Well, that was a pleasant little finale night – not terribly exciting, but pleasant nonetheless I found that, for the first time, all three of the freestyles felt a little bit…recycled to me. They were still nice to watch, but none of them jumped out at me as something totally fresh and never-before-seen. I guess we’re reaching that point in the lifespan of the show where “it’s all been done”, but still – sometimes I miss that sense of wonder of the early seasons, when “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was the most innovative freestyle ever, or when Apolo & Julianne danced “Bust a Move” blindfolded. *sigh* It’s bittersweet.
Can’t say I’m too surprised at anything the judges said or any of the scores they gave – still think they’re pulling for Rumer to win and have pretty much ensured that Noah won’t run away with the MBT, but I think Riker stands a decent chance at playing spoiler to the “Valenrue” pimping machine we’ve seen all season. Will be interesting to see how things shake out tomorrow night, for sure. For tonight, I’m just thankful that I managed to get all of my phone votes in already, and that the show was only an hour long – got a cheesecake to make and a new MAC eyeshadow palette I want to play with 😉
3rd place: Noah & Sharna
Had Noah not slightly bungled his redo Argentine tango, I think my rankings could have looked different tonight – but alas, by handicapping him 8 points behind both Rumer & Riker, I think he’s gonna have a pretty tough row to hoe in order to get any better than 3rd place – and that’s even though I think he’s getting a LOT of votes, still. I have to commend him, though – the commitment I saw from him in the first 20ish seconds of his Argentine tango was the most comfortable and in the zone as I’ve seen him all season…he was dialed in, no doubt. I think he maybe got slightly off-time on one step, though, and it seemed to throw him a little off his game for the rest of the dance – a bit of a bobbled lift, and he also seemed to lose the confidence he started with. Not sure I would have docked a whole 8 points for it, but I can’t say I was entirely surprised to see the judges take advantage of the chance to give him a bit of a handicap against Rumer & Riker by doling out straight 8’s. His freestyle was lovely, though – and I was floored at how well he handled that star lift. No bobbles there, and he only had 1 arm to support her! Overall, I don’t think Noah placing 3rd is anything to be ashamed of – the dude overcame some pretty ridiculous odds to make it all this way, and I daresay he’s proven that he’s a decent dancer, PERIOD…and not just a decent dancer, for being an amputee. And I’ve loved watching every step of the journey
Runner-up: Rumer & Val
I think the fact that these two kinda went the safe route on a night when another couple (Riker & Allison) took more risks may ultimately relegate them to 2nd place. Honestly, kinda shocked that the judges (or Rumer & Val, or whoever picked the redo dances) picked their foxtrot for them to redo – I wouldn’t exactly say that it was their most impactful dance, nor was it particularly well-executed or interesting to watch. I found it kind of odd & flaily on premiere night…and I found it odd & flaily tonight, too. Just…hmmm. Also, food for thought: for last season’s redo dances, those who picked their week 1 dances to redo (Alfonso & Bethany) were required to add an extra 30 seconds of content in order to make the dances longer, since the week 1 routines are so short. They didn’t make that requirement this week…why? Just something to contemplate. As for their freestyle – eh. Felt like a garden-variety Argentine tango – and part of me wonders if they were just so set on doing Argentine tango at some point (remember, they thought they had it last week for the judges’ choice!) that they just reworked their original routine a bit in order to turn it into some semblance of a freestyle. I get that Val was going for the “stripped-down, back to basics” look (hehe…where have I heard that before?), but in the process, I think they lost a bit of what makes the freestyle special: that knock-your-socks-off performance value. This was nice to watch – but it didn’t leave me feeling forever changed or dazzled.
Winner: Riker & Allison
I think these two came into the finale with the right strategy: knock ’em dead with 2 showstopping dances. God bless that pirate paso doble – I think Riker could have easily slayed any dance that Rumer may have redone with this number…it was THAT good, and he was even more on-point doing it tonight. As I mentioned on Twitter – I kind of love how committed Riker is to the character of Captain Jack. When that costume goes on, he’s 100% Jack, and his technique is flawless. And then the freestyle – it felt like a bit of a riff on Alfonso’s freestyle last season, but I loved that dance so much that this really felt like almost a sequel or a remix. A really nice combination of the old and the new, and Allison killed the choreo…even saw a few signature Twitch moves thrown in 😉 And that bit at the end with Riker dancing with the guys in the troupe? A few times, I thought I saw Derek up there – he’s got that same great quality of movement and sense of ease onstage that D has. When it all boils down tomorrow night, I think Riker may have played all the right cards – because I think full-out and flashy won out against simple and stripped down tonight.
So what freestyles did you enjoy the most/least? And who do you guys think will win?