I’m sorry. I have to break with my usual format and present the best dance of the night first, cause OH MY GOD!!!!!!! But we’ll just leave that there for a moment, let you salivate and savor over what’s to come...
We kick off the Finals of Dancing with the Stars Season 25 with this lovely number. Upstage rear, we have the Chmerkovskiy brothers with their women (Maks dancing with Peta, Val dancing with Jenna). As the camera pulls back from them dancing, the song playing says: “I came here for love.” Indeed. All is right with the world now. (This deliciousness, of course, choreographed by the awesome Mandy Moore.)
Julianne Hough is returning as guest judge (WITH Len Goodman there).
So they kick off the dances with a “Redemption Round,” wherein couples redo dances they did earlier, in hopes of getting better scores. (There is, of course, different music and costuming and sets.)
First up, Emma Slater and Drew Scott redo their paso doble, with some tips from Bruno. (It occurs to me that this is why they needed four judges, since we have four couples left.)
In the package, Bruno walks in supposedly decked out as a contractor, to which Drew scoffingly says, ”That is a dainty tool belt.” LOL It’s true. We’ve seen Jonathan’s. ;-) Ahem...
Bruno finishes with “If you don’t do it, I’m going to turn into Demolition Judge.” He’s holding a hammer. Drew notes: “You need a sledgehammer, if you’re going to be Demolition Judge.” (Made me laugh.)
The sets, if you can’t tell, are amazing. And Drew’s paso is better from the first movement.
Bruno: “I’m so proud of you. The makeover worked.” Carrie Ann: “I’m heartbroken, cause that was absolutely, by far, your best dance. (Cause he made a mistake.) There was a poetry that you’ve embodied now. It was really beautiful. I’m really proud of you too.” Len: “I’ve been going on about lack of finesse, well, I’ve gotta say, this had finesse, it had quality and control. I thought you did a wonderful job.” Julianne: “For me, your title is Most Improved.”
JUDGES’ SCORES: 36 (out of 40)
Frankie and Witney have Carrie Ann as a mentor. She recalls gasping the first time they ever performed, and gushes in the package: “You can win this!” (I don’t think they can, personally, given the competition.) Witney then gushes back: “She really knows what she’s talking about!” (*eyeroll*) So Carrie Ann tasks them with a foxtrot, and gives Frankie a solo. Frankie finishes with: “I don’t know what the others are doing, but I’m going to give Carrie Ann exactly what Carrie Ann wants.”
They dance to “I Won’t Dance.” Nice, better than their first foxtrot.
|Photo courtesy of DWTS/ABC and Just Jared.|
JUDGES’ SCORES: 38 (out of 40)
As if we didn't have enough stuff jam-packed into this show, we have this Pitbull number with Fifth Harmony. And many of our wonderful dancers. (Bonus points if you can pick out our lovely pro dancers by the back of their hair.)
All I can think as I’m watching is that one of these Fifth Harmony chicks competed on this show, but I’ll be damned if I can remember which one.
Oh, no matter. Our #DWTS pros are more interesting anyway. *winks* at Sharna.
Oh wow. The nondescript one on the end is the former competitor. Wow. (Don’t have a pic.)
Lindsay and Jordan are doing a Charleston, with Len coaching them. Len insists that there must be “at least three recognizable Charleston steps” in the dance. Course, Len was in his element when the Charleston was popular, so he’s a good coach! (J/K, Len!)
Lindsay still has a bad knee, Jordan got a scratched cornea. *sob, sob* Do they do a great Charleston? What do you think?
Oh, and if you’re still not convinced, there was this little number.
Wow. That was unbelievable. Bizarre seeing a Charleston to this music, but for Jordan and Lindsay, it worked.
Len: “Your mission was to show me more Charleston content, which I saw. But I saw so much more. I’m proud of you two.” Julianne: “I’m like in shock. (See below.)”
Julianne (continued): “As a judge, it’s our job to know that you’re doing a choreographed routine. We need to look and try to find things to critique. When I watch you guys, I become a fan. I feel like I’m at a nightclub, and you guys just randomly grabbed each other. You get out there and you dance, and you live. So good!” Bruno: “This was another virtuoso performance. The actual content was sharper than a samurai sword, the timing and the musicality was off the charts. You two dance like two instruments, perfectly in tune, always a perfect fit. Extra-ordinary.” Carrie Ann: “It’s not about how good you are. You started this competition good. What’s amazing is that you continue to push yourself beyond your own boundaries every time. You dance on the edge.”
