Posted by: Lauren on Nov 24, 2011
The finals are here! It seems like we have been at this for a very long time. And by we, I mean me. Hope Solo was thankfully sent home last week, leaving us with three deserving finalists. We have the inspiring J.R. Martinez (a veteran who was badly injured while serving the U.S. military), former talk show host Ricki Lake, and relative of "famous" people, Rob Kardashian. If you had told me when we started this season that I wouldn't be actively rooting against Rob this week, I would not have believed you. He still isn't my favourite, but he has worked hard and earned his spot in the finals. Also, I love his partner, Cheryl. For the finale show (which is thankfully just one hour), each of the couples have just two dances including a fun freestyle round, and they get to have a teaching session with one of our esteemed judges as well.
Ricki Lake and Derek (Cha Cha Cha):
Ricki is starting things off tonight, and she gets a visit from Carrie Ann. Carrie Ann is trying to teach her to let her sexiness shine through, because her technique is already great.
Her cha cha cha starts out really strong. She is so sharp and precise with her movements, but also has a ton of fun with the dance. It is nice to see how far she has come (even though she was always among the top dancers). The routine is just crisp and sharp and a bunch of fun. Len thinks it was action-packed and that she had great hip action. Bruno thinks she was at full-steam and super hot. Carrie Ann loved how she lived the dance, instead of just performing it. Each judge also mentions a few problems with fluidity, so we aren't expecting 10s. Scores: 9,9,9.
Freestyle: Derek is being a bit of jerk in rehearsal, but his goal is to make Ricki awesome in a challenging freestyle. Wow, to start things off, RIcki busts through a giant poster of her at her "starting weight" on the show. Just like on a mid-90s episode of Donahue. That was really weird! In amongst all the tricks, there are some awkward almost-missed hand grabs and stuff…the dance just looks like a bit of a fight between them, instead of a partnership. It is fun, but I didn't love it. Len thought it was fun and entertaining, but she lost it a bit in the quickstep. Bruno thought it was a really demanding dance, and the combination of the quickstep and the salsa was great. Carrie Ann liked the lifts and the difficulty of the dance. Scores: 9,9,9.
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl (Waltz):
Rob gets a visit from Bruno, who despite his gibbering, is actually a talented dancer and teacher. He tries to teach him to walk perfectly in his waltz (a difficult skill, they say).
The waltz Rob does is very pretty and floaty. Sometimes his has a bit of awkwardness in his hand positioning, but the dance is very strong overall. He really looks like he is having fun out there, and the dance is beautiful (full points to Cheryl). Bruno thinks he was flowing and glowing, but noticed a few bumps in the footwork. Carrie Ann is so impressed with how far he has come and how fluid the dance was. Len thinks he had "more rise and fall than Pam Anderson jogging", and that it was beautiful and flowing. Scores: 9,9,9.
Freestyle: Cheryl wants to build on Rob's success in the slow dances and then bring something crazy and fast at the end. The costumes for the dance are flapper-inspired and quite cute. The dance ends with a fast jive section and a fun spinning lift. Rob is totally beat by the end of the routine, and it was pretty impressive. Bruno thinks it had brilliant content, execution and performance. Carrie Ann is utterly blown away by it. She tells them they will be getting a 10 from her. Len thinks he gave it his all and deserves a great score. Scores: 10, 10, 10. The Kardashian section of the audience goes bonkers.
J.R. Martinez and Karina (Cha Cha Cha):
Len spends his session with J.R. working on his hip action and giving him general pointers about performance. Len wants to see Karina get a win, which is sweet. Also, the big injury to J.R.'s ankle last week seems to be a non-issue this week.
I don't really love the choreography of this cha cha cha, it seems to be a little less technique than Ricki's. Most of the dance is spent not in hold, with J.R. just walking around the floor pointing at various people and the camera. His technique is strong, but I think the dance could have done more to showcase his strength. The audience goes bonkers for it, so maybe I'm off. Carrie Ann thinks his musicality was off tonight. Len thought it was a bold choice to dance so much of the routine alone, but there was too much attack. Bruno liked the mood he set and his intensity, but saw some problems too. Scores: 8,7,9. Whoa! a 7 from Len…that is crazy!
Freestyle: They are practicing some really crazy lift thing where J.R. jumps at Karina's face…and they have problems with it in rehearsal. They pull off a tough one at the beginning of this freestyle salsa, and the routine has tons of energy. They get the other lift down fine too, but they are out of sync on a simple move right after that. It was a really cool routine for sure, but I don't think it was perfect. Carrie Ann just does salsa moves and praises the crazy lifts. Len loved seeing his talent shine through. Bruno liked J.R.'s animal physicality. Scores: 10, 10, 10.
So with Ricki shut out of the 10 party tonight, she might be in trouble for the win tomorrow. Anyone could really take it, which is exciting. Thank goodness there is no Bristol Palin in the finals this year. The couples have one more dance on the finale results show (tomorrow), and the judge's scores from those dances will be added into these scores to determine the winner.
Let's get right to the finale results show here. I don't usually recap these, but this week is special, of course.
