Mirrorball abacus overload! The viewer vote determines the season 13 winner

By Annie Barrett
November 23, 2011 at 09:40 AM EST
Adam Taylor/ABC
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After a two-hour season 13 finale featuring two more competitive dances, the return of the entire cast, and the ChmerkoVogue routine of some of Carson Kressley’s naughtier dreams, the winners of Dancing With the Stars are J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff. This marks the first time Karina’s tiny, sexy fingers got to barely scrape the bottom of a COVETED MIRRORBALL TROPHY of her own. I think I’m just as excited for Our Prematurely Nostalgic Pro as I am for Our War Hero!

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke took second place after (of course) tying J.R. and Karina with perfect 30s in an instant samba that pitted two of America’s most powerful factions against each other: pink and yellow fringe/jeweled suspenders VS. lime green and turquoise tiered ruffles. It was a rainbow sherbet vs. funfetti ice cream battle for the ages, appropriately set to a song about bonbons. Everybody won. The DANCMSTR even opted out of his usual air of condesc-Lension and gave a standing O to both J.R. and Rob.

Before dessert, Ricki Lake and Derek Hough fell out of the running in third place despite “winning” the totally arbitrary “favorite dance” round, the main purpose of which was to eat time and confuse everyone with pesky numbers. After Derek murdered Ricki for the second time during their Psycho tango, Brooke made sure everyone knew that Ricki technically had the most judges’ points over the two-night finale event. It was 84-83-82: Ricki, Rob, J.R. But that might as well have been in a different language — maybe Bruno’s? — because the narrow margin basically meant that We the People were “gonna have a huge say in who gets the trophy.”

Duh! This happens every season. The mirrorball abacus loves to equalize the contestants during that never-crucial final hour. Smart viewers knew J.R. was going to win no matter what the scores were, because he was “such a catalyst for joy” (said Carrie Ann), his dances had “people eating from his hands” (said Bruno), and because an EW.com poll said he would. I enjoyed the foreshadowing of J.R.’s one sparkling moment with the new mockup of The DWTS Times that boasted the front-page headline, “EXTRA! EXTRA! J.R. JIVES FOR TROPHY!” Props to the prop! J.R. made sure to deliver that news to the judges — as well as Rob — by the end of his paper boy jive.

NEXT: Was Lady Antebellum manufactured specifically to appear on Dancing With the Stars? Anyway, Ricki disintegrated from Planet Mirrorballus’ ether after Derek gave her a solid Twister spin on the ballroom floor that might have been their most endearing moment yet. But I also really liked Derek remembering Ricki’s green hat from back when she was a bigger deal, so to speak. And hidden gem: the “Today: Dance ‘Til We Drop!” message on the chalkboard when D-Rickulous first met. Well done to them, and to Rob and Cheryl. This has been Cheryl’s most special season!

I derived a little too much amusement from the hilariously pointless segment in which Brooke instructed Rob and J.R. to choose baby mirrorball headlights from the giant mother MirrorBowl and then delivered the big reveal: “This is the order in which you’re going to dance your instant samba.” (“WOOOOOOOOO!” yelled Rob after a few beats, with perfect timing.) And of course, I loved how the mirrorball trophies on the giant screens looked like golf balls on tees, and how the word “FINALE” would sometimes present itself as “FINA,” “NALE,” or (my favorite) “ALE,” depending on the camera angle. Cheap thrills for the fringe fairy, as usual. Blah, blah, blah, live.

I did not know much about Lady Antebellum and now firmly believe they were engineered by scientists (expert mirrorballogists) to one day be a perfect musical guest act for a Dancing With the Stars finale. One of the lines setting the stage for the “Dancing Away With My Heart” chorus is — I kid you not — And beneath the moon that really was a disco ball…. Lady Antebellum really gets it, you know? In “Need You Now,” I’d assumed “reaching for the phone ’cause I can’t fight it anymore” was about drunk dialing your ex, but now I realize that it’s about needing your phone in order to call, text, or log on to vote for your favorite Sparkalien on Monday nights.

This show has always taught me so much about music. That lead singer guy Charles Kelley has an amazing voice and occasional Ryan Gosling face. I had no idea.

