TV Recap: Dancing With The Stars, The Finals

Ah, the finals have finally arrived. It was highly anticipated, and only fell slightly short of all my expectations. Last night, the very last three danced a dance they were told to, then threw the rule book at the judges and did dips, flips and naughty things to each other in the dance we've been waiting all season to see: the freestyle. The contestants got to choose their very own music, outfits and moves. There was no dance step too controversial to be showcased in these unique performances.

No one scored perfect last night, a fact that I found a bit funny for the last night these stars had to showcase their talents (or ultimate lack thereof). Although the scores weren't up to par, the rankings were to be expected.

Melanie Brown danced the first dance of the night, which turned out to be the first dance she ever danced (on this show, at least). Mel and Maksim’s first cha cha earned them a measly 24 points in week one. They proved how far they’ve come as a team with a 28 last night. It’s gotta be hard to come into the last week of a competition with so many perfect scores under your belt, then get a 28, even though it’s still a good score. The cha cha was cutesy, with Mel jumping in her husband’s lap before the dancing really got started. Once it was under way, it was effortless, and excitementless. By the end of it, I wasn’t even sure if the judges would like it. I didn’t. Mel stayed on track technically last night with sharp, crisp footwork and hips, and while she absolutely deserves to be in the finals, Carrie Ann put it best when she said that she was expecting just a hair more excitement from Mel.

Then there was Mel’s freestyle. Naughty, naughty, stripper chair choreography. Loved it. Removal of clothing. Exxxxcelent. Dancing. Hmmmmm. Yeah, not what I was hoping for. Mel and Maks kick (what rhymes with Maks, sort of), but you wouldn’t have known it by watching their piecey, jumbled, disjointed mix of hip hop, ballroom and street moves. Not that the moves weren’t good, they just didn’t flow together. The lifts were awesome, though. Mel flipped all around Maksim. They took risks, but they just didn’t pan out. I really hope Mel’s performances last night alone aren’t what everyone based their votes on. That chick is well deserving of the top spot.

Sandwiched in between the leaders last night (and most previous nights) was the woman who just doesn’t quit and won’t lose. Marie Osmond is in the finals. Damn audience votes. Last night the judges wanted to see Marie and Jonathan dance the samba over again. I think you’ll recall Marie’s first attempt. Jonathan abused her head, then she passed out, escaping the judges’ critiques. Staying conscious didn’t help Marie out this time. In week five, she scored three sevens. Five weeks later, she scored three eights. And she’s in the finals because why? She really does give it her all, and never shies on the enthusiasm, but technically she’s lacking. I think most simply put is that she’s awkward. She can do the moves, but they don’t fit her.

Even peeking in on Helio and Julianne’s practice didn’t help Marie and Jonathan’s freestyle. They got two sevens. I can’t remember the last time a contestant received a seven, not good. I actually really liked it. Jonathan came out carrying a limp Marie doll, winded her, then danced with her. Her stunted, uneven movements as a doll (an homage to her own creations) worked perfectly, she was moving that way on purpose, for a change. While their lifts weren’t as daring or complex as Mel and Maksim’s, Marie and Jonathan did more of them, and it was pretty sweet to see Marie spinning sitting on Jonathan’s head. Even still, if she wins, I’m gonna freak out.

Helio Castroneves! I am officially in love with this man (not that my boyfriend need worry, he’s got moves too, but you’ve got to give it up for a man who wears pink and sparkles with such confidence). Even though he and Julianne only scored one point higher than the last time they danced the jive, they were awesome. I couldn’t help but smile as they bopped around in their cute sock hop outfits. They are so happy and energetic and fun to watch. And the fact that Helio can actually dance is an added bonus. Go figure. The judges agreed that he is a pleasure to watch, but that his footwork needed, well, work. Technically he just didn’t have what it took to break higher ground.

But wait, there was one more dance. While the first two freestyle dances brought disappointment to the dance floor, Helio and Julianne brought serious game. They started out as racecar drivers then stripped down (yay ) to reveal gold outfits fit for winners. They did the Mony Baronie, the alligator, they put their hands on their hips, “The Full Monty Medley.” Unlike his counterparts who got tossed around, Helio was the one doing all the heavy lifting last night. No sweat, Julianne’s little. Carrie Ann couldn’t have put it better than when she told Helio that he is a perfect blend of Mel’s strong technique and Marie’s shining personality. Is another man going to go home with that hideous mirror ball trophy? If any man deserves it, it’s Helio.

Okay, this is it. Tonight, in a two-hour finale, one couple will be eliminated off the bat, then the top two will dance again and the judges will do their thing. Then tonight’s judges’ scores will be added with last night’s audience votes and the winner will be unveiled (at least I think that’s what’s going on, I can’t be sure). Oh, the suspense and uncertainty is killing me. See you tonight!

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