A UFC fighter, a model, and a meteorologist walk into a ballroom…and all of America ends up crying like babies. Tears shed for the powerful routines, for just how wonderful our pro dancers are, for remembering that this incredible season is almost over. What am I supposed to do if I’m not being moved by dance on a weekly basis? Live a real life? Please don’t make me.
As much as we may try to fight it, the finals are here. Though the lack of Wanyá Morris was surely felt, our season 22 finalists came to win. Things were brought, if you know what I mean. Before they head into tomorrow’s two-hour finale, Nyle, Ginger, and Paige had two rounds of dances to prove themselves most deserving of that elusive mirror ball trophy. First up, a redemption round. Each of the couples get to choose one style of dance they’ve already performed and use new choreography and music to improve it. The second round of the evening is the infamous freestyle dance. In that round, anything goes — but always remember that you’re forever being compared to Drew and Cheryl’s “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy” routine.
America’s Dad Tom Bergeron informs us up front that the margin of votes separating these three finalists is the closest they’ve had in a long time. It’s anyone’s competition to win, so these next two rounds of dancing are going to be good, you guys. Remind me, why does this season have to end?
THE REDEMPTION ROUND
Ginger Zee and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Contemporary | “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay
As you may have heard, Ginger injured her back in rehearsals, big time. She’s in serious pain, but knows she needs to pull through and get her rehearsal time in. In their week three contemporary, Ginger and Val really wanted to tell a story, but it mostly fell flat for the judges. This time around, the pair is telling the story of their season. They’ll be incorporating elements from some of their best dances this season. Remember that bench? They sat on that bench! Remember that fountain? They stood on that fountain! Okay, okay. They incorporate some dance moves as well. It’s mostly good. The lifts, as Len points out, are so effortless and organic. All three judges saw improvement from their last contemporary, Bruno compliments Ginger’s lines, and Carrie Ann finds the whole routine to be very refined. They also are quick to call out Val on his clever strategy and ability to play to Ginger’s strengths. That’s how you win mirror balls, you guys!
Judges’ Score: 28/30
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Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd
Quickstep | “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Nyle and Peta are leading the competition based on judges points, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a bone to pick with the judges. For their redemption dance, they are tackling the quickstep. You remember their last one, right? Hectic, messy, Nyle was covering his beautiful face with a green mask. I don’t care what the theme is, you never cover up a face like that. Their second run at this style is country-themed and packed with much more content then the first. Serious question: What’s up with all the country-western routines this season? Not that I’m ever against cowboys dancing, but there should be a one-per-season allowance. But a country-western quickstep it is. The judges praise his exuberance, but I still don’t buy him in such an upbeat number – I like my Nyle brooding. Len again criticizes how hectic the routine is and all three of the judges catch a little misstep, but Nyle and Peta are all smiles anyway.
Judges’ Score: 27/30
NEXT: The Ballas redeems himself