'Dancing with the Stars' recap, The final four dance-off

Bill Engvall, Emma Slater and Tom Bergeron on Monday night's "Dancing with the Stars."

This is our last week of DWTS this fall. Tonight, we'll lose one couple at the end of the show; tomorrow night, the champion will be declared.

The show starts with a very dramatic entry set to Avicii's "Wake Me Up." C'mon, you guys, never forget you're a cheesy dancing show. This feels like a results show from past seasons, particularly when we start with a live performance from Kellie Pickler. After that, the stars enter to a remix (or maybe a live version by the house band) of Martin Solveig's "Hello." That song always cheers me up.


There will be three rounds of competition tonight -- whoof, I'm tired just thinking about that. Can't imagine them dancing it.

Bill Engvall & Emma Slater


Cha cha cha

Bill calls Emma his new "fake daughter." Aw, sweet. The judges picked the Viennese Waltz for them; Len is the judge who visits them in the studio. Len's looking really dapper in a dark v-neck sweater with a bright pink tie showing underneath.

Emma's embraced the unfortunate red-carpet trend of bathing suit/leotard under sheer skirt. Bleech. It's a pretty dance, but Bill still doesn't belong here in the finals, if dance ability is the primary qualification.

Hey, it's Bruno's birthday! Happy birthday, you crazy Italian. Bruno tells Bill his timing is not a "Swiss watch," but that everybody can't be a Rolex, some people have to be a Timex. Tom quips, "Well, there goes one of our sponsors."

Carrie Ann spells it out that he's nowhere near the other finalists in dancing talent.  She calls him the "people's choice." And that's kind of true, but if the judges aren't going to score accurately, they have no one but themselves to blame when bad dancers stick around. (Unless, of course, the producers are influencing the scores.)

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff



Corbin's worried about this judges' choice because the quickstep is one of the dances Len found too frantic when he danced it previously. Luckily, Len is in the studio for the rehearsals.

The routine starts with a seriously fake looking sepia filter. THIS ISN'T INSTAGRAM, ABC. Corbin is dressed like A Film Director From Days Gone By, complete with knee-high boots and breeches. It's interesting how much the boots highlight his footwork, which I'm not sure is as sharp as it should be. Also, I'm afraid Len is going to ding this one as being too frantic.

Len says they did calm it down a little bit, but that Corbin had problems with his left arm. When the crowd boos, Len looks bewildered -- all he did was mention a little arm issue. Bruno points out that they went out of sync.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

That's a one-point improvement from the last time they did quickstep.

Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke



They get a visit from Bruno, who's wearing cowboy boots and a shirt that's unbuttoned halfway down his chest. Never change, Tonioli. Jack is practicing in suspenders, so I can only imagine that's going to be part of the choreography.

Ooohkay. They're dancing to a jive-y bluegrass-y version of Canned Heat's "Going Up the Country." It's bizarre. Jack seems perhaps a little TOO invested in his suspenders, constantly trying to hook his thumbs in them, which stilts some of his arm movements.  They finish the dance by running up the big staircase, which sort of seems like a cheat to me, choreography-wise.

Tom asks Jack why he's making a face and Jack says it's because the judges are making a face. Bruno is sad that Jack had some slip-ups and lost the timing throughout much of the routine. Carrie Ann says they should have just left Jack alone on the jive, because this was nowhere near as good as the jive he did before.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8;  Bruno: 8

Amber Riley & Derek Hough



This is a weird modern remix of a Charleston-ish song. Two things: I love how Amber is a plus-size woman and is still killing it out there. Secondly, I'm relieved that someone finally got her a knee brace that matches her skin tone better than the black brace.

Carrie Ann liked it so much she came out to hug Amber as soon as she was done. Bruno calls it "high voltage" and says her footwork was "sharp as a razor blade."

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

Kellie Pickler gets 40 seconds to say what she wants about the finalists. She shows more personality and charm in those 40 seconds than Brooke has in all her seasons on the show combined.

"TLC" is here for the "Samba Relay" round. I have to put TLC in quotes because it's not really TLC without Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.


Round Two: Samba Relay

First place will get five points, second place four points, third place three points, and last place rwo points. They draw lots to see what order they'll dance in.

Jack & Cheryl dance faster and Jack, despite having a cute little round butt, is utterly hopeless when it comes to shaking it. Amber & Derek are reliably fun, while Bill & Emma are more classic in their approach. Corbin & Karina go the sexy route.

Len says it was clean overall, but one was too careful, one lacked rhythm, one was close but not quite and the other one nailed it. Bruno said it had a "samba for every taste." Apparently, per Carrie Ann, that was the first time Corbin had done the samba.

Carrie Ann also congratulates Amber & Derek on their samba roll. Derek is the master of the samba roll, I think. He always puts it in and gets his celeb partner to learn it.

