So, here we are. Big finale night.
At the beginning of the season I was pretty sure we'd be seeing Shawn tonight, but Melissa and Kelly are somewhat of a surprise. I'm also surprised by how much I've turned around on Kelly Monaco -- I would've ranked her one of my least favorite at the beginning of the season and now she's the one I hope wins it all.
I'm going to tell y'all straight out -- I'm not going to recap the replays of stuff from earlier in the season. You've seen it, I've seen it, I've written about it, you've read about it. Let's just cover the new footage here.
The night starts with all the All-Star season stars doing a new routine to James Brown. It's a fun start to the night and unless it's one of his overplayed hits, I'm always ok with some James Brown. Apparently that was choreographed by Lacey Schwimmer.
They show the footage and reactions to judging from last night and there's not much to note. Shawn & Derek get the encore, which, duh, of course you're going to bring the Olympic gymnasts back again.
And now it's time for DanceCenter. Selected moments:
Kenny Mayne: Kirstie's admitted she can't keep her hands off Maks, but then again Maks can't keep his hands off Max. [And bless the editors, they found plenty of footage to back Kenny up.]
Kenny: Bristol took Mark to a gun range this year. Unfortunately she missed.
A montage of Mark puffing out his chest after various routines, after Kenny deadpanned that Mark doesn't want to make the routines about him.
Jerry Rice on Sabrina's shocking elimination: I know it was shocking because Tom and Brooke wouldn't stop talking about it.
So, now is the time to pick the "instant dance." Kelly and Val go first and get the "Cat & Mouse" jive. There's a slight pause as Tom explains "One of these very expensive props just came apart" so he has to fix the little mirror ball before the next couple comes to pick their dance.
Melissa and Tony don't want to pull the cha cha. And they do pull the samba and "Life Is a Highway." So what's left for Shawn and Derek is the cha cha to "Respect."
Bristol and Mark are the first kicked-off couple to get their encore dance. And then it's Pamela Anderson and Tristan. I forgot she was even on this year. I'm a heterosexual female so Pamela's dance isn't really meant for me.
And then Tom quips, "Usually to see something like that, there's a two-drink minimum." I love him so much.
Clip package of Helio and Chelsea and their language difficulties. She tries to teach him the alphabet song and it's kind of cute. And then they do their dance. I'm still sad we lost Helio as early as we did. He's one of those people that when he smiles I smile.
Drew Lachey is adding his daughter Isabella to his encore cha cha with Anna. So cute! Tom says, "I usually try to stay impartial but this was my favorite routine in dress rehearsal." They start out and it's kind of a sexy routine -- I hope it gets toned down before the little girl comes out to dance with her daddy.
Drew pull her off the sidelines and does a couple of lifts with her. And then she gets a little solo move and then Anna dances with her. Then they all three dance together and it's just too too cute. Tom points out that when Drew won the mirrorball back in Season 2, Isabella wasn't even in born yet.
The blooper/outtake reel from the backstage confessional room is pretty amusing. But shouldn't the confessional be sacred? Anyway, there's swearing and hair fixing and boob-wrangling and all sorts of "look at my gross feet" shenanigans.
OhhelpmeRhonda. They've brought back the Guilty Pleasure group routines. With subs for the finalists. Gangnam Style is up first and I'm going to lose my mind all over again.
It looks like it's Joey Fatone (and I presume Kym) filling in for Kelly and Val. Joey's wearing a cut off mesh shirt and at the end of their bit, he does this whole body spasm thing that makes the flab on his stomach jiggle and it made me hoot with laughter. And Gilles is back with his Tiny Towel. OH, Tiny Towel! I didn't know how much I missed you until you were gone. Tiny Towel should've been a finalist all on its own.
Tom quips, "You know the first time I saw that I didn't think it made sense, but now that I've seen it a second time I realize I was right the first time." Embrace the bizarre, Tom. It makes life easier.
Brooke is outside the studio in Kelly & Val's makeshift rehearsal space. Val's sweaty and shirtless so you'll forgive me if I didn't pay attention to what was being said.
Joey & Kym get a little bit where Joey uses a Delorean to get into the finals. It's a complete waste of time. Except for giving Tom an excuse to say, "It makes my flux capacitor tingle."
Oh and they even use the Delorean as a prop to begin their dance to the "Back to the Future" theme music. And no, we're not lucky enough that I mean a Huey Lewis song. Oh, wait! They segue from the orchestral theme into "Back in Time." And then kid dancers come in and dance with them, mimicking their moves. Oh, now I get it. That whole thing was a set-up to introduce the kids.
Montage of the wacky themes and twists they've done this season. They happened.
