I always love these. Check out Kelly’s good luck bracelet that Val gave her. Melissa screams while Tony gets sentimental. Derek and Shawn talk of the ending flip which they never did before.
Dancing With The Stars Louis Van Amstel is back with a new blog at ABC. He reviews last night’s dances and gives an update on he and Sabrina. He also gives us a little preview for the performances tonight. This is going to be interesting, hmmm?
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the entire cast, except for the final three couples, had to do all group rehearsals on Sunday. Even though it was a crazy long day of rehearsal we had so much fun, joking, laughing, and pranking each other all day. I actually can’t believe with all that going on we were still able to be productive. Kuddos to Lacey Schwimmer who choreographed the finale group number and kept us all in line when necessary.
During tonight’s finale, the two group dances — “Gangnam Style” and “Call Me Maybe” — will be performed again with former competitors Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson replacing finalists Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy and Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower and Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya taking the place of Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough and Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani. I have to say seeing Joey and Kym do “Gangnam style” is absolutely hilarious. That routine was made for him. I laughed so hard when I saw it during camera blocking.
Tonight the champions will be revealed after they dance the unpredictable “Instant dance,” which is either a Samba, Cha Cha or Jive. No one knows which one they will have until they pull the dance out of a hat at the beginning of the show. It’s going to be very interesting!
Also coming up tonight, the eliminated couples will each perform a routine, either an existing dance or a brand new one. Sabrina and I will dance our “Wanted” Rumba, which was so special to both of us. (Hopefully many of you who had no power due to Hurricane Sandy to watch will enjoy this emotional Rumba!) There will also be kids dancing with some of the celebrity couples. These kids are fearless and amazing. You’re going to love it.
You can read more in detail at ABC.
I’m going to repeat what I said in the comments in another post early yesterday:
Congratulations to all three ladies for making it to the finale – you all won. Seriously, you did.
Kelly wins because she blew everyone’s expectations out of the water. I don’t think she should win, but she should be extremely proud of what she’s accomplished. I don’t think this was really a win for Val, but those of you who are regulars already know what I think on this subject.
Melissa and Tony – huge winners. Melissa showed a lot of growth and she’s just so NICE and likeable. I really love the girl and I won’t be devastated if she wins. Tony? Fan-freakin’-tastic season for him. He’s often been considered, by myself and others, as too reliant on the syllabus and often unimaginative in terms of chore – he blew that away this season. Fantastic job. Yes, huge risk with the freestyle because the slow, quiet ones don’t often win, but you get credit for balls. Although I’m a Shawn/Derek fan, I may cry if Tony wins because I’m a real sucker for that story (and that’s the reason why I think they may just win). (Side Note: Intel says you WILL cry if they air Derek’s confessional with Shawn. Apparently he’s very emotional and the implication from what I heard is because it is indeed his last season. I could go on, but I won’t. He’s also apparently surprised by his own reaction.)
Shawn and Derek – hands down the best dancers of the season and not only that, Derek out did even himself in terms of choreography and creativity. He really is the King of Choreography, to quote numerous media outlets and Adam Shankman. Naysayers that claim she’s all tricks and lifts? I will quote Bill Clinton – it’s simple ARITHMETIC. Yes, I did just quote Bill Clinton because it’s appropriate. Take Melissa’s Lindy, Caveman Hustle, AT and Freestyle and COUNT. Then count all the lifts/tricks in Shawn’s entire season. Get back to me with the results. Heh. Anyway, regardless of the actual WIN (which they may not get) they are the biggest winners of all. Derek has set a standard that few can measure up to, as has Shawn. In a years’ time, when people look back on this season, Derek and Shawn’s will be the dances that most easily spring to mind – although I have no doubt that some will go to their grave denying that fact. That’s a win, no matter how you slice it.