Jordan says that “Lindsay has made me a better artist.”
JUDGES’ SCORES: 40 (out of 40)
We have a break where they can pimp American Idol...
That leaves Julianne to coach Mark and Lindsey. So their package shows how they are traveling (she’s performing, Mark's performing). Usually that’s one of my pet peeves, but these two are my favorites. Julianne is Skyping them for her advice. They are redoing their quickstep (the butterfly dance, which was so amazing).
In some ways reminiscent of that dance, Lindsey starts off in a white tuxedo and top hat. Now THAT’s some dancing! The entire number in hold (as it should be, but it’s very hard). Stunning dancing and choreography. Incredible moves and shaping. So beautiful.
JUDGES’ SCORES: 40 (out of 40)
Miche's Favorite Individual Dances
1. Lindsay and Mark (quickstep)
2. Jordan and Lindsay (Charleston)
3. Drew and Emma (paso doble)
4. Frankie and Witney (foxtrot)
Julianne does a dance as tribute to a woman. Alexander Jean (Mark Ballas and his wife, BC Jean) perform the song. And, at the end, she is lifted up through the ceiling. Pretty cool. “Wouldn't Change a Thing” is the Alexander Jean song (beautiful).
And now... THE FREESTYLE ROUND.
Oh, I just love that Drew and Emma are in the finals. Just love it so much. Cause that means a freestyle choreographed by Emma!!!
Their package talks about how the freestyle is supposed to be a reflection of the journey they've both had all season. Emma talks about how Drew’s heart got him this far (into the finals). (And that Property Brothers has huge fans with huge hearts...) She talks about how she didn’t expect him to be here from Week 1. And that if she won, she’d put her two Mirror Balls so that Sasha has to walk past them every day (he, who is Mirror Ball-less, at the moment). :-(
They tease the promo well, since it shows both Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy in front of a sign which says "The Ukrainian Tea Room." This is gonna be good.
They actually DO have the Chmerkovskiys dancing in part of it (see above). And the rest of it is just WILD. There is a stop in the middle (Emma landmark), then right back into it. Just incredible.
(And Sasha was in it, and Jenna!)
Len: “The house is fixed, and you’ve become a hot property.” (Cut to: brother Jonathan in the audience, beaming). Julianne: “That’s exactly what a freestyle should be. Emma, I have to say thank you. The freestyle is about your true essence, and that was who you really are, Drew.” Bruno: “You really have exceeded all expectations tonight. That was such a treat. So inspired. So joyful. You had Maks and Val next to you, I can only look at you. That’s how you took this number and you made it yours. A delight from the beginning to the end.” Carrie Ann: “I agree. It was amazing, it was fabulous. It was such a crowd-pleaser.” Then she goes on to complain about how there were moments where they were off sync.
JUDGES’ SCORES: 39 (out of 40)
They do a promo for tomorrow’s big finale, where Val does a joke that makes me laugh.
Then a promo for DWTS Live.
My theory about a winning freestyle is very much like Emma’s: showcase the things that got you there during the season. Make it a mix of your strong points, and the points you want to emphasize more. Showcase really who you are, and the journey you’ve taken.
Witney has other ideas. Namely, this.
What Witney is underestimating here is that people like Frankie Muniz for a certain thing, and that thing is NOT this. Granted, he did veer off during the season into some very dark places, and that made those dances incredible, but it’s really not the basis for why we like him.
So this... ahem... choice, I think, is a miscalculation. This isn’t her. This isn’t him. (Whereas Emma and Drew’s freestyle was a personification of everything we love about Drew (and Emma). The quirkiness, the largeness, the houses, for heaven’s sake!
This thing of Frankie and Witney’s... Ugh.
There is even a producer in their package, saying: “Um, do you really want to do this?” And Witney agonizes, and Frankie supports her (and it’s the wrong decision. The producer was right.). Honestly though, I don’t think they would’ve won with a happy upbeat song either, cause both Jordan/Lindsay and Mark/Lindsey are so far ahead of them in talent, it really doesn’t matter.
