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Dancing with the Stars recap: The Final Countdown

Brooke shines, Warren charms, and Lance disappoints a little as the final three stars spotlight their favorite past performances and a new freestyle one

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Lance Bass
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

‘Dancing With the Stars’ recap: Once more, with feeling

It’s finals week, starring Brooke Burke, Lance Bass, Warren Sapp, and my favorite singer lady with the larger-than-ever jewels on her forehead! I love finals week for two main reasons. (1) The season’s almost over. You know I love me some fringe, and I currently sleep on a pillow of old fringed leotards I sewed myself, but enough is enough! I’m officially on DWTS overload. Hey, I’m allowed. At least it’s not week 2. Speaking of 2, (2) finals week marks the semi-annual return of giant disco balls as key props and graphics! I was basking in ’em, from the rotating mirror-ball graphic featuring the three finalists’ noggins, to the extreme close-ups of the mirror-ball ”sculptures” flanking the judges’ table, to the big-screen images of balls the size of four entire Tom Bergerons displayed behind the real Tom Bergeron as he spoke! In the absence of a finalist I truly care about, this is the crap that makes DWTS most lovable.

Did I say crap? I obviously meant ”the most reflective trophy in all of television,” uttered in an endearing Tom voice. Not the Tom voice about 11 minutes into last night’s show, though, when all of Tom’s audio was echoing, football-referee style, across the ballroom. I honestly thought this was a weird, ill-timed homage to Warren until I noticed Kym and everyone else making “WTF?” faces. Still. Fun!

Last night’s group dance-off — the Samba Smackdown, to be exact — definitely lived up to last season’s final-three group cha cha. Just like last season, the couples dance order was determined by mini disco balls that lived inside a giant disco ball which had an interior that was red and velvety, like cake. Samantha Harris informing the contestants ”We’re gonna draw balls” will never, ever get old for me. The verdict: Brooke, then Lance, then Warren danced to the same song, and finally all six clasped arms to form one big spinning, very ”uplifting,” sunflower. After the final and yellow-est night of performances, here’s how the final three ranked…

Brooke Burke and Derek: 58 out of possible 60 During the Samba Smackdown, I worried for Brooke because she just stood there nonchalantly while Derek executed his usual eight solo spins per second. I wondered if Brooke had forgotten the choreography again, then realized this probably was Derek’s choreography and (surprise!) it mostly revolved around him. Brooke and Derek were the only pair to do samba rolls, so they won on technique. And Bruno won this round in terms of general lewdness, announcing in Brooke’s general vicinity that ”everyone would like to drive that model” (this was seconds before Bruno called Lance ”so tight and so clean”). I don’t think it was a coincidence that Brooke and Derek danced to the lyric, ”I just can’t control my feet,” which would have seemed rather cheeky if it had accompanied Warren or Lance.

At first, Brooke and Derek’s Grease-y freestyle conjured up nightmares of Marie Osmond’s doll dance, thanks to Brooke’s horrid short-sleeved baby pink dress. She wisely shed it in favor of a magenta spangled two-piece pantsuit in the final dance-off to the tune of “You’re the One That I Want” (complete with sneakers, capris composed of Lycra, huge fluffy hair, and tons of crazy spinning lifts) that was more Sarah Jessica Parker than Marie, thank the lord/DANCLRD. The costume change on the judges’ table was 100% Pure Cheese, and featured Bruno mugging for the camera instead of looking at Brooke. Loved that. The judges all went nuts over Brooke’s freestyle, and DANCMSTR even called it the best he’s ever seen. Did he forget about Drew and Cheryl’s, or Joey and Kym’s, or Kristi and Mark’s? I had to watch Brooke and Derek’s dance a few more times to really appreciate all the tricks, because after the first run-through, I didn’t get what they were going for or why it was supposed to be so good. Once I trained my eyes to ignore the sloppy costumes and Derek’s look-at-me expressions, it actually was pretty fantastic.

NEXT: Sequined-fringe butt