4th place: Bill & Emma


3rd place: Jack & Cheryl

2nd place: Amber & Derek

1st place: Corbin & Karina

Round Three: Freestyle

Bill Engvall & Emma Slater

Their routine is inspired by Indiana Jones. Emma tells Bill, "I'm giving you the chance to be Harrison Ford; You're WELCOME." Hee. I like her. Bill is worried about putting in a lift or trick that would hurt Emma if he screwed up. So sweet.


There's way too much faffing about at the beginning, even if it is a freestyle. And it includes some terrible CGI of a giant disco ball rolling down the dance floor. The lifts and the tricks are generally labored; you can see a giant line of sweat running down Bill's back and down both of his sides under his arms.

Then he rips his shirt off at the end and Carrie Ann can't breathe from the laughing. Luckily, Gail Engvall thinks it's hilarious too.

Tom says, "On behalf of all of us who have a one-pack, thank you!" I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 9; Bruno: 8

After the scores, while Tom is throwing to commercial, the camera finds Emma and Bill hugging and laughing their heads off. What fun those two have had this season.

Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff

Because they're dancing to "Smooth Criminal," they go to Las Vegas and work with Michael Jackson's choreographer, Travis Payne. Dang. Not that Corbin can't handle it. Originally they weren't going to have extra dancers, but then Karina brings in extra dancers to do some sort of "insane trick."


They enter the ballroom dangling from wires, with helicopter sounds in the background. Synchronized moonwalking! They execute the "insane trick" without a hitch. Then they go up the stairs and use some sort of space-age flooring and gravity boots to do some serious leaning.

Bruno says they killed it. Duh. He said they combined iconic Michael Jackson moves with classic ballroom touches. Len says nothing, just gives them a standing ovation and applause.

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

Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke

Cheryl says they're going to tell the story of his season through the freestyle. They're using extra dancers as well. I think it's cool that they're sticking with ballroom -- that's where Jack is going to be strongest. It's still a freestyle, even if you're not doing hip hop moves or some grand theme.

This is a GREAT routine -- really showcasing Jack's strengths, telling a story and not getting too gimmicky. It was the PERFECT routine for him to do.


Carrie Ann calls it a "showstopper." Len says Jack's family should be so proud of him. Bruno says it was glossy, glitzy, classy and tailored to perfection. He compliments Cheryl on the job she's done.  Cheryl's wiping away tears. Awww.

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

YAY! I'm glad that got a perfect score! Well-deserved. Bruno comes out to kiss both of them. Wow. I wonder if any of this is an indication that Cheryl's leaving the show? I hope not.

Amber Riley & Derek Hough

Way back in Week 3, Amber did some step moves during rehearsal and Derek's idea light bulb went off. Amber apparently used to be on a step team, so they've brought in a bunch of extra dancers. At one point, everybody's getting the step moves except Derek. Hee.

It's an Old West theme, with Amber coming into the saloon and taking down the customers (the male dancers.) There's a really neat sequence where they have the guys adding chairs to a line for Amber to step on as she walks toward the camera. The routine ends with all the guys falling down as if they've been shot while Amber stands in the spotlight. That's just right.


On a side note, let me say how great it is that a woman who is outside the standard Hollywood norm for acceptable body shape shimmied around in skintight velvet leggings on national TV and had a blast doing it. Fantastic. So she's not skinny - she can still dance the heck out of a routine and love herself while doing it. SHOW ME MORE OF THIS, HOLLYWOOD.

Len says she was surrounded by six pros and yet all he could do was look at Amber. Exactly. Bruno echoes those sentiments. The word "diva" gets thrown around by both Bruno and Carrie Ann.

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

Normally ,I'd complain about three of the finalists getting perfect scores for their freestyle dances. But those three all really did deserve it.

The three finalists dancing tomorrow night will have to dance a "fusion" dance. The dances being "fused" won't be revealed to them until tonight. The lowest scoring couple of the season will pick for the highest and so on.

The fusion dance styles are:


Cha Cha + Foxtrot

Jive + Quickstep

Samba + Quickstep

Paso + Salsa

Of those four, Jive/Quickstep seems the easiest and Samba/Quickstep the weirdest.

Bill & Emma pick for Amber & Derek; they decide to be kind and give them Samba/Quickstep, so maybe it's not as scary as I thought. Jack & Cheryl are picking for Corbin & Karina. Jack asks them, "So what are you guys really bad at? Oh, wait. NOTHING." He gives them his "worst dance and his favorite," choosing Cha Cha/Foxtrot. Corbin & Karina choose Paso/Salsa because Corbin liked Jack's paso and wants to see him dance paso again. Aw. This leaves Jive/Quickstep for Bill & Emma.


The first couple revealed as finalists is Amber & Derek. Then it's Corbin & Karina. They try to draw it out between Jack & Cheryl and Bill & Emma, but with the scores tonight, I think the Bill Engvall Juggernaut comes to an end.

Aaand, that's it -- Bill's finally out. Fourth place is way-better than he could have ever hoped for, so this is not too-sad an elimination.


Amber's going to look good holding that mirrorball trophy.