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Emmys 2017
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Dancing with the Stars recap: Blood, Sparklebarf and Tears

Four couples serve up ‘supersize freestyles’ in the emotional season 16 finals; Val tries not to bleed out

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DWTS Recap

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

It’s that time of the year, DANCMSTRs — the pollen count is high, everyone’s costume suddenly reminds you of the swimsuit you soon have to put on, and the two giant replicas of THE COVETED MIRRORBALL TROPHY look like teed-up golf balls. Welcome to the season 16 finals!

Hope you didn’t want to vote on ABC.com, though. Voting was “temporarily down” at the end of the east coast telecast, and at present (6:05 a.m. ET — dear God what am I doing with my life) ABC.com is still redirecting would-be voters to its Facebook page. Not good at all.

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhh-ber!

Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy: 30/30 samba + 5/5 cha cha relay + 30/30 freestyle = 65/65 Who could pull off hairy red tights but a model-esque 16-year-old? Those things boggled my mind. I don’t believe we’ve ever seen fringed leggings on this show. Fringed pants, of course, and there was that one time Kym had a puzzling fringe snake wrapped in a spiral down one leg. But fringed leggings are some next-level s—. And the crazy thing is they looked perfectly natural during this slinky and sexy samba.

Carrie Ann, who’d helped the couple out in the studio (by basically making Zendaya put on her high heels), complimented the lanky wonder on “working her center” and rising up to the challenge of “authentic samba music” (though shouldn’t it be easier to dance to authentic samba music than a pop song that makes no sense?), and Bruno compared Zendaya to the pros. Len sat back, pointed, and decided, “That’s a samba,” which is really the highest compliment coming from the head judge: a jaunty confirmation of which dance was just performed.

After breezily winning the cha cha relay in a startlingly age-appropriate costume, Zendaya took on a hefty challenge for the freestyle: “The theme is to inspire kids,” announced Val, “So why don’t we have some kids help you relay the message?” Like Len, I was scared this would be a supersize group hip-hop, but it turned out the adorable kids would only punctuate the ending. Val choreographed a strong routine for Zendaya and her mirrorball trophy tennis shoes — I liked how he boldly positioned them right in front of the judges’ table for dozens more ballroom moves than you’d expect in a typical freestyle.

After much hemming and hawing on my part, Zendaya and Val are not my pick to win, but they are totally deserving if they do win, and Val deserves a trophy just for competing after an accidental elbow to the eye during dress rehearsal.


Aggggh! Not the face! (Crew guy shares my grave concern for one of Val’s best assets.)

Brooke’s unintentional (I think?!) reference to Val’s blood, when she asked how Zendaya had been able to “squeeze that out and focus” on her dances, was both gross and amazing.

NEXT: ‘I’ll never let go, Derek’