Anyway, I think it comes down to Melissa and Shawn and, as of right now, Shawn’s fans had serious work to do in order to make up the deficit. Everything hinges on the instant dance. If the margin stays the same or gets wider between Shawn and Melissa, I have to give it to Melissa – too many people are buying into the pity party and Derek’s fantastic record may come back to haunt him. Derek – please leave this show. You are so destined for bigger and better things. You are not fully appreciated and you won’t be until you’re gone.
Anyway, what are our numbers after the first two dances?
I’m a firm believer in two things:
- The judges have an overwhelming desire to be RIGHT. Meaning that they will sway their scoring tonight so that it reflects what they’ve been told about the voting. The only question is how stupid they are about it – do they really understand the math? Doubtful.
- The overwhelming need for the producers to have DRAMA. The need to make it a horse race at all times. JR was not in the lead going into the final night, neither was Donald. I’m sure there are others. I don’t think they have a stake in who wins, as long as it’s exciting. Do I know what this means? Not until it’s over.
These two things – which are mainly observations that I will post on in more detail in a week or so – lead me to not really know what’s going to happen. Did they overscore Kelly and over hype Melissa because that’s how the voting is going?? Or did they over penalize Shawn because she’s running away with it and want a come from behind win?? What story are they trying to sell?? Because rest assured, this show is all about the story. Normally I would say – Occam’s Razor, which states (roughly): The simplest explanation is the most likely to be accurate. Of course, that also assumes that you don’t have 15 seasons worth of data to study on which to base your theories.
Of course, that doesn’t take into account actual VOTING. And at the end of the show last night, my feeling was similar to Courtney’s but I’ll be more blunt about it – the pity vote/good story vote for Melissa and Tony is a lot stronger than simply amazing dancing. And that is nearly always true on this show. Yes, Melissa is a good dancer too, but in terms of WOW factor? No contest. But, I think that Melissa will likely win because of that prevailing “Oh, we must pick them because they’ve never won before.” In my mind, DWTS has become pee wee baseball. Everyone must have a trophy. Sad. Simple minded. It will lead to less exciting dancing and mediocrity. Anyway…
As you can see, Derek and Shawn have a ways to go if all things remain the same. In order for Shawn to WIN, she needs both of the following things:
- Shawn needs to get 11,400 more votes per million votes cast than Kelly, AND;
- Shawn needs to get 17,100 more votes per million votes cast than Melissa.
Not a huge amount, normally, but this is the finale. Who knows? I honestly don’t know. Besides, everything hinges on the instant dance. I can’t imagine that anyone will get a 30 on it, but let’s say they all get 27. That would then mean that Shawn needs both of the following:
- Shawn needs to get 7,800 more votes per million votes cast than Kelly, AND;
- Shawn needs to get 11,700 more votes per million votes cast than Melissa.
That’s a pretty sizeable difference. It also puts Kelly in easy striking difference of Melissa. Prior to tonight’s dancing, Kelly needs the following to win:
- Kelly needs for Shawn to NOT get 11,400 more votes per million votes cast, AND;
- Kelly needs to get 5,700 more votes per million votes cast than Melissa.
That doesn’t look too hard does it? Well, it’s the finale. But look how an even distribution of instant dance points tonight helps her. Helps Shawn too. The only person it doesn’t help is Melissa, because it closes the gap a good bit. If all three ladies get 27, Kelly would then need all of the following to win:
- Kelly would need for Shawn to NOT get 7,800 more votes per million votes cast, AND;
- Kelly would need to get 3,900 more votes per million votes cast than Melissa.
Heh. Yes, Kelly is in striking distance of Melissa…but Shawn is also a LOT closer to Kelly. In this scenario, I could see Shawn winning and Kelly taking second. Will it go that way? No idea. I tend to doubt it.
