For the first time in fifteen seasons, three women have made it to the finals of DWTS. Actress Kelly Monaco and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson are both former winners of the competition, while television personality Melissa Rycroft was a third-place finisher in 2009. Shawn has been a powerhouse all season, and Kelly has proven that her first-season win was not a fluke. But Melissa’s flawless performances, long legs, and likeability could take her all the way this time.
Last night each couple reprised a routine of their choice, followed by a “super-sized freestyle” in which they could use additional dancers. Melissa and Tony took a big risk in performing an ambitious contemporary dance, full of complicated lifts and lyrical movement. But the risk paid off, earning three perfect scores and high praise from the judges. Bruno called it a “gem,” and Len said, “I wish I had an 11.”
Not to be outdone, Shawn called on the US Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team to join her freestyle routine. The “fierce five” added extra flash to an already clever, content-packed number. Derek used a blend of Shawn’s world-class acrobatic skills and precision footwork, in a super-sampler of dance styles. Who says you can’t do Bhangra moves during a polka? Not me, and certainly not The Hough. The couple’s big finish was a double round-off back flip, and a perfect score of 30.
Dance of the Night: Kelly and Val amped-up the romance with the feel-good number of the night, and possibly the whole season. Their freestyle routine began with Val playing the opening strains of “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” on the violin, while Kelly did some aerial work, suspended above the dance floor. The choreography was an unabashed tribute to Dirty Dancing, with the fun addition of a gospel choir. Bruno may have missed the perfect opportunity to quip, “Nobody puts Kelly in a corner,” but perhaps Carrie Ann put it best. She said, “You told us a happy ending to a beautiful love story.”
First rule of Dance Club: The judges don’t like it when you break the rules. Shawn and Derek were chastised a second time for breaking hold and doing lifts in their show-stopping Quickstep, which they first performed in Week 3. Len gave them the lowest score of the night, an 8.5, which could be a deciding factor in tonight’s outcome.
Quotable quote: “When the passion’s too much to talk, sing. And when the passion’s too much to sing, dance.” -Leonard Bernstein (as quoted by Len Goodman)
Best moment: Val spontaneously kissed Tom Bergeron on the cheek, after completing the freestyle dance with Kelly. It was probably a nice change from the post-performance “goose” his big brother has been giving him for years now.
Susan Lucci called; she wants her mirror ball back: Tony Dovolani has been on DWTS for 14 seasons now, and has yet to win that coveted mirror ball trophy. His partner in Season 7 was actress and soap star Susan Lucci, who was nominated for an Emmy a whopping 18 times before finally winning in 1999. Now, I love me some Erica Kane, but I do not want Tony to be the Susan Lucci of Dancing With The Stars! He and Melissa had a 3rd place finish in Season 8, and if my six measly phone votes count for anything- this year they’ll come out on top!
Melissa & Tony 60
Kelly & Val 59
Shawn & Derek 57