During the finale, the couples will dance two more times and those dances will be judged and the scores added to the total. To start things off, the cast of pros does a big group number, and then each of the pros come out with their (eliminated) contestant. I wish that David had made it farther…Hope and Nancy were so the worst. In the scenes that show how the previous night's performances went, we see that J.R. really was way off on his dance. That 7 from Len was definitely deserved.
The couples get to re-do a dance they did earlier in the competition, and Ricki and Derek have chosen to do the tango that they already got a 29 on. The point of this is to like show how they have improved, and I don't know how Ricki is supposed to do that on a dance she already nailed. The dance definitely shows off Ricki's strength and what a good dancer she is..I just would have like to see something from earlier in the competition when they got 7s or 8s.
Rob and Cheryl pick their Sinatra-themed foxtrot that Rob dedicated to his Dad. I am happy that Rob has gained so much confidence and has been able to step out of the shadow cast by his loud and obnoxious family, but he still isn't an interesting celebrity. Their re-make of this foxtrot is very good, no surprise. The song is fun and it suits Rob's personality.
J.R. and Karina choose to re-do the jive that they got penalized for a lift and for too much lindy-hop content. I think J.R. screws up early on in this re-do, he does like a big kick and arm movement while Karina is just standing there. It doesn't really matter of course, but the rest of the dance is appropriately high-energy and fun.
After these dances, the judges award a first, second and third place amount of points, and they go Ricki, J.R. and Rob, in that order. Right after that, we have a mini-elimination of the third place couple. Oh man, it is Ricki and Derek!! Too bad…I liked her. You can see that J.R. and Rob are both really shocked. I am really only rooting for J.R. to win now, which makes the rest of this show rather dull. I should say that my love of Cheryl is so much that there is a small part of me that still wants them to win too, but I really don't think they will. What fans does he have? (More than Ricki, I guess).
The two remaining couples dance one last time, and they will be doing another instant dance, this time a samba. While they prepare, we get to see some of the former contestants dance. I am not going to talk about all of them…because no one cares about Elisabetta Canavalis. This damn show is also two hours long, and I have to draw some lines.
Chynna Phillips is re-doing the dance that she got totally lost in and then basically stopped dancing. It wasn't a good moment for her, obviously. She does the dance very well this time, and good on her for trying it again. She is in one of the sluttier costumes we have seen on this show, which is saying something.
Carson Kressley is dancing a big number with a bunch of back-up dancers (including a Chermkovsky, which he is really excited about). The dance is to Madonna's "Vogue", and is fun. Carson still can't dance at all, but he is really adorable and doesn't care that he sucks, which can take you pretty far.
We get a quick flash of that time Cher was in the audience. Oh, the good times! Nancy Grace gets to dance her Spamalot routine again, and I still dislike her. I do really like Tristan, though, which is pretty good for a rookie pro with a terrible partner. Here's hoping he gets a better celeb next season.
Chaz Bono also gets to do a full dance tonight, which is understandable because he was a big ratings-draw for a long time. The dance includes Lacey's adorable father, who is also a dancer/teacher.
David Arquette re-does his Grease dance, which was fun the first time around. We don't get a parting shot of Courtney Cox and Coco, arguably stars of the show this season as well. They certainly got enough camera time (I'm not complaining). For those (two) of you Cougar Town fans out there, Coco Arquette appears in the "Richard Stanz" episode of season 2 of the show. You can thank the Peanut Gallery for spotting her because I make her watch DWTS with me sometimes.
Hope and Maks dance again, and no one cares.
The instant dances come next, and I am tiring here. They are both good, and both will get 10s because you would really have to eff up to not get 10s tonight. And they do get 10s…that was really suspenseful.
We get to the big moment of the season….and the mirror ball goes to….
J.R. Martinez and Karina!!
Aw, good for them. J.R. has been a good dancer from the start and his story is really inspiring.
- Random Celebrity Sightings: This is truly my favourite part of the recap, and I hope to find a good batch of them for you here on this finale night. First off we have Kirstie Alley, who is looking Alley-sized once again. I don't mean this as a knock against her—that is just her natural size, I think. I guess the DWTS fitness regimen doesn't have lasting results. Of course we have the cadre of Kardashians (or should that be Kadre? No? Ok.). Sadly, that is basically the extent of the finale sightings. They didn't spend too much time on the crowd, but I also feel like just no celebs showed up tonight. Lame!
- I haven't yet talked about it, but it must be mentioned before the season closes out. What is up with Bruce Jenner? His face is so weird, y'all. It is like it is a size too small for his skull or something. Is it just the ill-advised man's facelift? It creeps me out.
- Len took time out of J.R.'s critique to praise the band, which is BS because that band is not so good. I mean, they play music well enough, but they also murder some of our favourite songs. Just play a tape, y'all!
- It has been a pretty fun season here. For a fairly lacklustre group of celebs (and so many that I hadn't heard of), I managed to maintain interest in the season, which isn't always the case.
- Looking for more of my recap fun? I'm starting up the new season of Top Chef immediately, and look for season 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race when it airs in January on Logo. If you haven't seen that particular show, go find it right now. It is amazing.
- Thanks for reading!