The ONLY beneficial way for this to go for Melissa is if she wins the instant dance round. If she takes it, I think it solidifies a win for her. If she gets second or third, it’s anybody’s game. Let’s take a look at what happens if they rank them and Melissa gets second place, Kelly taking third; that is, Shawn gets a 30, Melissa 28 and Kelly a 26 – I don’t know they’re going to do this, only that they have done it in the past. If that’s how it plays out, Shawn would still be in second place with 87 points, but only by a point. Kelly would be in third with 85 points. For Kelly to win in this situation, she would need BOTH of the following to happen:
- Kelly would need 7,700 more votes per million votes cast than Shawn, AND;
- Kelly would need 11,600 more votes per million votes cast than Melissa.
For Shawn to Win, she would need for Kelly to not get those votes to pass her and she would ONLY need 3,900 more votes per million votes cast than Melissa.
There are a hundred different scenarios that I could expound on at length, but since I don’t have a good feel for what it is they’re going for or if they are at the point they’re going to throw it to the viewers – I’m not going to bother. Heck, they could even go back to giving out a 10, a 9, and an 8 which gives the edge back to Melissa.
At the end of the day, my feeling is the voters will go the sympathy route of “Tony and Melissa have never won before” – which is stupid. This is the all star season – it’s supposed to be the best of the best. How can you be the best of the best if you’ve NEVER won before? The simple answer is – you can’t.
My pick (but not my favorite):
Runner up: Shawn
Last year’s champ Donald Driver was a guest on Good Morning America today. He reviews Monday night’s finale dances on Dancing With The Stars. He thinks Shawn Johnson stole the show. He also talks of Melissa and how she deserved her “30′s, but, he still thinks Shawn will win. He supports Shawn and Derek’s quickstep and the risk of doing it without any changes because it’s all about the fan votes at the end of the day. Donald also comments for how he would like to see Melissa win because it would be her first mirror ball.
“Still the champ” …Donald Driver. You can watch his interview in full at Good Morning America HERE.
It’s so good to see him and his big SMILE again!
What a finale on Dancing With The Stars last night and one I don’t think I’ll soon forget, but, let’s not forget, more is on tap for tonight including the Instant dances. George Pennacchio tries to find out what he can on them, but, he doesn’t get much information except that the couples were headed straight to rehearsals after the show last night. However, he does get their reactions on their dances last night and also asks them what they want to do “when it’s all over”….
First up, Tony and Melissa! They are so happy and full of excitement. Tony says he’s so proud of Melissa. It’s been the most amazing ride. When this is all over, Melissa says she wants to be proud of what the accomplished and she also wants to win. Tony wants to see the mirror ball on his mantel. They did everything they could and left their hearts on the dance floor. For the instant dance, they hope to sort it out. Maks comes to hug Tony and calls him a secret name. Maks also tells Tony that he loved him.
Kelly says the night felt good. George tells Val he was wise for their song choice. Val explains how they did it to represent their journey and what they’ve went through. Kelly has a hard time saying what she wants when this competition is all over, but, finally mentions wanting a pedicure playing it safe. Val just wants to go home and enjoy his family and the proud look on their faces. For the instant dance, they have a choice of three and they were going straight to rehearsals.
Derek and Shawn talk of why they didn’t change their repeat dance and broke rules again. They wanted to entertain the most of all and be who they are as a couple. When this is all over, Shawn wants to go see her family. Derek wants to gain 10 pounds, get healthy, and enjoy Christmas with his family.
For more with Derek and Shawn, be sure to visit Pure Derek Hough. Heidi has an awesome media round up on them including more OTRC interviews!!
Access Hollywood interviewed the couples as well. Tony and Melissa talk of why they took a risk with their freestyle. They knew they had to do something different. Kelly and Val just wanted to do something that was about their journey like they’ve been doing all season. “If it’s not broken, why fix it”…. Read more..
