When the cast of Season 12 of “Dancing with the Stars” was announced back in February, there was a collective sigh of eh, followed by some stronger reactions, such as headlines that read “Dancing Without the Stars.” But the casting director knew something the naysayers didn’t and provided viewers with what some dub the most exciting season ever.
Watch Monday Night’s Final Performance Show Now:
From funny mishaps (Kirstie Alley’s shoe coming off) to serious injuries (Kym Johnson’s neck injury) to judges’ outrageously inappropriate comments (that’s you Bruno and Len!) to a topsy-turvy season that boasted a new frontrunner each week, “DWTS” kept viewers guessing as to who would make it to the final three.
It’s been a wild ride for 10 weeks and Monday night’s show was no different. Round one – the Judges’ Choice round – showed no clear winner as Hines Ward and Kym Johnson and Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas each scored 29, with Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy behind them with 27.
The final three celebs gave it their all in the final performance show of the season, in which each couple performed two dances. The first is the judges’ choice, which is a style that the judges think the couple showed promise in and wants to see more of. The second dance is the much-anticipated, fan-favorite Freestyle routine, in which anything goes.
So, who got down and dirty?
Whose dance was like a Broadway production?
Who literally lit up the stage?
Here’s how the exciting night went down…
The Judges’ Choice Round
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Samba
Yes! Kicking finale week off was the perfect style dance for the sassiest couple of the three. Great choice by Carrie Ann Inaba. Chelsea went from a perky, cutesy, er, “Disney” star, to a sexy, sultry, temptress in this more mature Samba that wowed everyone. “Every step you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you and I tell you, I like what I was watching,” said Len Goodman. “Chelsea, you were like an ultra sexy bombshell!” said Bruno Tonioli, who said the rhythm was flowing through her body like he’s never seen before. “Hot! Hot! Hot! Chelsea is on fire!” said Carrie Ann, who added, “You got down, you got dirty!”
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Samba
Was it on purpose that both Kirstie and Chelsea danced a Samba dressed in orange? Unfortunately for Kirstie, Chelsea danced better and rocked the orange better. Another problem: Maks distracts. He needs to tone down his sex-on-a-stick ways a bit and let his partner shine. Of course, the pro will always out-dance the celebrity, but with Maks and Kirstie and with this Samba in particular, it really stood out how much he over-dances and she under-dances. The judges’ comments were kind but not enthusiastic. “Softer, rich, full of lively pleasures, full of womanhood,” said Bruno, who also noted that she looked at the floor too much. “There’s an ooze factor,” said Carrie Ann. Len said it had a “lovely naturalness” about it. “It could’ve been a little bit crisper.”
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Quick Step
Wow, what a way to use props. Dancing to “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” the pair dame down a red carpet after Kym (who sported a neck brace in rehearsal footage) sat at an old Hollywood, lit-up makeup table and then Hines, donning black tails, took her hand so elegantly. Gorgeous couple, gorgeous dance. It felt like 10s all around. But the judges’ comments were mixed. “That was so much fun!” said Carrie Ann. Len said, “As good as that was, for me, it’s not quite there yet.” Boos all around. “Grumpy,” said Carrie Ann. “You got it for me,” said Bruno. “It was like watching a mega production on Broadway, full of excitement!”
The Freestyle Round
Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas
Fresh and edgy is what they were going for, and fresh and edgy is not exactly what they delivered. It was disjointed, erratic, and hard to watch. Sorry. And coming out on a bike? Why? And their costumes? Didn’t quite get it – mismatched blue and green and Chelsea hiding her cute body in men’s trousers … really? Gotta say, not digging it. And when their sneakers and gloves lit up all “Tron”-like, well, this dance just jumped the shark. It didn’t help that her shoes went out while his stayed on. The flips and tricks and crazy crap was just that: a lot of crazy crap. Love Chelsea and Mark, and think they could win it, but this dance, I did not like it at all. The judges dug it, though. “People think I’m a fuddy duddy, but this was so full-on, it was fantastic,” said Len. “It’s electrifying! Pushed to the limit of your ability,” said Bruno, who liked seeing Latin dance in a different light. “The freestyle is all about going beyond our expectations, and I can’t find the words for what I’m thinking, but it’s kind of like…”Ahhhhh!,” said Carrie Ann, who stood up and did a crazy dance and screamed to show her love for the dance.
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Maks joked that they have a very young Chelsea, a very athletic Hines, and the very opposite in Kirstie Alley, thus their trouble with the freestyle, which is expected to have lifts and crazy tricks. But, boy, the first twirl was almost like she levitated around him, Cris Angel-like. Amazing. Her cartwheel was super-cute too. But when Maks lifted her and flipped her around like a ragdoll, she had our vote! Carrie Ann called her “the new poster child for life as it should be lived at 60 years old.” Len loved it. “I commend you. Well done!” The ballroom booed the score of 27 as most thought it deserved 10s.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson:
Gotta say, it was hard to watch Kym in rehearsal with the neck brace on. We just hope the doctors cleared her for the right reasons and that she’s not in danger. But, my oh my, the pair came out in Steelers colors with a drum line to make the final dance of the night truly feel like a mega-event. Loved the big “S” on his chest. What an event! As Carrie Ann would say: A-may-zing. But instead she said, “That was risky…that wasn’t really a half time show, that was a Super Bowl!” She loved it. “Those lifts were insane!” Len loved it. Bruno called it a “crowd-pleasing event.”