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Dancing with the Stars recap: Freestyle!

In part 1 of finale week, the three finalists face off in a group paso doble, then engage in freestyle routines that really have nothing to do with ballroom dancing

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Dancing Stars Finale
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

Last night’s Dancing With the Stars performance finale saw finalists Shawn Johnson, Gilles Marini, and Melissa Rycroft face off in a group paso doble and a largely ridiculous freestyle round that featured disco ball masks, a rubber shirt, and Flashdance. Of course. It was my great disappointment to see the once-per-season delight of head judge Len Goodman’s vanity license plate for less than two seconds this time around. (You didn’t think I knew DANCMSTR’s real name, did you?) In order to maximize the finalists’ readiness for the PASO FACE OFF, Cranky’s fellow judges/dwarves, Weepy and Dopey, had to get in on the master class action, too.

I greatly enjoyed how the three wise arbiters discussed their grand plans for the finalists via a sexy three-way (conversation) over the phone. Bruno Tonioli sunned his burnt sienna limbs while Carrie Ann Inaba chomped on a salad. What could be hotter? A less blatant use of green screen technology, for starters. Beware of that air-conditioned studio’s harmful UV rays, you simile-loving loon!

Honestly, I missed the Len-iness I’ve come to expect of the master classes over the years. But if the head judge had been the one to visit Melissa instead of Carrie Ann, we’d never have born witness to this gem: ”When Carrie Ann asked me to charge her, I think that’s when it really started making sense to me…” (Melissa continued, ”…how aggressive I need to be for this dance,” but I think part 1 of her quote works better on its own.)

The pyro-infused group paso gave an early edge to Gilles, who’s excelled at Latin dances all season. Still, a fierce makeup job and Mel B.-inspired dominatrix costume for Melissa — and Shawn’s personal victory against 40 pounds of thick fabric that initially threatened to swallow her — contributed to what I thought was a pretty evenly matched group routine. Melissa kind of stumbled a bit in the middle, but on the whole this played out smoothly. If this trio aren’t the most talented final three to date, I think they’re at least the most consistent performance-wise, and definitely one of the most likable bunches we’ve seen. This season has been fun, right? I don’t think I’ve written that yet. One day left!

Despite its being set to Pink’s ”So What” (the Harold Wheeler Ensemble’s version of which is STILL IN MY HEAD), the group paso was easily my favorite dance of the night. This in itself was easy; there were only four dances and the group number was the only one that truly reflected anything the final three had accomplished all season. If I wasn’t so on top of my s— and fully aware that yesterday was a Monday, I might have assumed last night was a results show. Shawn and Mark’s Jabbawockeez freestyle opening did scream ”Macy’s Stars of Dance” for a good few seconds.

Ah, the freestyles. No matter if they have nothing to do with anything; these rare cheese plates have the potential to be the most memorable routines of each season. After all, wondered Tom, ”Who could forget Marie Osmond dressed like a doll?” No one. ”…or gold lamé-covered Helio?” Everyone. (I kid!) Let’s break the freestyles down by the pairs’ total scores.

NEXT PAGE: Mark’s disco ball socks must seriously smell by now