Julianne: “The old Frankie would’ve played it safe, and done something fun and joyful and charming. But this is the end of the competition, and you’re like: ‘I’m not finished yet.’ And you decided to take a risk and do something out of the box. I’m really proud of you.” Bruno: “Frankie! What’s going on with you, all moody and menacing? You’re turning into the Prince of Darkness. It was very different. It showed a different side of you. And I really really liked it.” Carrie Ann: “You of all have made the most emotional journey. Really telling your truth. This was scary. All of us tuned into that.” Len: “Totally unexpected. You went right out of your comfort zone. You gave it your all.”
JUDGES’ SCORES: 38 (out of 40)
Lindsay starts the package by whining about how tough they have it because “people expected to see him in the finals.” #BooHoo Lindsay’s standard go-to freestyle is to throw in lots of lifts and tricks, no matter who she’s dancing with. “I want Jordan’s freestyle to be a showstopper,” says Lindsay. “We are working really hard right now to make this the best freestyle the show has ever seen,” says Jordan. No pressure.
And yeah. It’s pretty great, but it’s not ”the best freestyle the show has ever seen.” (That’s reserved for the next freestyle...) It’s a version of “Puttin’ On the Ritz” like you’ve never heard. What bugs me the most about it is that it is trying so hard to be a showstopper that it doesn’t really feel organic. It feels like you would expect a dance from a Broadway dancer to look like in their freestyle.
So Frankie gave us what we didn’t expect, but not in a good way. Jordan gave us what we did expect, and not in a good way. (Drew and Emma were just joyous and real and fun.)
Bruno: “It was a sensational showstopping number. Star power that is limitless. You’re a superstar.” Carrie Ann: “Your star shines so brightly. I cannot wait to see what else you’re gonna do. You never cease to amaze me.” Len: “It was a crackerjack of a number. I loved it. It’s just brilliant.” Julianne: “It was honestly everything but the kitchen sink. Every dance style, tricks and flicks, and everything.”
Jordan says: “Lindsay has made me a harder worker, a better artist, a better person through all of this. I am so endlessly inspired.”
JUDGES’ SCORES: 40 (out of 40)
Then we have former Mirror Ball champions talking about what it takes to win.
And then, there was this. Just look.
I am reminded of how exquisitely Mark Ballas crafts a freestyle around the person he’s dancing with. This freestyle trumpets Lindsey Stirling in every bar and note. They mention in the package how the idea for this dance came when he first met her.
Mark Ballas, the most creative dancer of everyone who’s ever been on Dancing with the Stars, somehow incorporated Lindsey Stirling’s virtuoso violin playing INTO the dance. Look.
And then, the mind-blowing part.
They dance, and she plays, and she’s playing while they are dancing, and then he flips her, and she’s still playing... I just have no words. It was so incredible. And she’s a violin in so many sections of this (hard to explain). Just amazing.
Carrie Ann: “Last woman standing. Taking names. No one cares what any of us have to say. It couldn’t have been a better showcase of your uniqueness. That was you on crack, dancing.” Len: “This is becoming the War on the Floor. It’s just become a fantastic competition.” Julianne: “It’s honestly a quirky musical masterpiece of awesomeness. I love that you brought your element of who you are and how we know you, but then completely turn it on its head. It was amazing.” Bruno: “Oh my God. That was a modern classic extravaganza, conducted and orchestrated to perfection. It was so creative, so exciting, so imaginative. Bravo, Maestro.”
Mark then takes a moment to talk about what it’s meant to him to come back. “It couldn’t be any better. Thank you to the fans, thank you to the judges. Thank you to the crew, the band, hair and makeup, everybody that makes this show happen.” (Now THAT’s a champion, IMHO.)
JUDGES’ SCORES: 40 (out of 40)
Then, we go to who goes home. :-(
Sadly, sadly, it’s Drew and Emma who go home.
MICHE’S FAVORITE FREESTYLES
1. Lindsey and Mark (OMG!)
2. Jordan and Lindsay
3. Drew and Emma
Way below: Frankie and Witney (UGH!)