There's a lot of hooha that goes on in the Finals of Dancing with the Stars. (The two-night DWTS extravaganza, that is!) By now, you know that this is the end. But let's walk back through it a bit, shall we? Leaving out all the frou frou and hoke, there were some incredible moments.
(So, kick back, and let's just have a moment from last week to savor...)
Have I mentioned how much I love this dance? And Jenna? Wow...
OK, moving back to the Finals... Night One (Monday)
Meghan Trainor kicks it off with a big splashy number, choreographed by Mandy Moore (of course).
The first dancers are Carlos and Witney. There is some sloppy editing, where he talks about a dance being "so hard," when he's actually talking about a dance he does later in the Finals. *sigh*
This first foxtrot they do I just hated. Just hated everything about it.
Then, we had Alek and Lindsay doing a rumba.
Compared to the sublime sexiness that we had earlier in the season (with Alek and Emma), this just felt half-baked.
So just when you're thinking that this has got to be the most boring #DWTS Finals ever, this happened.
And after this blistering jive, you're left wondering, Gosh, WHY hasn't Sharna won a Mirror Ball yet? Nick Carter still can't really keep up, but damn is she wonderful to watch!
And then, this.
An incredible quickstep by Bindi and Derek.
Then, we had a truly groundbreaking number. Groundbreaking not only because of this...
Shirtless Val backstage as Meghan Trainor sings about "Boys Like You," but also because Who Is Fancy? (whom I actually don't know who he is) did this...
The line is about blowing you... Ahem... a kiss... (hence the glitter). It actually felt quite shocking to me in the moment. (And wonderful!) (See, boys don't dance with boys on this show... on purpose...) Like I said, it felt wonderful to finally see this. I mean, if Wheel of Fortune can have guys talking about their husbands, I think DWTS needs to broaden its horizons a bit too.
And finally, we are at the most exciting moment all season (usually): the Freestyle round.
My own personal bias/belief about the Freestyle round is that, unless you're Derek Hough or Mark Ballas, if you do a Freestyle with lots of people and lots of stuff going on, and lots of noise, it's gonna fail. Carlos even says that to Witney in the package: "Are you sure having all these people is going to be OK?" Side answer: Nope. No, it's not. (Even though she says, Oh yes, it's fine.)
This was the effort by Carlos and Witney. One can only dream of what Mark Ballas and Carlos' wife, Alexa, could have come up with instead. *sobs*
Also, I really dislike hip hop music. So any dance that relies mostly on hip hop is lost on me. I pretty much hated this one. Ugh.
Well, Lindsay is dancing with a military man, so the obstacle course thing kinda seemed ok, except that it's supposed to be dance, not a workout routine. Yeah, I didn't much like this one as Freestyles go, either.
A successful Freestyle hopefully ties in both a bit of who the person was before #DWTS, and chronicles their journey on the show. As Derek explained in the package, Bindi Irwin is "one of the most authentic people" he's ever met, so doing a Freestyle with a lot of bells and whistles didn't feel right.
Also, what we really know Bindi Irwin for is her father, and her father's death. They danced to a song called "Footprints in the Sand" and unbeknownst to Bindi, Derek added a picture of her dad and her at the very end, which made her, and us, cry.
It was a beautiful, moving dance, chock full of fabulous choreography. Bindi and Derek are truly amazing.
Lastly, we had Nick and Sharna.
Another type of great Freestyle is when the artist shows you not only who he walked in as, but also how far he's come. It was natural, I suppose, to choose "Larger Than Life" as this Backstreet Boy's Finals Freestyle. And boy, was it! WOW. All sorts of troupe members (Val, Jenna, Emma, Keo, a couple others) joined in. The stagecraft was over the top and amazing. Fun stuff.
Miche FAVORITE FREESTYLES
1. Bindi and Derek
2. Nick and Sharna
3. Alek and Lindsay
4. Carlos and Witney
Carlos and Witney ended up being eliminated on this night.
