And then there were 3! I’ll try to keep this as brief as I can so that everyone can get back to voting, but man – I loved 2/3 of tonight’s performances. Thought Jennifer & Derek and Kyle & Lacey both really brought their A-game tonight – Bristol, while not terrible, felt pretty lackluster up to such high-energy performances from the other two. I know everyone’s been having trouble voting – I have too. I’ve been getting a busy signal throughout the duration of the show on the phone, and my connection to the ABC website keeps timing out – I’m guessing it’s getting inundated right now. But everyone keep trying, I promise it is worth the effort! Gonna do the rankings in reverse tonight…just to build up suspense, y’know
3rd place: Kyle & Lacey
I know some of you are slack-jawed right now, but unfortunately, I think the Bristol voters might be able to overcome the measley 4-point spread between her & Kyle. It stinks, but I could see it happening…although I really enjoyed both of Kyle’s performances immensely tonight. I think what I’ve come to appreciate most about Kyle is his ability to get into the character of every single dance – he can be energetic, silly, dramatic, suave, romantic, aggressive, and tonight – just COOL. Really enjoyed the redemption foxtrot – glad they ditched the kitsch and decided to go the sexy, slick route, although there’s one thing about Lacey’s foxtrot’s that still bugs me a bit: they just seem soooo SLOW. But still – a really nice, cool foxtrot. When I saw them decked out in hip-hop gear for their freestyle, I kinda groaned – the last time Lacey did hip-hop for a freestyle, it didn’t pan out so well; however, was pleasantly surprised that Kyle took to this one like a fish to water and was 110% in it from start to finish. This is kid is just so darn LOVABLE. I really wish it would come down to he & Jennifer in the final two – and hopefully I will be proven wrong – but I have the sinking feeling he & Lacey will fall to 3rd place. But man, what a great run this season from the kid that I didn’t see coming!
Runners-up: Bristol & Mark
I’m not holding any punches tonight – watching her dance tonight just confirmed to me why I’m so disappointed she made the finals: she has improved little since day 1, and I don’t even get the feeling she wants to be there anymore. Seriously – between the way she dances and the way she acts in packages, I just don’t feel like she has any fight left in her. And when it comes down to the finals – I want people who are HUNGRY for that trophy. Heidi & I commiserated on Twitter over that jive – definitely not the caliber of dancing we want to see in the finale, and definitely not 9-worthy. No, she didn’t mess up or forget her choreography; but her feet barely left the ground. So low-energy, and I felt like Mark was dancing circles around her. The smile was nice, but that was about it – nothing felt memorable to me and overall it just felt like she was strolling through it. The freestyle – oy. On paper, it seemed like a really good idea – not too fast, a dance that Bristol is good at (tango), and a character that she can channel fairly easily…if only she tried. Again, I felt like she was barely moving, and seeing her try to channel a murdering temptress from the 1920′s just felt…awkward. I actually felt sorry for her for a moment – something like “Why would Mark pick this when she’s clearly so uncomfortable doing it?” Then I realized it – what other choice did he have? She just simply didn’t have the technique, energy, character, or charisma to carry off anything more energetic. Props to Mark for trying – but it was ultimately up to Bristol to stand and deliver, and I don’t think she did. However, if her fans are as rabid as they claim to be, she may have enough support to close the gap between her & Kyle. But I’m keeping my faith in humanity that they won’t be able to surpass…
The winners: Jennifer & Derek
Wow. This woman went out GUNS BLAZING tonight! Total commitment to both dances, great technique, and best of all: a wonderful attitude. The past two weeks, it’s been pretty refreshing to see Jen just kind of let go and truly enjoy the experience, and I think it’s worked in her favor – she seemed at peace tonight, but somehow still bound and determined to win. Totally redeemed herself in the paso – dramatic & simple, and sooooo on-point it’s ridiculous. And I think my mom (don’t you love how Heidi & I refer to our moms for material? :-)) put it best about the freestyle: “I think the freestyle is all about moments that make your jaw drop.” And boy, did she have those…splits! Jumps! Spins! Grinding on the judges table! Even a little comedy – had to grin at the “I carried a watermelon” bit at the beginning. And I loved it that she seemed like she was (pun intended) truly having the time of her life while she was doing it – such joy. I think these two deserve to win, and have a decent shot in it. Good grief…I think I actually might cry if Jennifer doesn’t win. I feel even more strongly about her this season than I did Nicole last season!
And with that, I conclude the power rankings for season 11 Better get your fill of debating this one, because there won’t be another one till March! Let’s hear it: after such a crazy season, how do you guys think things will shake out? Will the best dancer win? Will the “most improved” win? Is Armageddon upon us? Talk to me!