As always, the entire cast returned to dance in the finale. Metta World Peace is no longer blond, Elisabetta Canalis used her brute strength to make Val trip, and Kristin Cavallari and Chynna Phillips wanted blood (and a little redemption). Chynna really nailed that second shot at a Mission: Impossible, though I was terrified the whole time that they would trip mid-tango on Tony’s discarded glasses in the middle of the floor. Too bad Coco Arquette wasn’t on hand to scamper out from the front row and snatch them away with the same alacrity and mischievous spirit as her dad exhibited as he tried to run off with the M.B.T. (Amazing. My hero. Hero worship!)

NEXT: They had style; Val had grace; Carson Kressley gave good face It’s called a dance floor, and here’s what it’s for: Carson Kressley’s man-on-man dip-fest set to Madonna’s “Vogue.” You know it! (I’ve had VOGUE, vogue, vogue, vogue whispering into my brain for nearly five hours at this point, and it’s heavenly.) Sometimes you try everything you can to escape the pain of life that you know, but two strapping DWTS Pros comim’ atcha from behind and lifting you up and onto the ballroom floor is the only cure for reality TV heartache. Oh Carson! What a studded, steam-pressed mess. I loved the shot of the season 13 girls going wild in the front row while the ball handler formerly known as Ron Artest stood still with a polite “Huh?” expression. Also noteworthy: Tom’s dramatic flair while pronouncing “Tre-BUN-skaya!”

Nancy Grace made poor Tristan shackle himself in that armor and glitter-glue sweatsuit again, while Chaz Bono awkwardly alerted us to the fact that Lacey and her fabulous dad Buddy share the genetic trait of likin’ ’em chunky. Maks and Hope employed different umbrellas and the same “I never have to hang out with you again” smirk during their quickstep. Meanwhile, David Arquette rivaled Carson in both spirit and production value (STREAMERS!) with a reprise of his and Kym’s Grease number that got the whole gang involved.

The Troupe had such a busy night! I’m beginning to love them and after meeting/loving Teddy Volynets last Tuesday, I feel like a bit of a bitch for somewhat jokingly taking them for granted every Tuesday. (Now that we’re about to face five long months of the barren landscape of a deserted planet, s— just suddenly got real.) I liked the way Dasha, Sharna, and Oksana mimicked David and Kym’s movement behind them during the gossip-girly parts of the song, and how Teddy, Sasha, and Kiki collectively “slid David forward” into a more esteemed section of the floor near the end of the dance. “Way to go, pros,” as David said. He’s one of them now. And he’ll steal your trophy.

Is that really it? Have I mentioned everyone? Probably not. Aggggggh, should I post this season finale recap anyway? I’m crippled with self-doubt, you guys, just like Ricki Lake. Where’s my bronze medal?

GROUP HUG!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thank you, EW.com DANCMSTRs, for always coming back to read my crazy recaps. Everyone reading this gets a “Tehhhhhhhhn!” Let’s all try to make like J.R. Martinez and find “a new way to move our bodies in a beautiful way” during the off-season, even if that just means settling in at a different angle of TV-watching prostration that allows for simultaneous remote-controlling and snacking. Think big. Like ’em chunky.

And congratulations to the entire cast for getting to eat whatever they want starting today.

‘Til season 14, y’all. “I’m Brooke Burke Charvet and I’m eating confetti, goodnight!”

XOXO,

Fringe Fairy

Tristan MacManus and his pot o’ gold would like to remind you to go peruse the Hidden Gems of the Season 13 Finals. And check out the video player below for Annie’s chats with Tristan, DWTS Troupe member Teddy Volynets, and musical director Harold Wheeler.

Previously: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ recap: Freestyle for the Silver Metal

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More on ‘Dancing With the Stars’:

J.R. after the show: ‘I just want to take a moment and breathe’

Tom Bergeron: ‘My buttocks have become a cultural touchstone’

PHOTO GALLERY: Top 3’s Best/Worst Dances

‘DWTS’: Your Hidden Gems of the Week!

All of Annie’s ‘DWTS’ episode recaps

Ask Annie anything about the ‘DWTS’ ballroom (or whatever else) in the video player below. To see her answers to previous questions, click on the text links below the picture.

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