Brooke's been banished to rehearsal space again, this time to talk to Melissa and Tony. Melissa's dress is Peta levels of low-cut. Waxes for everybody!
Now it's time for the "Call Me, Maybe" group routine -- with half the original team in the finals, let's see who they've gotten to sub in. I see Anna's red hair -- so it's her and Drew, but I can't tell who else yet. Louis van Amstel in football pants continues to be just the most precious thing. Ah, it's Helio and Chelsie as the other subs.
More DanceCenter. Not much quotable in this segment, but there's footage of Gilles doing push-ups, so that's something.
Kirstie and Maks come back to do a very, very slow uptempo dance. And then Gilles and Peta are back for more "Bollywood."
Brooke talks to Shawn and Derek rehearsing their instant dance. Nothing of importance is said.
Apolo & Karina do their country week dance again. Blurgh. CancerDances are my least favorite. Then Emmitt & Cheryl come back to encore "Chain of Fools" and they look like they''re still having fun.
More DanceCenter. Ha! When greeting Shawn's hometown, Derek starts to say "Illinois" and then remembers he's in Iowa. That's rich coming from a kid from Utah.
Kenny Mayne likes Kelly because she has "a mouth like a trucker." My grandpa was a trucker -- and he doesn't require as much bleeping as Kelly. Kenny and Jerry are pretty sure Kelly and Val are doing it.
Montage: Finalists are happy to be finalists. They all want to win. They are all trying to win. Only thing of note, Kelly says "Have you ever seen a girlfight before? They're vicious." I gotta say even though she's the tiniest of the three, my money's entirely on Monaco.
Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
I'm trying to decide if Kelly got the spray tan she said she would if she made the finals. Their jive is fun and fast, but I think Kelly may have had foot placement issues during one sequence. The whole thing ends rather abruptly, but that's due as much to the arrangement of the song as their choreography.
So, nitpicky question: If they didn't know which Latin dance they'd be dancing until they pulled them earlier tonight, then how come the costume department had a "jive" outfit ready for Kelly and more "cha cha" and "samba" outfits ready for Shawn and Melissa?
Did the costume department make two outfits for each contestant (assuming you could wear the same thing for samba and cha cha, but your jive outfit would probably look different)? Or was the whole thing rigged ahead of time?
Judges: Len calls Kelly a "revelation" and says her spins are fantastic. He says she nailed the footwork. Bruno says they have the energy of "randy rabbits." He does add that sometimes they "lost a bit of balance." Carrie mentions some slips, but says that may be due to "body oil." Ew.
Kelly says the word "friendship" two times in answer to the question of whether or not they're doing it. GOOD GOD PRODUCERS, leave it alone. If I wanted to get all wrapped up in fake reality show romances I'd watch "The Bachelor/ette."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9.5
Total for the two nights: 87.5 out of 90
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani
Melissa and Tony are doing their samba to "Life Is a Highway," which is one of my absolute least favorite songs of all time. Tony's a better butt-shaker than Melissa. Let's see what the judges have to say.
Bruno says the music wasn't "quite as Brazilian as it should have been." No kidding. Carrie Ann said they rushed the music a hair and that she tried to go at the same pace as the samba they did last night. Len didn't think the interpretation of the music was as good as last night. Hey, it was your producers that stuck them with that stinker of a samba song.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9.5; Len: 9.5; Bruno: 9.5
Total for both nights: 88.5
Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough
Derek cries talking about Shawn in interview footage. Dude, nobody's voting tonight --should've gotten the tears in last night. Their cha cha seems fine and ends with a killer move involving Derek jumping over Shawn's head. I mean, she's short, but still.
Judges: Carrie Ann tells them to just absorb the audience's reaction. She calls them perfection. Len says it was fantastic. Bruno calls it a grand finale and also says perfection.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
Total for both nights: 87
I'm kind of impressed that we're not going into the viewer vote portion of the night with the judges' scores all tied at perfect.
First eliminated, and therefore third place: Kelly and Val. Booooooo!
Tom reminds this that these dancers were both from Season 8.
After the drawn-out suspenseful music, Tom says, "And now they have one too" and Melissa and Tony both drop out of the frame of their reaction shot because they're so busy jumping around. And then they have to cut the audio more than once, presumably because Tony is VERY excited about winning.
It's kind of heartwarming to see how excited he is about his first win and how excited the other dancers are for him. They even start up that "Ole Ole Ole" soccer chant as Tony and Melissa are hoisted up on shoulders.
I'm happy Tony finally got a win and I'm glad rule-breakers Shawn and Derek only came in second.
See you in the Spring for more stars and dancing!