their freestyle. I'm not sure that's a great idea — especially for Melissa. She seems too perky for contemporary. Also, contemporary is one of those dances where the technique has to be flawless first and then you add the emotion.

They have four dancers doing aerial work on cubes above the top stage and it's distracting from Melissa and Tony more than it's adding to their dance. I'm curious how this goes over with fans and judges.

Bruno says it was the perfect setting for showcasing Melissa's  "fantastic extensions, beautiful lines, sculptural positions, musicality, lyricism." Carrie Ann says with great risks come great rewards and they hit the jackpot. Len quotes Leonard Bernstein and seems speechless. Wow.


Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10

Len commented as he held up his paddle, "I wish I had an 11." Tony and Melissa are both obviously overwhelmed with joy.

Shawn & Derek
The "Fierce Five" is in the studio to be part of their freestyle. It's like a very athletic chipmunk convention. One thing that's definitely changed about Shawn between her last season and this one is her costumes — remember how much modesty she always wanted in her first season?

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This is like some crazy folk dance/salsa/cheerleading/gymnastics routine. I'm not sure it works as well as they probably think it does. If nothing else, it had no "story" and very little point of view.

Carrie Ann loved it. Len said it was totally unexpected and a "medley of Derek & Shawn's greatest hits." Bruno loved it, with a lot of adjectives.  I guess I'm just not feeling Shawn more than I realized.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10


Scoreboard, with both dances combined:
Melissa & Tony: 60
Kelly & Val: 59
Shawn & Derek: 57

Tomorrow night the couples will each pull a song/dance live to perform. They know it'll be one of three styles  but not which one they'll get. That judges' score will be the last piece to determine who takes home the mirrorball.

Kelly's my personal favorite and I'm OK with Melissa & Tony because neither of them has ever won the trophy and I do like Tony. I'm just anti-Shawn. Which probably means she's winning it.

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