”Dancing With the Stars”: The last dances
Wow, I’m a sucker. Maybe I missed some announcement right at the beginning of tonight’s 17-hour show, but when Tom Bergeron finally mentioned at 8:38 that, oh yeah, the actual live dancing wouldn’t start until freakin’ 9, I felt pretty duped. I also looked like the biggest tool in America just sitting there waiting to type out my really important notes about a dancing show when I could have been doing something productive like exercising or cleaning my apartment. (Yeah, right. More like ”watching Survivor.”)
But as soon as Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke started their freestyle porn — I mean dance — I forgave ABC for what was by then an hour-and-48-minute delay. Are you kidding? That dance was unreal! Was it their sexy leather ‘n’ denim costumes? The throwaway cowboy hat? Or maybe the tremendously obnoxious song suggesting that it’d be pretty economical, really, to grind one’s booty all over a man instead of a horse?
Who cares? I was rewinding this dance like nobody’s business. Except, I guess, mine…and now yours. If this dance wasn’t truly perfect in someone else’s subjective universe, it was at least perfectly fitting for this show. After Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani’s uninspired imitation of ’70s disco dancers, Drew’s cowboy dance pretty much saved the night. He leapt right over Cheryl and the staircase, people! (Wait. I’m just now realizing that this probably isn’t such a tremendous feat for normal-size people, but it sure was for bite-size Drew.)
Cheryl’s choreography for this dance was amazing — even when she and Drew weren’t touching, their footwork matched up and looked even cooler while performed in opposite directions. Their little dip/walk so close to the floor, all the back flips, the way Drew brought an imaginary pistol (symbolizing…uh…his eternal dancing flame?) to Cheryl’s mouth so she could blow it out at the end — it was campiness at its best, and very worthy of a perfect 30. Brother Nick Lachey’s ”ew!” face after Bruno told Drew he should consider doing Brokeback Mountain: The Musical was also priceless. Maybe Nick and The O.C.‘s ”ew”-friendly Rachel Bilson should hook up.
The cowboy dance came right after what could have been the biggest shock of the season: Stacy messing up. Well, sort of — according to the judges, the problem with her and Tony’s freestyle dance was more about what Stacy didn’t do (such as truly wow them, or show more leg) than what she did (um…smile and make a lot of jerky thumb gestures). I was surprised that the judges were so critical of their season-long darling. The dance was really boring, though, and way too slow — I’d rather have watched their jive yet again, or even something random like Stacy leading Tony in a series of leg stretches in short shorts. (You know the leg stretches would have earned them at least a 27, with a 10 from Bruno.)
Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya tried to spice things up by wearing afros for their freestyle dance. I was laughing hysterically while they celebrated good times, simply because Anna’s wig was the same exact color as her real hair. And though I didn’t really get it, I enjoyed the part of the dance when Jerry kept pulling back and forth on something invisible in order to make some sort of machine (featuring Anna) work. That may not be a very good description of the move, but it sort of goes along with the ”huh?” face I made while they performed it. Shockingly, the judges appreciated Jerry’s ”sense of humor” and the beefy-armed pro football player’s astounding ability to lift the tiny Anna so much that they scored him a point higher than Stacy in the freestyle section. Whaaaaaa?
All of the above happened in the jam-packed last half hour. Before that, the three finalists performed their favorite dances from the season, ”favorite” translating loosely to ”highest scoring.” It was cool to see Drew’s hyper-passionate post-”Thriller” ceiling gaze again, and to hear judge Carrie Ann Inaba tell Jerry Rice he had ”the joy of dancing” in him after a foxtrot that didn’t look much different than it had weeks ago. Stacy and Tony’s repeat jive wasn’t really noteworthy until afterward, when Stacy made a bratty comment to Samantha Harris that they had already received a 10 from Carrie Ann that night, in a ”how dare you ask me a question?” sort of tone. And judge Bruno Tonioli’s undying love for the ”all-American pinup girl” continued to stroke its way into our ears, even if it did sound like he was saying ”peanut.” He must have been confused because Stacy had indeed been channeling Mr. Peanut in her top hat and black stockings.
So now Drew and Cheryl are riding the metaphorical mechanical bull into Sunday night’s two-hour finale with a combined perfect score of 60. Stacy and Tony trail them at 56, and Jerry and Anna are just a touchdown (and extra point) from the top with 53. Do I hear someone saying a Hail Mary?
What do you think? Did the freestyle dances seem out of place in this competition? What was the point of Stacy getting on a trapeze? And who should win it all — either of the two ”perfect dancers” or ”the people’s champion?”