Was it just us in the press room or was Monday’s much-hyped Dancing With the Stars finale a bit lackluster? Based on Annie Barrett’s must-read TV Watch, I’m suspecting the answer is a resounding “no!” But one thing’s for sure, the pro dancers were not feeling the judges this time around, and, following the show, didn’t exactly keep quiet about it. As for the celebrities, they had some fighting words for each other.
Read on for our post-finale interviews, minus one Mel B., who had to head straight to Spice Girls rehearsals, but told us last Tuesday, “I’m gonna sack myself next week. I’ve had enough.”
Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough (pictured)
EW: The judges were pretty tough tonight. Julianne, having won last year, did you think about putting limits on the freestyle?
Julianne: Personally, I don’t think there should be any limits with the freestyle, it’s what you want to do. I don’t think the judges should say, “I don’t like that because of my personal taste.” Marie, she wanted to be a doll, so good for her. I think the judges really put a downer on the whole show. The audience was so excited at the beginning, and then the criticism brought everybody down and made everyone nervous. It brought all this negative energy. So I said, “You know what, Helio? Let’s forget about the judges, pretend we’re in dress rehearsal and just go out and have fun.”
Helio: I’m just so pissed. I went for the 10 on the freestyle and Carrie Ann gave me just a 9. I can’t believe it. Maybe she was having one of those days.
EW: Well, where do you draw the line between between theatrical and over the top?
Julianne: I don’t. I just hope it’s not too corny. The thing is, if you have nochemistry on the dance floor, then it’s boring to watch, and we’d doneeverything already so the jive was something where we could really actand have characters.
Helio: There have been many times whenwith a certain lift, maybe my shoulder’s hurting or I say, “Let’s notdo that, it’s too risky.” But with Julianne’s attitude, she alwaysmakes me go further and pushes my limit. So whether we come in secondor third, it’s not going to mean anything. You just gotta do it, and wedid.
EW: So do you think you’ll win this thing?
Helio: Now I really want it.
Julianne: He does, and he’s worked so hard for it from the beginning.
Helio: It’sweird, but I really want that trophy and I’m gonna go for it. I got mycompetitive streak. I see Mel B and she’s like, I’m tired, call me whenit’s my turn to dance. At the end of the day, dancing is not myterritory. But I am a trophy man.
Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts
EW: You were the only one who talked back to the judges tonight, Marie.
Marie: Youknow why? Because, my gosh, this is about non-dancers becoming dancers,so when they start being critical of footwork and you have 10 weeks tolearn 10 dances plus, it’s, like, give me a break. Look at the Foxtrotfrom the first week until now, Jon has done an amazing job of helpingme become a dancer! There’s no way I could have done this routine 10weeks ago, never!
Jonathan: She was upside down, spinning,flying through the air…I think Marie danced great and the judgeswere tough, but they were hard on all the contestants. It wasdifficult for the celebrities tonight, after hearing somethingnegative, to come out and do their next number. As for the freestyle, Ithink each one tonight was completely different and very representativeof each person. I think Marie’s doll number was a great idea. She was afabulous doll, a bit stiff, but that was the point.
Marie: Andthe thing is, too, it’s harder for the women celebrities on the show togo up against these beautiful professional dancers where your eyesnaturally go to them. It’s like I told one of the producers, can youchroma key Julianne out of Helio’s routine?
EW: Well, you’ve made it this far, who is your audience?
Marie: I’ma child advocate. We help 17 million kids a year, and we could’ve comeout and done something sexy or whatever, but no! I know my fan base. Ihave thousands of doll collectors voting for me and this was a way tothank them. It’s a family television show and this is for all the kidsthat are watching. I mean enough of this (motions to her booty).
EW: Think you guys will win?
Jonathan: We have no idea.
Marie: I’lltell you, I don’t keep awards in my house, but if I win this one, it isgoing right in my living room with a spotlight on it spinning.
EW: Did you feel Carrie Ann was channeling Simon Cowell tonight?
Maks: Idon’t know. Carrie Ann is doing her job and she’s all critical andstuff, but I got the same comment last year with Laila [Ali], where thejudges said, “Well, we thought you’d come out a little more gracefuland lady-like.” It’s a freakin’ freestyle, we can come out looking likecrap, but we’re gonna sell it. I thought the lifts were there,everything was well put together. I know that she messed up and ifthat’s the kind of mistake we get penalized for, that’s fine, but notfor choosing the wrong style for the finale. That’s ridiculous.
EW: In retrospect, do you think you concentrated too much on lifts on not enough on an overall flow to the routine?
Maks:We didn’t concentrate enough on anything. We just kind of did it andwent with it. I think in five weeks, we’ve spent less time than someonewho would be learning one dance.
EW: How are you feeling now?
Maks: I’m in pain. My back is hurting. To lift, like, dead weight up and over and down, it’s very difficult.
EW: Think you’ll win tomorrow?
Maks: No. I thinkit’ll be Helio. But we’re not going out to solicit votes or do a bunchof press — Mel’s at Spice Girls rehearsals right now — we did sevendays a week for about 14 hours a day since week 5, it’s been a lot offun. Whatever happens happens.