Night Two of the #DWTS Finals extravaganza started like this, as one does around Christmastime in LA (although actually it aired around Thanksgiving), at the Grove. It was going to be hard to top the opening of this season, when damn near everyone in LA came out to dance on Hollywood Boulevard with the DWTS cast. So this craziness was a stage at the Grove, and a stage at their regular studio, and in some cases shuttling cast members back and forth between stages during the live show. But it was wonderful.
|Erin Andrews, thank you for being on DWTS. You brighten up every show.|
God bless the producers who decided NOT to have Chakka Khan dance, but only what she does best: sing, as her partner Keo danced with the lovely troupe members.
In fact, previous finales were tedious affairs, where all twenty contestants were trotted out to do a dance. Thank God, this was not that. (Although they do make a marginal effort to remind you of the season that was with all the dances.)
Instead, some brilliant producer decided to do this instead.
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! Thank you, DWTS.
Then, Sharna and Nick recreated their #DowntonAbbey dance. Karina and the jockey dude danced to La Bamba again. Then, back to the Grove for #AndyGrammar, who mostly just sang, while the luscious male dancers danced behind him.
OMG, the Outtakes. LOL I had completely forgotten this exchange between Paula Deen and formerly-lived-in-England Mark Ballas.
DEEN: "We shag in Savannah. Have you ever shagged?"
BALLAS: "I have shagged, but it means a completely different thing."
LOL I'm thinking she means pecans or something. I know what he means... Ahem. :-X
Next, they trot out Gary Busey again (God help us), and all I can think is, MAN! I hope they paid Anna Trebunskaya a LOT to put up with this Busey debacle. A LOT, America, A LOT. *shakes head*
Then, Elle King sang her wonderful hit, Exes and Ohs.
Jenna Johnson dancing. Elle King is behind her. Great number. (Tom Bergeron loves it, too!)
Emma danced with her "Internet-sensation" (that's how they introduced him) Hayes. Can't find any pics of it. It was short. They danced to his friend's song, Stitches. I hope his friend remembers this for a long time.
Then, there's a tedious bit with Santa and Erin Andrews, where the mic isn't working. Ugh.
THEN! Mark and Alexa recreate their amazing Breaking Bad routine (also incredibly hard to find pics of this). Really amazing.
Then a tedious thing that Tom Bergeron called "my favorite thing in a finale ever." Best to not talk about it. Gary Busey, Twas the Night Before the Finale... is all I'm gonna say. *shakes head*
Bindi and Derek recreated their incredible song, "Roses and Violets," danced to a stirring Mark Ballas' composition (as part of Alexander Jean). But this time, both Mark Ballas and BC Jean (his fiancee) were there to perform it. That was pretty awesome.
Season 20 winner, Valentin Chmerkovskiy danced wonderfully with Emma Slater at the Grove again. Chaka Khan and Andy Grammer sang, thankfully didn't dance to Baby, It's Cold Outside, salvaged only by the fact that Anna, Karina, Tony and Sasha were dancing.
Finally! Back to something that matters! The fusion dances of the three finalists. I love this whole segment usually. Part of the excitement (for me, as an audience member) is that they go back to the studio in which they expended so much blood, sweat and tears over the season, and the production staff has hung photos of them from the season. You will note that Mr. Backstreet Boy (who's probably darn sick of photos of himself) is the only one who didn't comment on the photos at all.
Their tango-salsa fusion ended like that. Sharna's choreography, as always, stunning.
Alek and Lindsay did a rumba-tango fusion.
Derek and Bindi did a cha cha-Argentine Tango fusion.
As always, Derek's choreography is stunning. He and Bindi make a great team, and it is sad to think that this is their final dance on DWTS.
Then, they trucked everyone over to the Grove again, and basically had the three finalists stand around, while Nick Carter sang his new song. Album on sale now. Yawn.
Ok, they did flash back to segments of the three over the season, to show their dances together. But still.
This was dumb.
So then, everyone rushes back to their studios (not far away) to crown this Season's champions.
I must say this. Sharna has been so close so many times. I would so love to see her win a Mirror Ball soon. But that was not to be. Instead:
Of course it was Bindi. Always Bindi. Congrats to Bindi and Derek. Thanks for such a great season.