Dancing with the Stars Season 23, The Finale – Dancing by the Numbers! The MBT Goes to…

I’m somewhat happy to say that I don’t really know what’s going to happen. 🙂  Not sure where to start on this one.

Well, I think my favorite freestyle was Calvin’s. But I think he’s going to get third place. Love the dude…and I really find any man who gets emotional seeing his (extremely gorgeous) son exceptionally attractive. But I think he should be happy with third place, considering the competition.

A word on Lindsay – this girl is phenomenal. She may still use a ghost – I have no idea and I don’t care. But the concept is likely hers, as it was last season – and a good concept it was! Loved the treadmill concept and how she made use of Calvin’s excellent lifting skilz. If she is using a ghost, there are a few other pros who need to take note and realize that your JOB is to give the very best to your celebrity partner. It’s not about you and your ego. Derek – the best choreographer this show has ever seen – has brought in outside choreographers and showed them on camera when it was a style or area that he just was not experienced in – like the Bhangra with Shawn. They showed him researching Lindy Hop on the internet way back in Season 7.  He regularly works with non-DWTS choreographers on stuff not related to DWTS – and it only helps him and his creativity. You have to focus on what is best for your celeb. That is what Lindsay is doing. Great work, Lindsay. I can’t say it often enough. This girl is one to watch.

Another word, this time on Gleb. Not very impressed with his work this season. BUT, I will say that his very sincere emotion after his freestyle with Jana gave me a great deal of hope for his future on DWTS. He felt genuinely very upset with how that dance went. This dude is not phoning it in. Yeah, they had some issues, and I’m not a fan of Jana. But he cares very much and I hope he gets a partner that will challenge him next season and he gets another shot. There’s a lot to be said for a total investment – if you are so invested in how well you did that you are moved to GENUINE tears after a dance doesn’t work, there is hope for you.  No, not talking about the package – so much of that is BS. I’m talking about after their dance when talking to Erin.

As for Sharna – beautiful foxtrot that she gave James. It gave me slight shades of Derek and Nicole’s Michael Buble foxtrot which is my favorite dance of all time. It wasn’t that… but that is still high praise indeed. I need to watch his freestyle again – I’m still not 100% on how I feel about it. It didn’t strike an overly emotional chord with me, but I respected it for what it was. Cool, contemporary, good music, strong message – well danced. It was a dance that will strike a strong chord with his fans. It will definitely appeal to a strong segment of the audience. Not sure why I’m not raving over it. I said in the comments of my Live Blog post that it didn’t seem over wrought, but hopeful and positive…and uplifting. He survived a horrific crash and I think Sharna did a good job of portraying what that was like through the movement and staging. Best freestyle ever? Nooooo…but a very respectable effort and I can see why some are raving over it.

When you put the three freestyles side by side, I would have to say that I rank them Calvin, James, Laurie – in that order. And I think that Calvin and James are quite a bit ahead of Laurie. Not that her freestyle was bad, on the contrary – I think it was perfect FOR HER. And probably Val’s best freestyle – maybe ever. But therein lies the difference – Calvin and James have life experience, whereas Laurie really doesn’t. She’s happy-happy without a lot of depth – but you wouldn’t expect that from a 16 year old. That’s how it is. That’s the challenge of having a young celebrity.  And while that was Val’s best *for HIM*, he’s still not rising to the level of what Lindsay and Sharna did (and have done in the past). The difference between the three freestyles is summed up like this:

Calvin = WHOO HOO!!

Laurie = Happy dance, happy dance

James = Hmmmm….deep, I don’t know what to think, interesting….and compelling

Now, to me, my reaction to Calvin and James are those that get votes. They either make you extremely happy, or they make you think and analyze while you feel it. :::shrug::: I guess we’ll see. But right now, when thinking about how I feel combined with the scores I have to think it’s advantage James. But let’s look at the numbers:


One point between James and Laurie – which is nothing if people actually VOTE!

Calvin is on the bottom and, while these margins are not large, I would be surprised if he managed to claw his way into second place –  I think he’s very worthy, but I think the judges tone, scores and overall behavior towards Calvin likely solidified him in third place. But here are the margins:


Oookay. Looking at these numbers, I’m going to say that it’s going to come down to Laurie and James. Those aren’t huge margins and, while I would LOVE to see Calvin supplant Laurie, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Laurie or James….Laurie or James. Man, It’s a tough call. As you can see from the table above, James only needs about 3,400 more votes per million votes cast than Laurie in order to win the season. I just can’t decide if he’s going to do it or not.

It’s certainly been done before. Kellie was a point behind Zendaya. Nyle was in third place after night one. Donald was a point behind Katherine and Donald won. So it’s certainly plausible. But can James pull it out?

I dunno.  There are quite a few things that make me think James.  One – he danced last and Laurie danced 3rd. Dance order on the final night is often revealing – it no longer helps or hurts someone to have the “pimp” spot, but it is often reflective of who’s going to win. I have NO idea if this is an intentional or subconscious thing on the part of the producers.  But…

Nyle – danced 2nd
Bindi – danced last
Rumer – danced last
Alfonso – danced last
Meryl – danced 2nd on night 1, last on night 2
Amber – danced last
Kellie – danced 2nd to last (Zendaya was last)
Melissa – danced 2nd to last (Shawn was last)
Donald and Peta (S14) – danced last
JR – danced last
Hines – danced last

Now, this is not evidence but it is very, VERY compelling (shocked that I hadn’t looked this up before and shocked how consistent it is, actually). Nyle not dancing last could mean that they decided to shake things up last season and we can’t rely on this at all. I think we’ve mentioned this theory in passing before, and the producers do read this site (or Conrad did anyway). As for Kellie and Melissa? Well, the vast majority of people expected both Zendaya and Shawn to win those seasons – perhaps the dance order was decided based on who the *producers* thought were going to win as well. They were wrong and got surprised by the votes. That’s certainly how I’m leaning. If the dance order changes tonight, I point you to Meryl’s season. Hope it stays the same, as the odds for a James win go up.

Another reason I’m leaning toward a James win is Shawn Johnson. James is Melissa (only a better dancer with a better choreographer) while Laurie is Shawn (equal ability, not nearly as well served by her choreographer). Never know how an audience is going to react to a ringer of her magnitude – are they going to love how good she is, or think she has an unfair advantage up against a total non-dancer?? Depends on who the ringer is competing against. Problem here is – I think they love Laurie because she’s lovable…but so is James.

Final reason (that I can think of right now), is the freestyle. I think that a great freestyle won’t hand you the competition unless you were already poised for a victory – I liked Calvin’s best but I don’t think he’ll win just because of it. I DO think that a bad freestyle can cost you the competition. Last night there were no “bad” freestyles (besides Jana – but we’re not counting her because she’s eliminated). But my sense is that it’s close between Laurie and James. I think a freestyle like James’ could very well tip the competition over to him.

So, I think that Laurie had the fanbase advantage coming in, not to mention the kind of past training that often makes for a good/great dancer, and she was certainly pimped there for a while.  But James has a lot of other advantages.

Almost too close to call, but I’m saying “Advantage James”.

Final note: I fully expect the dance tonight to do nothing other than narrow James’ margin to beat Laurie. Read my live blog to get my real time thoughts if they do something OTHER than given everyone the same score.