First off, a bit of an apology/explanation: some of you may have noticed me being a bit quiet and scarce both on Twitter and here at Pure the past few days – that was due to a rather intense bout of the stomach flu which had me sidelined for 5 days. I’m feeling much better, but still not 100%…and thus I’ve just been taking it easy, saving my energy for things like the cheese and power rankings. Thanks for hanging in there with me
…I find myself repeating a lot of the “guidelines” Heidi & I set forth about a year ago when we did our Top 10 Best & Worst freestyles in DWTS history, after watching the freestyles tonight. I feel like only one couple really knocked it out of the park, and the other two made some pretty amateurish mistakes…one in particular showed us just how green he is in the freestyle arena. And I’ve decided that I just HATE the “favorite dance” round, since it’s nothing really new, and I think it’s seldom a vast improvement on the original performance…and I think it can often turn out WORSE. Can’t we just go back to the redemption routine, where it was completely new choreography, new music, and a clean slate?
Gonna do things differently tonight, and start off with 3rd place and work my way up…
3rd place: Kelly & Val
I’m left with mixed feelings for both of their dances, overall. The paso doble started off very promising – lots of attack, and not a single falter UNTIL that rather noticeable slip of the hand and momentary loss of connection, which I have to assume was due to Kelly’s nerves. I seriously thought she might pass out, as anxious as she was looking beforehand. But she did manage to regain her footing, and I was actually impressed that she managed to do her whole turning sequence without getting dizzy or off-balance this time. But she just looked so SCARED, and while she corrected the problems from last time, she had problems with a different section this time. Was it an improvement? Sure. But I don’t think it was perfect, and I kinda wish Bruno had docked her half a point as well – if you’re going to point out an obvious error, I think you should adjust your score accordingly. Len may have given her a 10, but at least he did it WITHOUT also pointing out the mistake she made. Moving on to the freestyle…*sigh* This is the part where I chastise Val for making the rookie freestyle mistake of kinda copping out with a movie theme that is SO iconic that he & Kelly had no hope of ever living up to the original – and then even going as far as to copying some of that iconic choreography, so it makes the contrast to the original even more obvious and just makes the copier pale in comparison to the original. Historically, dance movie-themed freestyles on the show have not gone over well - examples that come to mind are Mya & Dmitry’s Hairspray freestyle, Gilles & Cheryl’s Flashdance freestyle, Evan & Anna’s Footloose freestyle, Stacy & Tony’s Saturday Night Fever freestyle, and Bristol & Mark’s Chicago freestyle. Why? They’re almost always cheap, generic knockoffs of the original, and we’re kinda just left feeling “meh” about the whole dance. I think this was the biggest flaw of Kelly & Val’s freestyle – the overall theme (and choreography) was a watered-down, lukewarm copy of the show-stopped Swayze & Grey number from the end of Dirty Dancing. Did it have relevance to Kelly & Val’s relationship? Ok, maybe – but I think they would have fared better had they stayed away from such a recognizable piece of music and the choreography associated with it, and done something more unique to them. As for the dancing itself – as with many of their dances, it felt like it took a long time for them to finally start dancing, and there seemed to be a few stutters and what I call “empty space”: gaps in the choreography where more dancing could be fit in, but instead we had…standing around. The lifts were decent, but I think they paled in comparison to both Melissa & Shawn’s; I thought the troupe rushing in like a disorganized herd of elephants was a BIG mistake, though. It was at that moment that I really lost sight of Kelly, who should have been the focus for the whole routine. The choir? Ok, cute touch, but I think it too distracted from Kelly. Overall, just wayyyy too many people onstage for her dance, and if they were going to copy anything, they should have copied the section of Tony & Cheryl’s DD routine where the group comes in, because it was far more organized and not nearly as distracting. Yes, Kelly & Val had great chemistry – but has that ever really been a problem? I guess I’m just glad they didn’t go the route of over-the-top mush, so I will give them props for that. Was it a good routine? Mehhh…they danced what they had well enough, but I just think the content (and theme) could have been much better thought out. In the end, I think Kelly will likely end up in 3rd - especially if things end up like I think they will after the instant dance. I’m guessing it’s going to be ranked, in which case I think the judges easily give her 3rd place; and “soap fanbase” or not, I think Shawn has always had her beat, and I think Melissa’s more buzzworthy at the moment.
: Shawn & Derek
I would LOVE to be wrong and for these two to win – I think they deserve it. But part of me just can’t shake the feeling that there are too many people riding on the “Melissa & Tony have never won before so they should win this time” train for Shawn & Derek to overcome – especially since they got reamed for their quickstep, which I’m feeling on-the-fence about. As I said earlier, I kinda hate the whole “repeat your favorite dance again!” concept, because I feel like the routines only have a small margin for improvement…and even if they don’t improve, the judges tend to cop out and give them inflated scores anyway. But that said – I really wish Derek would have given my nerves a rest and just tweaked the choreography a bit for a few more points. I think they still have the opportunity to slide into at least 2nd place – but I’m just not sure that the rule-breaking was worth the risk this time. The rule-breaking left the door WIDE open for those judges to storyboard the crap out of this week, for them to lowball Shawn, the early frontrunner, in order to give the impression of it being “anyone’s game”. The routine was spectacular once again – but I thought it was only maybe a tad better than the original, since there wasn’t really a lot of stuff to improve upon, other than the choreography itself. I would be resting a lot easier tonight if they had just picked their mambo and knocked it out of the park again - which makes me wonder, like Heidi, if these dances were chosen FOR them, as opposed to being chosen BY them. As for their freestyle – I may have a colorful and varied vocabulary, but I believe the best response to this once was “OMG.” STUNNING tricks, especially the counterbalance stretch at the beginning and that insane falling-face-first-towards-the-floor-from-my-partner’s-shoulders-but-gracefully-ducking-into-a-roll-at-the-last-possible-moment stunt that left me holding my breath. I officially crown that the most ambitious stunt ever attempted in DWTS history, because that was some seriously dangerous sh*t, kids. Loved the fact that Derek included bits & pieces of their mambo, bhangra, Argentine tango, and a few other dances in their freestyle – he knows Len just eats that stuff up. Also loved the Fab 5 backing Shawn up – so cute seeing them gyrating in their matching black costumes, and nailing the choreography as only a squad of Olympic gold medalists could Overall, if it were up to me, these two would walk away with the MBT tomorrow night – because they have danced flawlessly, entertained me week after week, and have brought something new to the table each time they hit the floor. That, to me, is what the champion of the all-star season should be…I’m praying I’m wrong about the results tomorrow night!
The winner: Melissa & Tony
In the end, I won’t be upset if these two win – they’ve been working hard and giving us good, drama-free dance each week, and dammit, they’re likeable I think both of them have stepped out of their comfort zone quite a bit this season and have really grown, and even though they may not have been the most technical or the most entertaining dancers each week, I still enjoyed watching them. But I do think they were a bit overscored tonight, and maybe lacked a little bit of the panache of both Shawn & Derek and Kelly & Val. Their samba – I actually think it was a little bit of a backslide from the original, because it didn’t feel as fluid to me this time. Rather than Melissa just moving through it effortlessly like she did last time, it felt a bit more…I don’t know, stop-and-go this time? As if Tony had maybe focused a bit too much on having her really accentuate each step, and the end result looked a bit too isolated. It defintely wasn’t bad, but I just preferred the original myself – seemed like she wasn’t under as much pressure and enjoyed the dance more. Then we have their freestyle – as a side note, I have to wonder if Tony was drawing inspiration from Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian, an incredible theater arts champion couple, when he was choreographing this routine – because a lot of these lifts had a very Eric & Georgia feel to them, and even Melissa’s costume reminded me of one I’d seen on Georgia before. Anywho! I’m a little bit torn on this one – I normally complain about routines that are too lift-dependent, and I feel like this routine was almost entirely lifts. But I will say this: Tony is still the best lifter we’ve seen on the show, and I think Melissa may have given Julianne a run for her money as the best liftee tonight – because the lifts they did were just stunning. It was a beautiful routine – and I do feel like it was a good homage to Melissa’s routine on the show. But I think going with such a slow song was a bit of a gamble…the only precedent we have for a freestyle done to more of a ballad was Erin & Maks’ in season 10, and it only seem to read lukewarm with fans. I think Melissa’s was definitely better, but I wonder if she might have a more competitive edge against Shawn & Kelly with a more uptempo song. In the end, I won’t really mind too much if Melissa wins – she’s nice, she’s worked hard, and I think she & Tony have had the right attitude about this season. Guess we’ll have to see how things pan out after the instant dance…
So who do you guys think will be walking home with the MBT tomorrow night? And which returning stars are you looking forward to seeing?
For those interested, be sure to tune into ET tonight and Tuesday night as pro dancer Maks Chmerkovskiy will weigh in on the Dancing With The Stars finale. Below is a teaser….
ADDING: And this was just posted too with Cheryl Burke talking about Dancing With The Stars and the finale. Note how the gangham style dance will be performed again….
This is so good. You can see a sneak peek to what’s going to happen tonight on Dancing With The Stars….
If you’d like to see the three couples talk more on Good Morning America today and read more of their thoughts going into tonight, see a previous posting here.
Below is a judges mash up released by ABC….
TV Guide has sized up the three finalists. They give their take on each contestant for their advantages and disadvantages leading up to tonight’s finale on Dancing With The Stars and also what to watch for. Below is take about Melissa….
For Her: Effortless ability, a drama-free, fun partnership with Tony Dovolani and never having won before. The Season 8 third-place finisher was pegged for an early exit by many, given who she was up against, but she’s stealthily defied the odds and beat out two former champs in the semifinals to get another crack at the Mirrorball trophy.
Needs to work on: Her connection with Dovolani. Footwork-wise, Rycroft can rival Johnson, but she tends to dance within herself, and her hold with Dovolani suffers for it. Get tighter and dance bigger.
Why she might win: She’s never won before. If fans want to spread the wealth, they’ll go for these guys. The toothy twosome’s carefree relationship is delightful, and frankly, Dovolani deserves to win one after enduring Kate Gosselin and continuously being saddled with non-contenders. They’ve also got momentum on their side after winning the swing marathon and getting perfect 30s the past two weeks. Though Johnson has the highest cumulative score and season average, Rycroft has the most 30s.
Watch out for: How Dovolani’s back holds up. He pulled his back just last week and was stiff in the semifinals. If he does recover fully, can he put together a winning routine for what has been his Achilles’ heel: the freestyle?
You can read what TV Guide has to say on Shawn and Kelly here. I have to say they pretty much pegged it. What do you think?
Also, last year’s Dancing With The Stars champ, Donald Driver, has also analyzed the finale. You can read his views at the LA Times. He’s not convinced the winner will be Shawn Johnson. Below is more including his thoughts on fellow football player and friend, Emmitt Smith, being eliminated.
Q: Are you surprised that Emmitt Smith was eliminated just before the finals? Most people had him favored to win.
I was a bit surprised, but that’s the nature of the competition. An all-star was going to get sent home, it just happened to be him. I’m sure he’s disappointed, but at the end of the day he’s still a “Dancing With the Stars” champion. He still gets to go home and look at that mirror ball trophy he won in season three.
Q: Who do you think will win?
I have heard a lot of people say Shawn [Johnson], but like you said, Emmitt was the favorite before that and now he’s no longer in the competition. I may just have to weigh in during the show tonight or tomorrow from my Twitter account (@Donald_Driver80) with my final prediction after the dances tonight!
Stay tuned. Donald will give his thoughts on the dancing tonight on Good Morning America tomorrow.
Isn’t this a great take of Derek Hough and Shirley Ballas? The two were seen shopping out and about Hollywood yesterday. Shirley wrote a little about it at her Facebook page. She also commented about seeing rehearsals yesterday and described it as “simply wow”. Picture above is courtesy of the Daily Mail. You can see loads of more pics and updates about Derek at Pure Derek Hough including a story about him helping a homeless man. Are we surprised knowing how kind hearted he is?!! Here’s to Team Shawnough tonight!